Fitcher's Brides
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Fitcher's Brides (The Fairy Tale Series)

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  351 ratings  ·  38 reviews
The tale of Bluebeard, reenvisioned as a dark fable of faith and truth

1843 is the “last year of the world,” according the Elias Fitcher, a charismatic preacher in the Finger Lakes district of New York State. He's established a utopian community on an estate outside the town of Jeckyll's Glen, where the faithful wait, work, and pray for the world to end.

Vernelia, Amy, and C...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Tor Books (first published December 6th 2002)
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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
413th out of 1,486 books — 6,506 voters
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Fairy Tale Series
6th out of 8 books — 27 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,118)
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Leah
Rating: 3.5 of 5

Until late-2013 I knew jack squat about Bluebeard. That's when I started reading Bluebeard Tales From Around the World by Heidi Anne Heiner (SurLaLune Fairytales). It's some of the darkest folklore I've read: frightening and gory. So I thought it would be fun to read the retellings of Bluebeard whilst I continued (and eventually complete) Heiner's collection.

Fitcher's Brides was my first selection in a list of retellings. It presented a Bluebeard - Elias Fitcher - as someone reve...more
Jen
After finishing Briar Rose by Jane Yolen I was intrigued again by fairy tales. It has only been during the last 150 years that these persistent stories with similar elements across many cultures and times got "scrubbed" and disneyfied. Who hasn't forgotten the first time they heard the Cinderella story complete with butchered toes so that the stepsisters feet would fit the glass slipper? So I picked up this retelling of Bluebeard with much anticipation, it was set during the Great Awakening in t...more
Kerry
Fitcher's Brides is the latest book I've read from the Terri Windling Fairy Tale series. Some of the books in that series (like Windling's The Wood Wife and Jane Yolen's Briar Rose) are amazing while others like Tanith Lee's White as Snow have tragically gone horribly, horribly wrong. Unfortunately, Fitcher's Brides are in the latter category.

The author seemed to think that a retelling of Bluebeard set in the compound of a 19th century apocalyptic cult wouldn't be spooky or weird enough so he a...more
Nick
"Fitcher's Brides" is a retelling of the "Bluebeard" story, updated to 19th century upstate New York where a charismatic preacher/leader named Fitcher has created a millennialist utopian community. He mentions the Shakers as a model, though he by no means puts all of the restrictions upon daily living which the Shakers had. Close, but not all. People can get married, for instance. Fitcher, especially, can get married. So a new family moves into the area with three marriagable-age daughters, and...more
Lorena
It's been a few weeks and I'm still really not sure if I liked this book or not.

I wanted to like it. I love fairy tales - old, dark, dangerous fairy tales that haven't yet met Walt Disney. And this certainly was dark and dangerous. But... I don't know. I also found parts of it too unrealistic for a book that was trying to be realistic. The Bluebeard character was evil enough when portrayed realistically. He would have been horrible enough, the story would have been dark enough, if it had just b...more
Rebekah H.

I skimmed but did not finish this book. I did read the end, which was chaotic and detached.
So, here are the reasons for the single star.

1. Obnoxious characters with all the personality of a paper cup. I felt no connection to them at all. The villainous Reverend Fitcher was merely gross, and I couldn't see him having any appeal unless you were out of your senses, or under a spell. The guy was so obvious, he made the girls look like idiots.

2. Vague, meandering style that dragged on forever

3. Too m...more
Lord Humungus
A retelling of the fairy tale 'Bluebeard'. Frost does a good job drawing you into the lives of three sisters in 19th century New England, moving with their father and stepmother to start a new life. It feels like really did his research into everyday life during that era.

With this backdrop, he starts introducing the weird and disturbing bit by bit, slowly building the tension towards some horrific reveals.

Those familiar with the Bluebeard story aren't going to be surprised by anything in the boo...more
Tabitha Vohn
What do you get when you mix a classic tale of a mythical serial killer with a New England, Messianic cult at the turn of the century? A ripping good tale, that's what. In Fitcher's Brides, Frost combines the faery stories of Bluebeard and Fitcher's Bird in a wholly unique and engrossing account of three sisters who all fall prey to an enigmatic cult leader who lures his members with promises of salvation from the apocalypse.

While those of us familiar with the faery tales will be able to "see i...more
Althea Ann
This book is quite radically different from the other entries in Terri Windling's 'Fairy Tale Series.' Most of the other books Windling selected stayed much closer to the classic feel of fairy tales in their retellings. I knew that, from what I'd read in other reviews, and for that reason waited quite a while to get around to reading this - the description just didn't appeal to me that much.

However, now I'm sorry I didn't give it a chance earlier! No, this book doesn't have that 'fairy-tale' fee...more
Lis Carey
The latest in Terri Windling's Fairy Tale series is an adaptation of the story of Bluebeard, set in the Finger Lakes region of New York in the first half of the 19th century. I'm going to proceed on the assumption that anyone reading this is familiar with the basic Bluebeard story. A Boston widower with three beautiful daughters has remarr ied, to a woman who leads him into the orbit of a millenialist preacher, the Reverend Elias Fitcher. Rev. Fitcher has announced that the world will end within...more
Kirsten
This is a masterful combination of the "Bluebeard" and "Fitcher's Bird" fairytales, set in New York state in the 1830s. Vernelia, Amy, and Kate have been uprooted from Boston by their father and stepmother and brought to Harbinger House, the apocalyptic community led by the Reverend Elias Fitcher. At Harbinger House, hundreds of men, women, and children live and work communally while they wait for the end of the world, which according to Rev. Fitcher will occur in just three short months. When R...more
Verity Brown
Aug 31, 2012 Verity Brown rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Completists who want to read the whole set of fairy tales.

While I enjoyed this book as I was reading it, the ending just sort of...crumbles, leaving too many loose ends and too few explanations. Throughout the story, I got the distinct impression that Fitcher was some kind of demon, or at least secretly demonic in his purposes. Everything he does and says, everything the girls discover, points in that direction. Yet at the end, he comes across as more of a narcissistic madman who genuinely believes his own rhetoric. That sudden and inexplicable shift i...more
Jammies
Jun 22, 2009 Jammies rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Horror fans who are also history fans, readers of grown-up fairy tales
This is a truly amazing re-telling of "Bluebeard." Even though each one of the three sisters exemplifies a certain 'sin,' they are all well-rounded and interesting characters. Frost's choice of setting and time period added to the book's fascination, because the turn-of-the-century apocalyptic cults were certainly interesting. Frost also does a great job of using current events and literature of the time. Reading Fitcher's Brides made me look up Wieland or, the Transformation, an American Tale a...more
Miriam
One of the obvious challenges in adapting most fairy or folk tales into full-length novels or films is how to extend them from their generally brief and undetailed versions to take 200 pages or 2 hours. Quite a few adult adaptations add in sex scenes. Disney fills up time with musical numbers. Frost, in moving Bluebeard to nineteenth-century America, fills up the empty pages with background information. The characters walk places. They clean. They make candles. They cook, say prayers, and eat. T...more
Brittany
An interesting retelling of the tale of Bluebeard and The Fitcher Bird in one (Bluebird? Fitcherbeard?). The Bluebeard character this time round is a preacher named Elias Fitcher, who has determined that the end times are soon to come and he needs a bride in the hereafter. He sets his sights on three sisters, marrying them each in turn. The story is a little slow to get started, but once it really starts getting into the relationship of Fitcher with his brides, it turns into a real page-turner....more
Michelle Wardhaugh
The collector in me is glad I got it to add to the series. The art lover in me likes the Thomas Canty painting on the cover. The story lover in me is glad I only paid $1 for it. Where a good fairy tale sums up the violence in a single sentence, Frost takes pages to describe the gore of running, spouting, viscous blood. You get to read from the point of view of the first bride as she watches her body after her head has been severed from it. The finale is such a feverish pitch of activity and tens...more
Shauna
Urhhgh, just had to give up on this one, bored to tears and a little baffled by this author's attempt at rewriting 'Bluebeard.' The original fairy tale has so much potential to be translated to a modern setting (especially with the cult aspects in this retelling), I'm not sure why the author chose to place this in the 1800's. What with the added fantastical elements and it just makes the story more remote. Overall it was a pretty convoluted plot and I just couldn't bring myself to care about any...more
Jean L.
Creepy but fascinating portrait of one of the "The Great Awakening" periods in the US. Interweaving it with an unfamiliar fairy tale added to the spookiness. I was reminded of this book after reading Libba Bray's "The Diviners", even though they were not related. This book is one of my favorites in the Tor/Ace Faery Tale series; Pamela Dean's "Tam Lin", Charles de Lint's "Jack the Giant Killer", and Jane Yolen's "Briar Rose" are the others.
Rachel
I have never read the tale of Bluebeard before and this version of it is a tour de force scary fairytale. My grandma gave me a collection of Grimm Fairy Tales in 4tn grade which I promptly read. This might be the starting point of my ingrained paranoia and general suspicion of humans. Frost gives you a real fairy tale. Fast read with an introduction of the history of the Blubeard tale, which has been re-told for centuries.
Rosalie
At first I was slow to get into this book, it took me a while, and I put it down for a short time. I picked it back up and found that once I got over the tedium in the beginning, then I was encouraged to see how it turned-out. I'm still waiting on the others in this series and curious how they will evolve.
Erin
Jul 21, 2008 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Ended up liking this much more than I expected. It was a bit of a slow start, but probably the best way to set up the characters and the day to day life.

I love a good fairy tale retelling, and this retelling of Bluebeard was done quite nicely. A bit creepy and definitely suspenseful, I enjoyed it.
Chere
I love fairy tale retellings in general, and this one in particular was really good for me. I loved how Gregory Frost interpreted Bluebeard's bloody tale and put it in a historical setting, with characters that are very realistically drawn. A very worthwhile read.
Carrie
Like all of the books in Terri Windling's Faerie Tale series, Fitcher's Brides was a well-written and intelligently constructed story. It was also DEEPLY, DEEPLY creepy. I'm away at 2 AM to share with you this advice. Read this sucker during the daylight hours.
Liina
this stupid shelving system stopped working as of now x-(

OK, so this was good, but disturbing in a way. which may have been a good thing ... but the book did not proceed beyond "good" despite the creepiness.
Kaila
Dec 17, 2013 Kaila marked it as abandoned
Nope. That sucked. Told from the simultaneous view point of all three girls who all love to explain exactly what they're going through one right after the other.

The definition of telling and not showing.
Butterflycager
I loved the premise of this story (a re-telling of Bluebeard set in the burned-over district of upstate New York), but felt like I never got to know the main characters very well.
Wealhtheow
Jul 02, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Angela Carter's Bloody Chambers
Shelves: fantasy, historical
Another in Terri Windling's Fairy Tale series, in which a common story is retold. In this case, Frost chose to translate Bluebeard into 1840s America. Quite good.
Greymalkin
Creepy and horrifying but I think it's really well written and I was really drawn into the story. An excellent retelling of Bluebeard.
Dana
An updated version of the Bluebeard legend, but not really a completely modern retelling. Was rather slow, and definitely creepy.
Paula
If only all fantasy were this good. Excellent retelling of the Bluebeard tale (one of my favorites).
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Gregory Frost is an American author of fantasy, science fiction and thrillers. He directs the fiction writing workshop at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa. A graduate of the iconic Clarion Workshop, he has taught at Clarion several times, including the first session following its move to the University of California at Sa...more
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