Thursday, May 24, 2018

Happily Ever After Collection (A Timeless Romance Anthology) by Various Aurthors | A Book Review

Happily Ever After (Timeless Romance) by Various Aurthors | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this from This is a collection of retellings of famous fairy tales The Six Swans, Rumpeltstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Snow Queen. I read this in January of this year and haven't been able to write a review right away because I wanted to review each story individually and not review the whole collection as a whole. The task seemed daunting, so I pushed it off and wrote other reviews. It didn't help that I have a lot of things going on and have to deal with physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am not where I want to be and a lot of things have been hitting me from all corners and all I want to do is just crawl into a ball and sleep till eternity.

I have always enjoyed reading Timeless Romance anthologies and when I saw this one was up for review, I just couldn't resist. I didn't have any challenge writing reviews for the other collections before. After this one, I don't think I'm set to review a collection of stories. I think my patience and perseverance is wearing thin these days and I have to find inspiration where I can just to keep writing reviews because my moods have never been helpful lately. 

Here are the six stories and the authors:

Mail-order Princess by Jessica Day George

This is a retelling of the Grimm's fairy tale The Six Swans only in this story it's seven swans. I am not very familiar with this fairy tale. I think it's the first time I've really heard of it. I enjoyed it. Princess Elise's strong determination to undo the curse of his brothers was very admirable. She developed a really good friendship with Daniel who was The Count's right hand in the farm. 

I liked the ending. It was so cute, especially with what happened to the last brother when he turned back into a human. It's a very nice retelling because even though Elise started out as a foreigner and alone in a new place, she had found really good people who she can trust and who were ready to help her. And part of her success in breaking the curse of her brothers was Daniel's undying support and friendship. And they both lived happily ever after. 

The Miller's Daughter by Julie Wright

This is a retelling of Rumpelstiltkin's story but in here thankfully Rumplestiltskin isn't a small and mean man but rather Thomas Rumple who helped Isa. In this story, there was no magic but rather just the beautiful brains of Thomas Rumple that helped Isa turn straw into gold. Isa's father was her ruin. She offered Isa to the king to save himself from the gallows. Good thing Isa has Thomas Rumple to save the day. 

I also enjoyed the story. I think I liked this version from the original one. No magic or fairies, just plain outwitting the king. Thomas Rumple thinking smart so he could save Isa. It was very clever how they outsmarted the king every time he topped his request for more gold. This story makes you wish you have your own Thomas Rumple who has a very cunning and brilliant plan to save you from greedy and vicious kings or any other situations. And of course, Isa and Thomas lived happily ever after. The end.

But I suspect every heart has a shadow or two lurking within; don't you agree?
- Julie Wright, The Miller's Daughter - 

The Peebled Path by Sarah M. Eden

This is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel's story. In this story, they are not siblings. Gretel's father was under the spell of an enchantress. So, for her father to be released from the spell, Gretel offered herself up in return as a servant. 

I liked how Hansel and Gretel met here and how they were able to vanquished the enchantress. And instead of the breadcrumbs, Gretel used peebles. Very cute and creative. 

Black Fern by Julie Daines

This is a retelling for Beauty and the Beast. Ros had to find work in order to feed her sisters, so she asked for work at Black Fern Manor. The owner, who no one has seen accepted her offer but gave her two conditions. She had stay at the manor for 4 months which is the end of the harvest moon and she can't go home within that period. 

I liked how the story incorporated herbs like lavender which is the flower of peace and rosemary which means loyalty. I also love that it mentioned the tragic story of Tristan and Iseult. Tristan was sent to Ireland to pick up Iseult to be married to the Cornish King but they fell in love with each other. The Cornish King had Iseult's hand but not her heart. I can hear Gavin DeGraw singing the theme song "We Belong Together" for the movie who starred James Franco. Oh, I love that song. It's also adorable that Brannan the Beast can actually play a harp. Unlike also the more popular Disney version, Ros is not an educated girl and it was Brannan who taught her to read and write. Very sweet, right? I also liked that there was no magical transformation in the story. Brannan stayed ugly but his heart was changed.

