All Women's Talk

11 Fairy Tale Books for Adults to Enjoy when They're Still Young at Heart ...

By Alison

Every single one of us grew up listening to fairytales. But did you know that fairytales weren't originally intended for children? If you think about it, they often have a very dark side. So it's no surprise that many writers produce rather more grown-up versions of the stories that we're so familiar with. Try these dark, twisted, wonderful fairytales for adults and young adults …

1 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)What an absolutely irresistible title! If you enjoy this tale about a mysterious orphanage, you'll be happy to know that the third in the series has just come out.

2 The Sleeper and the Spindle (Neil Gaiman)

The Sleeper and the Spindle (Neil Gaiman)Neil Gaiman is a master at creating dark fairytale worlds, so don't miss this retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty. There's an illustrated edition to make it even more special.


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3 The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly)

The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly)How does a child cope with the loss of his mother? By escaping into his books and a fantasy world. But is it really fantasy?

4 The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)Everyone loves a circus - but this is no ordinary circus. It only opens at night, and is full of magic …

5 Beautiful Creatures (Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl)

Beautiful Creatures (Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl)

Witches often make an appearance in fairy tales, so it's no surprise to see them in Beautiful Creatures. If you like the Sookie Stackhouse novels, you might enjoy this series.

6 The Bloody Chamber (Angela Carter)

The Bloody Chamber (Angela Carter)Any list of modern fairytales has to include something by Angela Carter. She's a wonder at updating familiar stories and giving them a darkly compelling twist. If you think there's nothing new to add to stories like Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard (itself a pretty dark story), read this … but not if you're easily scared!

7 The Darkest Part of the Forest (Holly Black)

The Darkest Part of the Forest (Holly Black)Imagine a world where fairies and magic exist. But are the fairies benevolent, and what happens if you make bargains with them?

8 The Child Thief (Brom)

The Child Thief (Brom)If you've always thought Peter Pan was too twee and saccharine, this updated reworking might be up your street. It's an extremely dark version, so not for the fainthearted!

9 The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Susannah Clarke)

The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Susannah Clarke)If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (now a BBC series), you'll also like this collection of fairytales by the same author. In her world, magic exists in 19th-century England …

10 The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye (as Byatt)

The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye (as Byatt)AS Byatt is best known for books like Possession, but has also written some adult fairytales. Pick up this volume and let the genie out of the bottle …

11 Fables - Legends in Exile (Bill Willingham)

Fables - Legends in Exile (Bill Willingham)If you're a fan of graphic novels, you'll love this series - and with 150 volumes, it'll keep you going for a while! Fables imagines that fairytale characters have escaped to our world after being expelled from their own.

These are just some of the fantastic fairytales for adults than you can enjoy. The stories that we know from our childhood originated as very dark tales that were later sanitised for a younger audience, and these modern versions are reclaiming these stories for an adult reader. So immerse yourself in the world of fairytales …

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