Legendary Literary Couples Live on in Countless Retellings

Posted by Cybil on February 11, 2019
It's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in the world of love stories—from the tragic to the happily ever after—that is certainly the case. For example, where would Fifty Shades of Grey be without Twilight? Yes, E.L. James was inspired by the vampire series.

We thought we'd take a look at some classic literary couples who have sparked numerous retellings through time, starting with the queen of the romantic adventure, Jane Austen. As you can see, true love transcends time and genres!


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It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen has inspired legions of books and movies, with this classic seeming to have no end to the reimaginings.



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Orphaned Jane and her beloved Edward Rochester have inspired many readers...and authors. These writers just had to let their adaptations out of the attic.



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"Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad!" Well, these adaptations of Cathy and Heathcliff's story will surely do just that.



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Of course, only one woman's foot can squeeze into that glass slipper, and yet lots of fictional characters have walked in Cinderella's fancy kicks.



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Authors just can't resist this extreme version of the idea that opposites attract. You could say it's a tale as old as time.



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Comments Showing 1-50 of 69 (69 new)


message 1: by Marina (new)

Marina For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!


message 2: by DuhOrio (new)

DuhOrio You guys are sleeping on Bettie Sharpe's Ember . This novella is an "erotic retelling" of Cinderella. If Cinderella was a witch, Prince Charming was cursed, her stepmother and stepsisters were courtesans. Give this one a try if you enjoy a little bit of Brother Grim vibes and some steamy scenes.


message 3: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Another good Cinderella retelling is An Offer From a Gentleman. I am loving this series!


message 4: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ The Shape of Water has some elements of the Beauty and the Beast theme, combined with a little mythology. I found it to be very weird and wonderful.


message 5: by Aaliyah (new)

Aaliyah Entreat me by Grace Draven is an great retelling of Beauty and the Beast.


message 6: by faith ✨ (last edited Feb 11, 2019 02:42PM) (new)

faith ✨ My Plain Jane / Geekerella are definitely really fun


message 7: by Ana Paula (new)

Ana Paula Noelle Adams has a book called Chasing Jane and it is lovely and good homage to Jane Austen. She is also releasing soon a series called Pemberley House which is also based on Jane Austen's novels


message 8: by Justyna (new)

Justyna Zonko I would recommend Barefoot on the Wind for those looking for a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And stories by Angela Carter for retelling of stories in general.


message 9: by Marina (last edited Feb 11, 2019 04:13PM) (new)

Marina Rupova I liked Grace Draven`s and Eloisa James`s retellings of Beauty and the Beast.


message 10: by Alessandra (new)

Alessandra I don't see how Throne of Glass is a retelling of Cinderella. Am I missing something? (Haven't read the last two books, so no spoilers!)


message 11: by Kate (new)

Kate ⚡️ LuckDragon Marina wrote: "For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!"

I was going to mention this series as well. SO. GOOD.


message 12: by Jenna (last edited Feb 12, 2019 04:31PM) (new)

Jenna Sinclair Warning: most of the books mentions are 18+, just saying.

For Beauty and the Beast, I love Beast by Judith Ivory. It was hot, it was painful (love me some angst), it was frustrating, it was a joy to read.

As for P&P I've read way more sequels and variations than is healthy (published books and otherwise). I would recommend:
1. The Pemberley Variations by Abigail Reynolds(classic). I love The Last Man in the World a tad bit more than the rest only because I'm a sucker for pain and have shed quite a few tears over this particular book.
2. Rainy Days and Sketching Mr. Darcy by Lory Lilian.
3. Haunting Mr. Darcy - A Spirited Courtship by KaraLynne Mackrory. This one was an absolute pleasure to read. It has a slight supernatural element to it but nothing over the top and it's also a clean romance.

There are many more books that I could recommend but then I fear that if I go down that slippery slope I might never find my footing again.


message 13: by Dana Al-Basha (new)

Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا I love this list!


message 14: by Louise (new)

Louise Self Marina wrote: "For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!"

