The big bad wolf is the villain in many fairytales. The wolf is dangerous and cunning. He is a beast of prey ready to eat those who are too trusting. In “Little Red Riding Hood” he deceives her not once but twice. First when she encounters him on the walk through the woods and he suavely asks her where she is headed suggesting she pick flowers for her grandmother. Then again when he sets up his trap, disguising himself as her grandmother so he can eat her.
In Charles Perrault’s version from 1697, the tale ends there. A depressingly cautionary tale. However when the Grimm brothers adapted the story in the 1800’s they changed the ending by adding a woodcutter who saves both Little Red and Grandmother from the belly of the wolf, filling his belly with rocks instead. While in even earlier versions of the tale, Little Red saves herself by stating that she needs to go to the bathroom and cleverly running away.
Whatever the version, the message is clear: be careful who you trust. The proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing” may be hiding in the woods, in broad daylight, or even in your own home. Thankfully there are red flags to help us detect the wolves from the sheep. Such as the wolf’s distinctive eyes, ears and teeth. And like the Little Red of old–when she realized that the person before her wasn’t her grandmother–we can run or get the help needed.
Sweet and Swoony Retellings
Retellings I’ve Read and Loved:
Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor’s twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist–wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory.
But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it’s not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse . . .
This book was a fabulous sequel to Princess of the Midnight Ball! Rereading the blurb only makes me want to reread the entire series!
The Princess Fugitive by Melanie Cellier
Princess Ava used to be a weapon–sharp, strong and beautiful. But when she fails at her most important task, she’s forced to flee from her own family.
Only her personal bodyguard, Hans, remains loyal. Hans claims to know the real Ava but she finds that hard to believe–after all, she’s been the villain so long that she can’t remember anything else.
This book has definitely been one of my favorite books by Melanie Cellier! I adore the characters and their banter and the journey they go on throughout the book.
Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn
Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; until she saves her crush’s life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it’s next fairytale victim. To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.
This book is a delightful mesh-up of Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and a few more grim tales. It is set in the modern day giving you the paranormal feels. I loved the entire series!
The Wolf’s Golden Deception by Alesha Adamson
Stolen magic. Broken trust. Can love save Rafe and Mira from being consumed by the Wolf’s deception? Or is it already too late?
For months, Lord Rafe has been ensnared in a deception that he wishes he’d never fallen for. But what else could he do to protect his family? What started out as something seemingly harmless became achingly complex when he fell in love with Princess Mira. Refusing to see her hurt by his poor choices, he made the painful decision to stay away from her.
Mira still doesn’t understand why the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with vanished after the end of the midnight balls. When he finally returns contrite and ready to court her, she wants to forgive him and regain what they once had. But Rafe is accused of a shocking crime and banished just as a tragedy strikes that changes Mira’s life forever. Now they must meet cloaked in secret if they wish to be together.
I came up with the idea for this book when I was still thinking about the villain theme from the Villain’s Ever After anthology. In fact, I came up with a whole series based around this theme. For this tale based off of both “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Orpheus and Eurydice,” I wanted to have the person everyone thought was the villain, not be the actual villain, and so the blackmail plot was born. Add in a snake and a delightfully fairytale, Greek and Norse inspired world with my own set of magical rules and I had a delightful time writing this book! It is the second instalment of my Ever After in Vilastoria stand-alone series.
Scarlet by Melissa Meyer
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
This is a delightful companion to the widely popular Cinder. If dystopian, meshed with fairytale steampunk sounds like your jam, you will probably enjoy this series.
The Baker and the Wolf by J.M. Stengl
A mysterious stranger, an enchantress grandmother, and an overprotective mother. Can Cerise trust any of them?
Cerise DuBois might as well be invisible. Not even her scarlet cloak attracts male interest, and her mother begins to despair of snaring a husband for a boring middle daughter with no magic ability. If not for her baking talents, Cerise would be a hopeless burden on the family.
