Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers by Kate Wolford

Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers by Kate Wolford
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

We remember her best as the generous fairy who dresses Cinderella and handles transportation while she’s at it. But that’s just the most famous fairy godmother’s tale. With a little imagination, you’ll find that fairy godmothers and godfathers appear in many varied forms. The authors in this anthology have crafted new tales that re-imagine the fairy godmother and her role.

A young fairy grapples with imposter syndrome as she takes up her new appointment as godmother. Immortal sisters bestow blessings and curses on princesses as a way to battle the patriarchal fairy godfathers. A struggling artist receives a godmother’s help to impress at her high school reunion. Sparing the life of a moth leads to magical help from an unexpected protector.

Retellings of Pinocchio, Rumpelstiltskin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Frog Prince show the magic of these stories in a whole new light. Infused with modern sensibilities but honoring the tradition of fairy tales, these dozen stories will enchant and inspire you.

Magic is for everyone.

“Face in the Mirror” was one of my favorite stories in this anthology because of how cleverly it reinterpreted Beauty and the Beast. The Beast was just as belligerent and spoiled as he should have been when I first met him, but the real magic happened after the spell was cast upon him and he had to earn the love of someone else in order to break it. I can’t go into much detail about how the later portions of the storyline unfolded, but I was impressed with how much effort Ms. de Soto put into finding a fresh perspective to describe him and his adventures. This could have easily been the first chapter or two of a full-length novel, and yet I was quite satisfied by how everything was resolved at the same time.

I enjoyed every retelling in this book, but there were a small number of them that I did wish had been given more time to develop. “In the Name of Gold” was one of them. A retelling of Rumplestiltskin intrigued me, especially since the author chose such an uncommon narrator for it. I only wish that it had been longer and dove deeper into the themes and characters of this world. There simply wasn’t enough space to show how this retelling was different from the original, and that made it tricky for me to remain as interested as I would have otherwise been.

Fairy godmothers rarely show up in contemporary settings, so “Modern Magic” grabbed my attention as soon as I realized the main character was standing in a Starbucks waiting for her Frappuccino to be made in the first scene. It was such an unusual way to introduce this sort of character, and somehow the plot only became better from there! I loved seeing how a fairy godmother would behave in an urban setting among people who don’t always necessarily believe in magic or that anyone is looking out for them. The heartwarming moments were only surpassed by the surprises that were in store for everyone this protagonist met during an ordinary day of granting wishes and making dreams come true.

Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers was an imaginative anthology that I’d recommend to anyone who loves fairy tale retellings.

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