Agreed!!!


message 15: by Erica (new)

Erica Moura If you like the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, there are many stories that have similar context: https://www.bustle.com/p/11-books-lik...


message 16: by Shamber (new)

Shamber Marina wrote: "For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!"

I completely agree! I love this book and series. Great retelling of Beauty and the Beast.


message 17: by Kate (last edited Feb 12, 2019 07:46AM) (new)

Kate Marina wrote: "For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!"

Yes!! Shocked to see it's not on this list!!


message 18: by Theresa (last edited Feb 12, 2019 08:27AM) (new)

Theresa Stefancik Aaliyah wrote: "Entreat me by Grace Draven is an great retelling of Beauty and the Beast."

Couldn't agree more. In fact anything by Grace Draven is first rate.
Radiance by Draven and Eidolon could certainly be considered a BATB retelling.


message 19: by Cydamarie (new)

Cydamarie Pedersen Robin McKinley's "Beauty" or "Rose Daughter" are incredible retellings of Beauty and the Beaast.


message 20: by Betty (new)

Betty Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen is one of the best fairy tale retells ever.


message 21: by Sophia (new)

Sophia So many I still need to read. Thanks for the list!


message 22: by Whitney (last edited Feb 12, 2019 09:19AM) (new)

Whitney The best Jane Eyre-inspired novel I've read is Mr. Rochester, which tells the story from his point of view and includes more of his background story such as his time in Jamaica and how he came to be wed to Bertha Mason. It also shows what happens after Jane leaves Thornfield and answers so many questions that Bronte's original novel raises.


Nitya (semi hiatus) 50 Shades night not be the best example since it was originally Twilight fanfic...

And my favorite retellings are Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries!


Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard For Beauty and the Beast retellings, you really should include both of Robin Mckinley's retellings, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast and Rose Daughter. Both are wonderful, though very different retellings of the same source material.


message 25: by Zsófi (new)

Zsófi Teleki Whitney wrote: "The best Jane Eyre-inspired novel I've read is Mr. Rochester, which tells the story from his point of view and includes more of his background story such as his time in Jamaica and ..."
Totally agree! better than Sargasso Sea


message 26: by Kyra (new)

Kyra In my opinion, Cress is the best retelling and book in the Lunar Chronicles, not Cinder.


message 27: by Julie (new)

Julie Lewis An excellent series is Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aiden.
It tells the story from Darcy's point of view.


message 28: by Yuan (new)

Yuan The Shape of Water is definitely another fairy tale version of Beauty and Beast. It traces the background that a beautiful girl falls in love with a beast. But I will say that it also imitates The Little Mermaid. And in this similar version. Human loves mermaid first.


message 29: by Me Like Reading (new)

Me Like Reading Hmmm, a new and exciting story based on a Tale As Old As Time *wink* however loosely that may be? Well, then, emulate away a la Austin Kleon and Steal Like An Artist, my good writers! 😄


message 30: by Anissa (last edited Feb 13, 2019 03:52AM) (new)

Anissa Sadly, the only Austen couple retelling I am always on the lookout for is hardly ever done and that's Anne & Capt. Wentworth. Persuasion is my forever favorite. I wish I knew what it is that makes it a less favorable story when the other Austens are retold fairly regularly. I did read one supposed modern retelling of it in the last couple of years and it was... not good. At all.

As to Cathy & Heathcliff, they were insufferable and awful enough the first time. They're couple I'd never seek out in a retelling. Never got romance and love from those two.


message 31: by Donna (new)

Donna Kyra wrote: "In my opinion, Cress is the best retelling and book in the Lunar Chronicles, not Cinder."

I flip between Cress and Winter as being my favorite books in the series.


message 32: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Stone Field by Christy Lenzi is a great retelling of Wuthering Heights


message 33: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Also both of Robin McKinley's retellings of Beauty and the Beast - Beauty and Rose Daughter. Let's also not forget that the original tale was written by Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve - the one listed above by de Beaumont is in fact a retelling of the original!


message 34: by Tamara (new)

Tamara I would also like to add Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman as a wonderful retelling of Wuthering Heights.


message 35: by Brittany (new)

Brittany Cavness Marina wrote: "For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!"
Yasss, girl!


message 36: by Michelle (new)

Michelle It was so good!!!!!!!