Or so she believes until a dark man with eyes like gold appears in the family bakery to deliver an invitation from a grandmother she has never met . . . and real trouble begins. What if everything Cerise believes about herself and her family is false?
If you love fast paced writing and corky lovable characters you will probably enjoy reading J.M. Stengl’s books. I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.
Path of Secrets by Kenley Davidson
There are no wolves in the woods, they said.
You’ll be completely safe, they said.
Batrice Reyard has everything she’s ever wanted—a fabulous job, an understanding mentor, and the freedom to be herself. Or so she thought…
I have yet to read any of Kenley Davidson books but am looking forward to giving her a try. From the reviews, her books might be a tad violent and on the darker side but still happy enough that I think I can enjoy them. (I’ve also been told that some of her books have a few swear words.)
Cloaked in Scarlet by Annette K. Larsen
A girl determined to fight her own battles.
A boy desperate to protect her at all costs.
And a prowling villain with a deceptively charming smile.
After watching her two closest friends survive mistreatment and degradation, Emeline is determined never to become a victim herself, no matter how small and quiet she may be. She’s proven to others that she can take charge as a cook; now she’s proving to herself that she can handle any situation.
Girl in the Red Hood by Brittany Fichter
The girl who’s bitten by a wolf and marked for life.
A boy, shrouded in secrecy, who watches over her.
The one man who can save her from her dark curse…or doom her to it.
In this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, when Liesel’s mother died, Liesel felt as though the world had ended. To make matters worse, in his grief, her father moves them to a village deep in a sunless forest. In her terror, Liesel tries to flee back to her grandparents that they left behind, but before she can escape, she’s bitten by a wolf, and unbeknownst to her, marked for a terrifying destiny.
Crimson Claws by Abigail Manning
A girl and her grandma… separated by an entire pack of beasts.
Roisen Karro and her grandmother run the most beloved bakery in the province of Omaira. Ever since her father disappeared seven years ago, Ro has decided there is no place for a man in her heart, especially an obnoxiously flirty woodcutter. Unfortunately, her granny has no issue encouraging the young man’s advances toward her.
The Scarred Prince by Erika Everest
A bitter and reclusive prince. A determined intruder. An unlikely friendship.
His face scarred from a witch’s curse, Prince Sebastian retreats inside his castle, resentful and angry. He shuns contact with everyone except the Red Hoods, the elite soldiers he trains and leads.
Four years ago, Sienna was kidnapped. Still traumatized by her ordeal, she needs to learn to protect herself to feel safe again, and she wants the Prince to train her.
Reluctantly, Sebastian agrees.
*A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast with a grumpy hero.
Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella vows to escape the usual pitfalls. Anxious to avoid the Traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with “Granny,” the local wisewoman. But on the way home she’s attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman. Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn’t howling at the moon. Bella knows all too well that breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he’s only an occasional werewolf) and a little Godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.
This book is geared toward adults yet from everything I can tell it seems clean. Many reviewers said it felt like a YA book and one reviewer mentioned that there were some slight inuendoes.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
*This looks like a dark retelling with mild to moderate violence. And can I just say the cover is gorgeous!
Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Valde
So you think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl with the unfortunate name and the inability to tell the difference between her grandmother and a member of a different species? Well, then, try your hand at answering these questions: Which character (not including Little Red herself) is the most fashion challenged? Who (not including the wolf) is the scariest? Who (not including Granny) is the most easily scared? Who is the strangest (notice we’re not “not including” anyone, because they’re all a little off.)? Who (no fair saying “the author”) has stuffing for brains? Master storyteller Vivian Vande Velde crafts eight new stories involving one of the world’s most beloved (and mixed-up) characters in literature. You may never look at fairy tales in quite the same way again.
*Reader Suggested Recommendations:
Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny a historical western retelling (mild violence)
Mountain of the Wolf by Elisabeth Grace a historical western retelling novella length (moderate violence)
The Wolf Gate by Hannah Sandvig a modern portal fae retelling.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you find many new and fantastic reads! If you enjoyed this list and would like to receive more be sure to join my newsletter by subscribing with the link below.