Confession time… My knowledge of classic fairy tales is more that a little restricted, of course as a child I absorbed every reworked, watered down and sugared up Disney tale that was placed in front of me, However, the classic fairy tale section of my never ending “to be read” list has just not been reached. Also, the fairy tale retelling industry seems to have been drowned by the YA scene and to be honest I’d rather stick on a pair of magical red shoes and dance until I need someone to chop my feet off than force my way through YA. These reasons are probably why I have yet to fully sink my teeth into the Fairy Tale genre.
So when I was given Alice Thompsons, The Book Collector as a birthday gift I was keen to see if such a gothic fairy inspired novel would be understood by my Disney mutilated brain. Not only did I understand it, I adored it.
Set in a bountiful country estate pre-world war one, this story focuses on the seemingly perfect Edwardian marriage of Violet, who has recently given birth to her beautiful baby boy. The more we read the more we learn about the obsessive and horror filled life Violet found herself in. Murder, mutilation, asylums and betrayals are key players in this story. This is definitely a book for grown-ups.
In this books slim 160 pages, you find endless haunting and brutal motifs, which create a strong theme without beating you over the head or alienating a non-Grimm obsessed audience. The slightness of this book makes for a rapid and fast paced read which will leave you feeling creeped out and uncomfortable in the best way possible.
The only thing I will say is don’t expect to be surprised or shocked by the storyline, the are some revelations that will leave you twitching, but the beautiful narrative does not need to lean on dramatic twists.
my only wish for this book is that it was more fleshy, I would have loved it to be a little longer with more history to each of its vivid characters, but overall I found this story thrilling and haunting and I am looking forward to reading more fairy tale reworkings. Just not the YA Kind.