It’s common in popular fairy tales for characters to resolve their troubles and find a happy ending. More often than not, that’s a lie. Many original versions of fairy tales have features that are darker and lesser known.
But what exactly is a fairy tale? In a translation of the Brothers Grimm story collection, Ken Mondschein writes that “a fairy tale is a form of folk tale—a traditional story that doesn’t have a definite author but belongs to everyone equally.” Fairy tales often, but not always, have a magical element, like characters such as witches, dwarves or actual fairies.
The Kennedy Center states that many fairy tales “were passed along by word-of-mouth.” The Grimm brothers were some of the first people to collect such stories into a literary form. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Germany in respectively 1785 and 1786. Mondschein says that “before the brothers were out of their early teens, they had begun collecting notebooks of Märchen.” The Grimm brothers called their collection Märchen, which meant tales, or Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and House-Tales).
Silla and Nori can’t catch a break in And the Trees Crept In, written by Dawn Kurtagich. They run away from their mother and abusive stepfather to the manor house, which is where their mother and her sisters grew up, to live with Aunt Cathy. For the first couple of years, everything is great until the trees move closer to their house, Nori starts to play with a strange, creepy man that only she can see, and Aunt Cathy goes to the attic and never comes out.
Tasha Kavanagh’s novel, Things We Have in Common, promises to be a dark and gripping story. The story begins when Yasmin sees a strange man lurking near the school and watching another student, Alice. Yasmin convinces herself that this man is planning on taking Alice, whom she has an obsession with, and that she must protect her from any potential danger.
Yasmin takes it upon herself to find out exactly who this man is. But as she learns more, her affections shift from Alice to him, even when Alice mysteriously disappears and Yasmin suspects this man of kidnapping her.
Imagine traveling across the country via train following breadcrumbs your dead grandfather left behind five years ago. In A Lite Too Bright, written by Samuel Miller, Arthur Louis Pullman the Third does just that.
Arthur’s grandfather (also named Arthur Louis Pullman) was the author of an American classic, A World Away, and he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. During the last week of his life, he somehow managed to travel from California to Ohio, where he died. The narrator is desperate to find answers to the mystery of what happened to his grandpa and to escape his own personal demons from the past, so he embarks on a journey across the country to follow his grandfather’s footsteps.