Friday 4 February 2011

Friday is For Fairytales - The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke

Friday is for Fairytales is a meme hosted by Irena at This Miss loves to Read. Every Friday, you can choose a fairytale you love, or simply find interesting or haunting, and review it or simply say why you like it so much, or why it has captured your attention. Instead of a fairytale, you can choose a favourite fairytale character and describe him/her and tell us why you like them, or you can simply share an experience connected to a fairytale. Fairytales can be old and modern, written by a known author or anonymous, written down or passed on orally, short or in novel form (like re-writings of fairytales), international or typical for your country alone.

My choice this week is a collection of retellings: The Ladies of Grace Adieu, by Susanna Clarke, whose debut novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, has been sitting on my bookshelf for absolutely years without me reading it!
This book is beautiful, and I'm talking about the cover, the writing, and the illustration. For me, fairytales in any form are always made all the more magical by good illustration. This collection is based around English folklore, and, having read  a lot of Neil Gaiman, there were many references in it which I understood, as there is a theme of English legends and folklore running through a lot of his work. This made me feel extremely smug!

My favourite story of the collection is a tie, between 'On Lickerish Hill', a retelling of the well-known Rumplestiltskin story, and Mrs Mabb, about a man who leaves his fiancee for Mrs Mabb, otherwise known as Queen Mabb, the 'miniature creature who drives her chariot into the noses and brains of sleeping people to compel them to experience dreams of wish fulfillment' (ahhh Wikipedia).

This collection was an absolute joy to read, and I especially loved Clarke's strong and intelligent female protagonists!

Rating : *****


  1. Great choice! I love this collection myself. It really is a treat to read, isn't it? I see it as a little gem for lovers of fairy-tales and similar magical stories.

    Thank you for your post!

  2. I read this just after Christmas and adored it. Have you read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell? If you enjoyed this collection of hers, you would love the full novel set in the same world.

  3. I've not read it yet,but I definitely will be now,as i've owned it for ages!i think it was because of your review I read it actually, I couldn't remember where i'd read about it when I was writing the post,so thanks for that!:-)

  4. I loved this collection too! I think Mrs. Mabb was one of my favorites too.

  5. I love fairytale remakes! This is a great meme, loved the post!