Katherine Langrish, what can I say but that you rock?
This week's offering on Seven Miles of Steel Thistles is Fairytale Reflections (13) Juliet Marillier. I am beginning to wonder if Katherine is capable of contacting Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to contribute to this series. (Not that the authors she is presenting are unapproachable by any means, but the breadth and diligence is impressive.) I'm excited to see who appears each week. And, no, this is no pressure on you Katherine. But this is like getting supplemental essays for Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales and A Narrative Compass: Stories that Guide Women's Lives, but, well, for free. How very generous of Katherine to arrange it and of the authors who are participating. I've enjoyed them all in some ways, especially from the ones whose work I am not familiar with.
But this week I am most certainly familiar with Juliet Marillier's work. I'd have to fire myself from SurLaLune if I wasn't. I haven't credited her enough, but her Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1) was part of my inspiration for expanding SurLaLune beyond the original ten or so popular tales I focused on when it began. Six Swans and its variants had to be explored after I read that book just a little over a year after I started SurLaLune. Then she kept going with several more fairy tale inspired novels as well as others. I'll image and link some of them at the bottom of this post.
No surprise to me that Marillier chose Beauty and the Beast for her wonderfully long piece about the tale for SMoST. Here's the first few paragraphs to inspire you to follow the link and read all of it.
I’ve loved Beauty and the Beast ever since I discovered it in Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book at the age of eight or so. As a child, I was captured by the magical elements of the story: the mysterious empty house with the meal ready on the table and the bed turned down for the weary traveller; the shock of the Beast’s first appearance; the mirror that allows Beauty to see far away; the cast of invisible retainers; the sixth sense that lets our heroine rush back to her dying Beast just in time to save his life. As a child I was untroubled by the fact that Beauty was so much the victim of her family’s poor judgement. I simply revelled in the spellbinding romance of the story. It was probably that tale, above all, that shaped me into a writer who puts a good love story in every novel!
All my books contain elements of traditional storytelling. I thank both my Celtic ancestry and a perceptive children’s librarian for providing me with a very early passion for myth, legend, fairytale and folklore. Of my twelve novels, three are loosely based on well known fairytales, and the others dip frequently into the cauldron of story that we all share, borrowing themes and motifs from its rich brew and, I hope, adding something new each time to the nourishing contents. I’ll write more later on my use of Beauty and the Beast as the framework for a gothic fantasy-romance for adults, Heart’s Blood (Roc, 2009.) First let’s look at the history of the fairytale itself.
Wonderful reading. And here are some of her books, including her newest title, Seer of Sevenwaters: