Friday, December 9, 2016

Creative Fairy-Tale Retellings with Thought-Provoking Alterations | Review of Once

About the Collection

Six fairytales you thought you knew, set against a tapestry of historical backgrounds.

A lonely girl plots revenge in the shadow of a mountain. A stolen princess fumbles a century backward. A dwarfish man crafts brilliant automatons. A Polish Jew strikes matches against the Nazis. A dead girl haunts a crystal lake. A terrified princess searches a labyrinth. A rich collection of six historically inspired retellings, Once is a new generation of fairytales for those who thought they'd heard the tales in all their forms.

Featuring the novellas of Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.

Available Now!

My Rating


My Review

Creative fairy-tale retellings. A group of fabulously talented indie authors. Diverse historical settings and rich characterization. The Once collection has a lot going for it!

I love that each story offers its own unique reading experience...

The Mountain of the Wolf is a very atmospheric Western, with dangers from more than one kind of wolf and a tender, romantic twist.

She But Sleepeth takes lots of turns and raises some interesting what-if questions about the course of history, the things we value most, and the dreams that don't come true.

Rumpled offers an emotionally authentic journey from an ordinary life to a happily-ever-after with a steep cost. I think this might be my favorite of the collection (although it's tough to choose!) because of the powerful lessons learned and the satisfying way everything comes together.

Sweet Remembrance is a tough, bittersweet read, gently told, with past and present scenes tightly interwoven.

Death Be Not Proud kept me guessing, and I confess that I'm still not quite sure I understand exactly how it all went down and why certain characters acted the way they did. ;) But the great writing and the intense suspense certainly held my attention! This story might require more than one read to fully appreciate.

With Blossoms Gold has really sweet main characters, a cat companion, an epic quest, and some wonderful character growth. A lovely tale that solidifies my admiration for this author's writing style and skill.

All in all, this collection offers plenty of variety in its stories, from tone and setting to the type of ending. If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings with strong characters and thought-provoking alterations, you should find much to love in Once.

*With thanks to the authors for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of the book. This review is my honest opinion.*


Deborah O'Carroll said...

Great review! Loved these stories (most of them)! ^_^

Kara said...

I was blown away by the imaginative ideas these authors came up with! Definitely fun and interesting stories. Great review! (As always. :)

Liv K. Fisher said...

Wonderful review, Amber!! (How are your reviews always so amazing?!)

I think my two favourites of the collection were Rumpled and Sweet Remembrance. I was rather surprised at how much I enjoyed Rumpled, seeing as Rumpelstiltskin is not my favourite fairytale, but I absolutely adored it! :)


Jenni Elyse said...

I'm not normally a fan of short stories, but this one actually sounds like something I may like. Thanks for the recommendation.

Amber Holcomb said...


Aww, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the collection overall too! :)


Amber Holcomb said...


I know, right?? These authors are very creative in both plot and writing style!

Thank you for your kind words, friend. :)


Amber Holcomb said...


You are too sweet!! Thank you for the kind and encouraging words! :D

I'm agreed on how surprisingly awesome Rumpled was! And Sweet Remembrance was very well-written, while quite poignant and tragic.

So fun to hear your favorites! :)


Amber Holcomb said...


Awesome! I think these stories are pretty satisfying even with the shorter novella/novelette length. :) (Although, as noted in the review, not all the endings are satisfying in the same sort of way...) I hope you enjoy the collection if you do decide to try it! Thank you for checking out my review!