A few weeks ago I received my review copy of Seven Tales – a collection of seven original tales by G.C. McRae, written in the classic style of authors like Anderson and the Grimms. And I was excited to see that it was personally signed…
… what a nice touch! I’ve read many twentieth- and twenty-first-century revisions of classic fairy and folk tales – often dark or ironic inversions. But it was nice to read original tales written in the style of those classic tales. It reminded me of when I was growing up and my Mum would read me a fairy tale I hadn’t heard before.
In McRae’s collection you will find many familiar tropes, including queens afraid of ageing, children given away at birth, predatory wolves, and women kissing frogs. Yet, at the same time, the tales bring freshness and energy. These original tales are charming and laced with humour. I giggled quite a few times at the sometimes unexpected witty insertions!
McRae’s tales are mostly light-hearted, though every now and then there is an unexpected element of tragedy, like a devastated king who believes that his daughter has been transfigured into a wooden doll and spends years trying to turn her back into flesh and blood. (I may have gotten slightly teary!)
Standout tales for me were ‘The Sneaking Girl and the Other Queen,’ in which a workaholic queen learns how to have fun, and ‘The Dollmaker’s Daughter,’ in which an overbearing father must eventually come to realise that he must allow his daughter some freedom.
Seven Tales is one of those collections perfect to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon. Get a copy here.
Dr Belinda Calderone