Once Upon a Fairy Tale
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The original incarnation of this collection of stories was first released into the classrooms of schools in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth... but these stories were not originally written for children.
They were grown-up fairy tales, aimed at the reader who would weep over Oscar Wilde’s breathless stories of magic and cruelty and sacrifice and the transcendent thing that was half grief and half joy.
Author Alma Alexander acknowledges her debt to the dark and twisted fairy tales of Wilde, and also to the drama and pathos of Hans Christian Andersen's work.
"I learned from Hans Christian Andersen to trust passion, however tragic, rather than a rote happily-ever-after ending tacked on just because 'it’s a fairy tale'," Alexander says. "It’s ALWAYS a happy ending for some, and not for others. I don’t write tacked-on happy endings. In my stories there is seldom a Happily Ever After. I like my stories as I like my chocolate – dark, and a little bittersweet."
These are not the sort of fairy tales you might want to read to your young children at bedtime. But you might want to glance at them just before you yourself go to sleep - and you can be sure that your reward will come in dreams that are rich and strange, and that you have walked for a little while on roads paved with real magic.