Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers
Anthology Edited by Kate Wolford
World Weaver Press (2022)
Reviewed by Haley Kilgour for Reader Views (05/2022)
You thought you knew fairy godmothers. But be ready to have your world rocked with “Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers.” Between new tales, refurbished tales, and tales all their own, nothing is what you remember. Some highlights from the stories:
Wishes to Heaven was a tale that wasn’t a retelling. But the fairy tale essence was there. And I loved how it showed that being kind to insects isn’t a bad thing.
A Story of Soil and Stardust was a fun combination of Baba Yaga and Cinderella. The best thing about this tale is that Elya isn’t a good person, and she doesn’t play into it, especially in the end. I also loved how this tale deviated from the ending I was expecting.
Real Boy took on Jiminy Cricket’s point of view from Pinocchio. I really loved how the “godfather” in this one wondered if he’d gone wrong at any point and contemplated his part in the story.
Returning the Favor was another interesting story all its’ own. I suppose we never think about how fairy godmothers do eventually need replacements and that they need to be people with the right selfless heart.
My Last Curse was by far my favorite story. Fairies don’t curse princesses to be mean, they do it to bring down the patriarchy! It was such a fun take on Maleficent and I enjoyed seeing just how things could go awry.
Face in the Mirror was a spectacular take on Beauty and the Beast. I thought it was particularly interesting that the “godmother” and prince didn’t fall in love by the end, but friendship was enough to break the curse.
Forgetful Frost wasn’t my favorite story. It all just felt… confusing in a way. Though it did have Cinderella elements.
Modern Magic was another one of my favorites. A fairy godmother with a cellphone and a rainbow latte, yes, please. This was a very fun and modern take on Cinderella.
In the Name of Gold was another interesting retelling. This Rumplestiltskin retelling makes the “godfather” to be the good guy. Going so far as to let the princess learn his name so that she can keep her child—even though it will kill him. This truly took the story in a different direction that I really loved.
Of Wishes and Fairies, seemed to combine Cinderella and the Princess and the Frog. But the best part was that a fairy whose magic sometimes goes awry actually saves the day. Her misguided spells actually have unintended good consequences.
Flick: The Fairy Godmother was another one I didn’t care for. It just didn’t speak to me. Though I will say I enjoyed seeing the struggles with anxiety that Flick had.
The Venetian Glass Girl was a take on Pinocchio. But instead of wood, glass. I didn’t feel the fairy godmother had much of a part in the story, except at the end. And I hope the glassmaker and glass girl ended up getting a happy ending.
Overall, the stories were well curated, and extremely well written. I also found the stories more often than not offered a unique sense of hope that was uplifting. I would say this anthology is for anyone who loves retellings and I would highly recommend it.