Ten Modern Day Fairy Tales For Grown-Ups!

Modern life can be a little gloomy sometimes and I’ve always thought that books can give you a brief respite – an escape if you like – into a world more beautiful than our own where there may be a good chance of a happy ever after!

So here’s ten recommendations for you – full of magic, royalty, talking animals and sometimes even love. But be warned, not quite all of them have traditional happy endings!

Some Kind of Fairy Tale

51iGDacIBML._SX322_BO1204203200_-195x300Tara was fifteen when she vanished after an argument with her boyfriend.  20 years later, Tara has just knocked on her parents door.  She’s  dirty and dishevelled, but barely looks a day older than when she left. Eventually she tells them she’d met a man and ridden on his white horse with him to his home. But she knew they’d be worried and tried to come straight home, for her only six months have past. But has she really been away with the fae or did something more sinister happen? Read the full review here.

The Other Queen

Other Queen Mary Queen of Scotland was a woman thrice royal, and like rapunzal she was held in a gilded cage at the command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, for 19 years.

This royal tale has it all – an ‘evil’ queen, kindly jailors, passionate revolutionaries, courting princes and even a practical wise- woman.

Read the full review here.

The Night Circus

51nLN7yvmnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Chandresh Lefevre has a dream: to open up a circus with a multitude of different tents, each housing a different form of entertainment. Alongside associates from his Midnight Dinners and with more than a little help from his assistant Marco Alisdair, Chandresh is able to make his dream a reality. But his new Night Circus is not completely as it seems and for some, it will become an obsession. It also becomes the playground in a competition between magicians – each competing to create magic more breathtaking than the other. But there is a dark edge to this competition and one of them winning could mean both of them losing.  Read the full review here.

Neverwhere

NeverwhereA dark tale of self-sacrifice and heroism, Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, whose rather ordinary life is turned upside down  as a result of a moment of kindness. After rescuing a raggedy injured girl named Door from mysterious assassins, his dull existence in London Above (the London we know) is erased and he is forced to enter London Below (the London we really really don’t know) to track her down and try to restore his old life. Door, however, has her own problems.

Richard’s journey through the mysterious underside of London is littered with references to tube stations, notable landmarks and historical references. Of course there is an Earl in Earl’s Court, and why wouldn’t there be an Angel called Islington? Shepherds in Shepherd’s Bush? Yep, but you wouldn’t want to meet them! Knightsbridge? I think you’ll find that’s Night’s Bridge and it’s freaking scary! Read the full review here.

The Fairy Wren

image2-188x300Paul Fisher is having a bit of a pants time, his wife left him and has just taken an injunction out to stop him contacting her, his bookshop is struggling to stay afloat and now  developers are threatening to put him completely out of business.

Then a fairy wren drops his lost wedding ring at his feet, and Paul discovers that there’s more magic in the world than he thought. That or he’s going completeley mad.

The wren keeps appearing and trying to communicate with him – is his wife really in danger? And if she is can he be her hero?  Read the full review here.

The Fictional Man

61fGw0eg-AL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Set in a parallel present where ‘Fictionals’ (clones created to play specific movie and TV characters)  are a part of daily life in LA. Niles Golan, a pulp fiction author, has been hired to write a big-budget reboot of a classic movie.

Basically this is a modern day Pinocchio. Niles is temped into becoming Gepatto / God with the promise of his character Kurt Power being brought whilst we see life through the eyes of a fictional who wants to become a ‘real boy’ in the form of his current best friend. Read the full review here.

The Last Family in England

TheLastFamilyInEnglandGood fairy tales are full of guardian animals and in this story that mantle is taken up by Prince. A diligent dog determined to keep to the tenets of the Labrador Pact, and protect the Hunter family.

But Prince isn’t battling witches or warlocks – he’s battling the Hunter families self-inflicted problems. Mr Hunter is tempted by the beautiful, married, new neighbour. Mrs Hunter by husband,  13-year-old Charlotte is dating a local bad boy and 17-year-old Hal is taking drugs.   Prince may be forced to break the Labrador Pact and take desperate action to save his Family. Read the full review here.

