Hello lovely readers, how’s the most romantic month of the year going for you? If you’re looking for a sweet, romantic fantasy book to keep you company on these cold winter nights, then look no further.
If you’re a fan of fairytale retellings then you might already have a favourite version of the Twelve Dancing Princesses tale, but there may be one or two on this list that you haven’t come across before. Some are loyal to the original, with just a little added embellishment, and others are combined with another fairytale or take us on a whole new adventure inspired by the traditional version.
Here we go, as always, click on the covers for more details and to buy the books…
A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier
I just finished listening to the audio book of A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier, and I loved the swoony, slowburn romance and how the author hinted at wider worldbuilding (it fits into a larger series of retellings but can absolutely be read as standalone, like I did). This one reads like a classic fairytale, but I really enjoyed the nods to The Selection and even The Hunger Games, the contest/tournament theme gives this book some great tension and I was rooting for the main character, Lily, but loved all the twists and turns that lead to the final resolution. It’s a little different to the original, but the overall feel and atmosphere was 100% fairytale, so check this one out if you like the classics but also love to be surprised by the ending!
Pirouette by Kenley Davidson
This is actually my next audio book and I’m really excited to start it, the blurb sounds fantastic – I mean, forbidden magic? A devilishly charming foreigner? Ill-matched companions? If that doesn’t sound like a fun fantasy romp then I don’t know what does! I’ll share a review when I’m finished, but I’ve heard from friends that this is their favourite iteration of the fairytale and they’ve read it several times, so I’m expecting to love every second of it!
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
I really enjoyed this Gothic, ghost story version of Twelve Dancing Princesses, the creepy horror vibes were right up my street. This is probably the most unique adaptation of the original tale I’ve come across, and I liked how unusual and creative it was. There were gods and goddesses, tricksters, a religion deeply entrenched in the ocean (hence the salt in the title), little girls who can see ghosts, a strange madness, and so many twists your mind will be a pretzel by the time you finish reading. If you like really unique takes on classic fairytales, with incredible world building, and you don’t mind a bit of horror (which, if you’re a fan of the original Brothers Grimm versions, you won’t), then this one is definitely for you.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses by K.M. Shea
I have the first few books in this series, but as this one is book ten I haven’t quite reached it yet! It does say it can be read as a standalone, so I might skip ahead to it, as the blurb sounds absolutely incredible. Instead of a princess, the female main character is the soldier, and she teams up with the King of the Elves to break the curse that forces his people to dance every night. It’s full of banter and magic and ELVES, so it gets a big yes from me.
Silent Melody by Alice Ivinya
Silent Melody is actually a Pied Piper of Hamlin retelling, but it’s mashed up with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and it’s one of my favourite books by Ivinya so I wanted to include it in case any of you are fans of mash ups. Adelaide is profoundly deaf, so the Piper’s music has no effect on her, but she follows him into the mountains and discovers a magical realm with a castle where princesses are enchanted to dance every night. It’s a beautiful tale with a sweet, enemies to lovers romance, and is another great version of this story!
Dance of Wishes by K.A. Last
This one is short but sweet, at just 59 pages, but it’s another great take on the original. A mage is brought in by Princess Adelina’s father, the King, to enchant her so that she might find a suitor. Plus, there’s a surprise twist that keeps things fresh!
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
This might be my favourite version that I’ve read so far, it’s fairly traditional but with so much added depth. It begins in the soldier, Galen’s POV, which I loved, and we discovered the truth about the curse/enchantment along with him. The whole concept of the fae king villain was really interesting and well-thought out, and I liked the way magic and religion were at odds and how that played out. The world building was great, the twists and climax were exciting, and I just really enjoyed this one.
Kingdom of Dance by Deborah Grace White
This one is on my TBR after Pirouette, so I’m hoping to get to it next month if not sooner. It’s another one that’s part of a larger series, but can all be read as standalones, and this one has – wait for it – DRAGONS! So obviously it’s going to be great. There’s a Lieutenant Obsidian (fantastic name) who has some mysterious magic that he hates, colour me intrigued. And lots of intrigue and excitement before we get our HEA (happy-ever-after), which all makes for a book I know I’m going to love!
Which one do you think sounds like your cup of tea? I’m currently working on a top secret project that’s due to come out this Autumn, and if this blog post hasn’t given you a hint at what that work-in-progress might be then I guess I’ll just tell you now – it’s a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling! So, hopefully my version will join these on your TBR later this year.
I’ll be revealing more about this secret WIP very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more details as I build up to the big reveal in May.