How can you know if you love someone by merely glancing at them? Even devils can smile.

I see you are naught but a hedgehog. Prickly, to be sure, but underneath there is nothing but fluff.

- Julie Daines, Black Fern - 

Scarlet by Heather B. Moore

This is the story of Little Red Riding Hood. In here, Little Red is August's nickname for Scarlet. Scarlet's mom is the village midwife. Mrs. Ivy has a blood disease and Scarlet's mom need the tonic from the apothecary. Scarlet need to get to the tonic to save Mrs. Ivy. She had to go into the forest where it's not safe to venture at night. August accompanied Scarlet in order to keep her safe. 

I think of all the six stories, I liked this the best because it's as far away from the real story. Having August as the village's protector from the wolves is a very daunting yet very brave duty. Putting yourself on the line to protect the lives of other people everyday is very noble. The only thing I didn't really like was the fact that August's Dad made a pact with the wolves to keep them out of the village. It may make sense but I don't really agree to it. As Scarlet said, wolves are animals and I don't think they honor any pact. It's also really cute that August and Scarlet started as not really friends because August used to tease her when they were younger. Then, just because of that one fateful night where she had to get to the apothecary, she and August developed an instant kinship as what happens to most people who share the same life-threatening experience together. It somehow created a special bond for both of them that is very unique and drew them close.

So A Rare Power by Annette Lyon

This is the story of the Snow Queen. Patrick was taken by the Snow Queen because she thought that Patrick had powers and could make her powerful. Stella finding that Patrick was gone, decided to find Patrick. On her quest to find Patrick, she meet an old lady who helped her and lent her Remi, the reindeer to bring Patrick back. 

This is also a nice story. This reminds me of the animated movie Frozen. I could still hear Elsa singing "Let it go." I loved that movie. And originally, it was about the story of the Snow Queen but Disney decided to make the story more child-friendly and the decision was the best thing because the movie was a hit. So, here music is the key also. Two people in love do make really good music together and that was how they defeated the Snow Queen. Truly, no force is more powerful than love. Just like in the movie, Anna's love broke Elsa's curse. Love in all its form is really powerful. It could move mountains and tame a savage beast like Beast in Beauty and the Beast. 

All in all. These stories are all really good. I enjoyed all of them. There were certain elements that were unique to each retelling from the original story which is also the key in a retelling. To try to change or add something to the story to make it stand out and different from the original, if not, it's just merely copying the original tale, right? Best of all, they all ended happily which is what I really needed today. Happy thoughts and happy stories after a very very bad day. I too hope that I could have days that would end happily. Not exactly having to do with a prince charming but at least, somehow a day that would make me look forward to waking up the next day. But I wouldn't say no also if a knight or a prince charming comes to my rescue. There haven't been a lot of that for me. Not prince charmings, but nice days. It has been a long time and if there were, those happy times were very momentary. Very short-lived. I wanted something more lasting. Something that could sustain me even in those darkest days. I actually know what I really need to battle the dark days, but I just don't know where I can find it. Maybe I'll have to start not being too hard on myself and loving myself more. 

I give this collection 3.5/5 sprigs of lavender. I just love lavender and they smell really good. It reminds me of a time when we were in the US for a training for work. We went to Puget Sound and there was a yard with lavender and I just can't help myself. I picked a few stalks and took them home with me to the hotel. I was just so happy to see a real live lavender. We don't have them here in the Philippines. I'm sure, the owner wouldn't have minded. I enjoyed the stories because they all represent that there's always hope and that not all days are going to be dark. The sun will come out and melt all the ice and bring warmth. Yes, warmth and love wouldn't be such a bad thing to wish for. Isn't it?

Thank you again Kathy of I am a reader and I apologize for the delay.

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