Stardust

51hgg2p8kfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_17 year old Tristran Thorn is determined to  cross the wall that seperates his town from the world of the Fae. He has to so he can find the star he saw fall in the hope that it will win him the hand of Victoria Forester.

When he finds the star, he discovers it is not a large lump of rock and metals, but a young woman by the name of Yvaine. However Tristran is not the only person looking for the star: the three remaining sons of the recently deceased 81st Lord of Stormhold are searching for the amulet around the star’s neck, the amulet that knocked Yvaine out of the heavens and which contains the power of Stormhold itself. The Lilim, ancient witch queens, need the star’s heart to regain their youth and beauty. All Yvanie wants is to return to her sisters in the sky.  Read the full review here.

The End of Mr Y

Click here to buy from Amazon.
Click here to buy from Amazon.

Ariel Manto, a PhD student is obsessed by the 19th century writer Thomas Lumas. He was the writer of the original ‘The End of Mr. Y’, a book that is now incredibly rare and rumoured to be cursed – everyone who has read it has died soon afterwards.

When she finds a second hand copy she is over the moon.  Lumas’ book is all about the “Troposphere” – a place where all consciousness is connected and you can enter other people’s minds and read their thoughts. It includes the recipe for a draft that Mr Y uses to enter the Troposphere.  Manto can’t resist recreating the recipe and on drinking it she enters the Troposphere herself.  Read the full review here.

Down Station

image-189x300Mary is trying to stay out of trouble, mainly to prove she can. So she makes sure she’s not late for her shift picking up rubbish from the tracks of London Underground.

Nearby, young wannabe engineer Dalip, is struggling to replace loose rails with Stanislav and his gang. He’s determined to learn every aspect of rail engineering.

When the tunnel shakes and a ball of fire rampages through the Underground, Stanislav’s gang runs, so does Mary together with her colleagues. They join forces but not all of them make it through the service tunnel. Reaching a door, the fire not far behind them, they step through…and find themselves not on a London street but on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. Will they get back home?  Read the full review here

GemBookEater
I was reading before I started school and I have no plans to stop now! I usually have at least two books on the go at once, one non-fiction and one fiction. I like reading books based in reality that flick open the doors to the mysteries of the heart or of the spirit.

The Fairy Wren by Ashley Capes

imagePaul Fisher is having a bit of a pants time, his wife left him and has just taken an injunction out to stop him contacting her, his bookshop is struggling to stay afloat and now greedy developers are threatening to put him completely out of business by raising the rents.

Then a fairy wren drops his lost wedding ring at his feet, and Paul discovers that there’s more magic in the world than he thought or he’s going completley mad.

Things don’t seem to improve for him though, punching the mayor seals his bookshop’s fate and although he’s met someone new, his wife has reappeared and she seems to be in some kind of trouble. His friends try to help but some of their suggestions are decidely dodgy and the blue fairy wrens clues are more confusing than clarifying.

Books about people that own book shops are always going to entice me – it’s pretty basic, I want to read about my dream life! Throw in a hint of magic and I’m definitely there. But although on the surface this seems like a light dreamy read it is quite a lot more grown up than that!

There is an ambiguity about whether the wren is real or the product of a deluded mind. After all, it’s very convenient how it’s implying he needs to help his ex-wife, a woman he’s still clearly in love with and wants back.   But then this protagonist isn’t self-absorbed, he has friends that have stuck by him and he’s doing what he can to help his fellow shop-keepers. Also there’s a new woman on the scene and she doesn’t seem like the type to hang around people that are obsessed with their ex and hallucinating. So maybe the wren is real? Maybe magic is real but doesn’t appear in ways we think it will.

I really enjoyed this book, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all, it was much cleverer and warmer and more realistic than I thought it would be. Which made it all the more magical.

5 Bites

NB I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The BookEaters always write honest reviews

GemBookEater
I was reading before I started school and I have no plans to stop now! I usually have at least two books on the go at once, one non-fiction and one fiction. I like reading books based in reality that flick open the doors to the mysteries of the heart or of the spirit.