DuhOrio wrote: "You guys are sleeping on Bettie Sharpe's Ember . This novella is an "erotic retelling" of Cinderella. If Cinderella was a witch, Prince Charming was cursed, her stepmother and steps..."


message 37: by Rouan (new)

Rouan Cydamarie wrote: "Robin McKinley's "Beauty" or "Rose Daughter" are incredible retellings of Beauty and the Beaast."

I completely agree with you!


message 38: by Rouan (new)

Rouan Nitya wrote: "50 Shades night not be the best example since it was originally Twilight fanfic...

And my favorite retellings are Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries!"


I agree with The Lizzie Bennett Diaries too! A modern retelling of P & P


message 39: by Viktoria (last edited Feb 13, 2019 09:31AM) (new)

Viktoria Marina wrote: "For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!"

Also, Robin McKinley's Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast Beauty A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley


message 40: by Viktoria (new)

Viktoria Marina wrote: "I liked Grace Draven`s and Eloisa James`s retellings of Beauty and the Beast."

I adore Grace Draven's books!


message 41: by Mythili (new)

Mythili Cydamarie wrote: "Robin McKinley's "Beauty" or "Rose Daughter" are incredible retellings of Beauty and the Beaast."

Thirded/Fourth'ed. How can you skip these two and include the ugh Uprooted.


message 42: by Viktoria (new)

Viktoria Anissa wrote: "Sadly, the only Austen couple retelling I am always on the lookout for is hardly ever done and that's Anne & Capt. Wentworth. Persuasion is my forever favorite. I wish I knew what it is that makes ..."

Yes, yes, YES! Anne & Wentworth <3


message 43: by Viktoria (last edited Feb 13, 2019 10:29AM) (new)

Viktoria How about other legendary couples? Any retellings you'd recommend?
Beatrice and Benedick
Lancelot and Guinevere
Tristan and Isolde The White Raven by Diana L. Paxson
Orpheus and Eurydice
Eloise and Abelard
Robin and Marian
Salim and Anarkali
etc.

I adored Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, the heartbreaking love story of Achilles and Patroclus. Can anyone suggest other non-hetero-cis retellings?


message 44: by Alisha (new)

Alisha Andrews Marina wrote: "For Beauty and the Beast another AMAZING option is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! One of my favorite series of all time, and a bonus of Fantasy!"

I just saw this post and i totally agree that A Court of Thorns and Roses gives of a Beauty and the beast vibe.


message 45: by Taylor (new)

Taylor  (Taylor Reads Books) Alessandra wrote: "I don't see how Throne of Glass is a retelling of Cinderella. Am I missing something? (Haven't read the last two books, so no spoilers!)"

I don't either and I have read them all several times. Maybe they saw "Glass" and thought glass slipper = Cinderella = Cinderella Retelling?


message 46: by Becca (new)

Becca Bradley What an amazing line up of books! Ended up adding quite a few to my TBR list. Love this post Cybil!


message 47: by julia (new)

julia e. Super excited to read all of the Cinder series (read the first one & I loved it!) & the Pride & Predjudice & Zombies one looks...morbidly interesting so I’ll defini be reading it.


message 48: by Tara (box5angel) (new)

Tara (box5angel) I love Jane Eyre. I'm definitely going to check out those retellings.


message 49: by Marella (new)

Marella Anissa wrote: "Sadly, the only Austen couple retelling I am always on the lookout for is hardly ever done and that's Anne & Capt. Wentworth. Persuasion is my forever favorite. I wish I knew what it is that makes ..."

Never fear, Goodreads is all over this topic: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...

I recommend Persuade Me by Juliet Archer. Couldn't put it down!


message 50: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Charlotte wrote: "Another good Cinderella retelling is An Offer From a Gentleman. I am loving this series!"

Yes :) I love Julia Quinn's Bridgerton Series as well!


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