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Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Six fairytales you thought you knew, set against a tapestry of historical backgrounds.

A lonely girl plots revenge in the shadow of a mountain. A stolen princess fumbles a century backward. A dwarfish man crafts brilliant automatons. A Polish Jew strikes matches against the Nazis. A dead girl haunts a crystal lake. A terrified princess searches a labyrinth. A rich collect
Kindle Edition, 476 pages
Published November 30th 2016
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Deborah O'Carroll And if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app to read it on a computer or phone. :)

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Oct 24, 2016 marked it as my-books  ·  (Review from the author)
And here's the big secret project I've been hinting at for a while! My contribution is The Mountain of the Wolf, a suspenseful Western take on "Little Red Riding Hood" filled with secrets, outlaws, wild horses, mountain storms and revenge. And having read the other five stories in this collection, I can tell you you're not going to want to miss any of them!
Oct 24, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Well, look at this! I'm so excited to share this book with you all! My story is "With Blossoms Gold," a retelling of Rapunzel set in a fictional Italian kingdom during the Renaissance. The other five stories are all written by wonderful, talented authors with great historical twists on classic fairytales. Coming December 2, 2016.
Oct 24, 2016 marked it as my-books  ·  (Review from the author)
So excited about this project! Six indie authors, including myself, have banded together to bring you six enchanting new fairytale retellings set in six wildly different historical settings!

My contribution will be Death Be Not Proud, a fast-paced suspense thriller written in homage to Mary Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock, set in Jazz Age New Zealand. Coming December 2!
Take a look at that gorgeous cover! It’s divine! ^_^ Dive into this new collection of fairy tale retellings to find history, dystopian worlds, time-travel excitement, western danger, suspense, and of course, romance!


The Mountain of the Wolf by Elisabeth Grace Foley. A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, this western historical tale was one I quite enjoyed. It’s non-magical, and set in the mountains were outlaws lurk and herds of wild horses roam free.
The writing style is akin to the style of
Oct 24, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books
I was so excited when Suzannah Rowntree and Elisabeth Grace Foley asked if I'd consider writing a retelling for their fairy tale boxset. Little old me alongside authors like Rowntree and Foley, Rachel Heffington, J. Grace Pennington, and Hayden Wand?!! I'm honored to be a part of this exciting adventure!

My story, Sweet Remembrance, is a WWII retelling of The Little Matchgirl set in the Warsaw ghetto. So, yes, it's sad by nature. But there's young love, courage, resistance, hope, and music weaved
Deborah O'Carroll
(Review originally posted on The Road of a Writer:

Overall rating for the collection: 4 stars

Six interesting retellings of six different fairytales by six skilled authors. I found each of these to be unique and very well written, although each of them are quite different from each other, and I enjoyed some more than others. Overall, a quite good collection of tales! Here are my thoughts on each.

(I received a free e-ARC copy of this collection from the aut
Serethiel ☽ ✨
(Note: I received a free copy of Once in exchange for my honest review.)

The Mountain of the Wolf by Elisabeth Grace Foley -- one star

Elisabeth's story is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling set in the old west, following the mysterious history behind a lonely young woman named Rosa Jean.

I hate giving any book a one-star review, particularly the first in a collection. Though the writing style was good, it was a little too descriptive for my taste, and I just didn't love it. I also wasn't particul
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I dove into this book with mixed feelings. On the one hand I was quite excited to read Elisabeth Grace Foley's story that I had been eagerly awaiting for many months.

On the other hand, I tend to gravitate towards old books whenever I'm looking for fiction to read. And thought there are a handful of modern authors I enjoy tremendously, I tend to shy away from most modern fiction...
On top of that, modern "retellings" are not a favorite of mine either, and I tend to be very wary of them. The rea
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this collection of novellas. Favorites were "The Mountain of the Wolf" and "Rumpled", though I enjoyed all but one. I skipped the last part of "She But Sleepeth" - just didn't like the characters at all. The rest were enjoyable, with only a few minor editing issues in one or two. I especially liked how "The Mountain of the Wolf" and "Death Be Not Proud" redid their fairy tales - subtle, but with lots of little clues once you thought to look for them.
This was one of those rare books one comes into expecting good stuff and gets more. I had read Elisabeth Grace Foley's LRRH/Western mash-up The Mountain of the Wolf prior, had liked it, went to look for more from her, came across this anthology, and found a new favourite story from a writer I already knew plus met a new author whom I like.

The anthology isn't a typical assortment of short stories but a collection of six novellas by six different authors that have a couple of characteristics in co
Overall rating: 2.5 stars

Overall thoughts: Let me just say, I'm just not good with fantasy reads, which is why I struggled finishing a couple of these novellas. But it never hurts to try and I'm still glad I read some of these fairytale re-tellings.

The Mountain of the Wolf (Elisabeth Grace Foley)--4 stars
I really enjoyed this short western. The writing style and characters were all intriguing. The intensity at the end kept me reading with deep interest and I loved the grand finale. The only dow
H.S.J. Williams
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
Overall, an excellent collection!! I was so excited to read this set of stories and I was not disappointed!

The Mountain of the Wolf--5 stars--This western completely transported me back to that rugged time era and I eagerly rode alongside our hero and heroine to unravel a mystery and see justice done. Buuuuut.....for the life of me, once I was done, I had *noooo* idea which fairytale I had just read a retelling of. It wasn't till a few hours later that I was like, "OH.....duh....the answer is i
Tricia Mingerink
I enjoyed this boxed set of novellas. Most of them aren't my normal reading fair (which leans toward more fantastical fairy tale retellings that usually have happy endings), but I still enjoyed them.

If you're looking for explicitly Christian content, only the last story in this boxed set is that. If you're looking for all happy endings, this boxed set isn't that either.

But, the writing is excellent, and the stories range from heart wrenching to adorable.

Due to my reading tastes, I think Rumpl
I've been interested in reading this collection for a while, and a few months ago when it was on a discount price I snatched a copy. I finally found time to sit down and read it, and in effort to provide good feedback, I'll review each story separately.

The Mountain of the Wolf by Elizabeth Grace Foley
-- two stars

As a disclaimer, I mostly skimmed through this one. The Wild West isn’t my favorite aesthetic and setting to begin with, and I found this story rather slow and dull. The characters didn’
Meredith Burton
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have devoured countless fairy tale retellings, for no other type of story so eloquently illustrates the universal struggles of good and evil. Once is a bountiful buffet of rich, diverse retellings of well-known tales. Yet, despite the familiarity of such stories as Snow White, Little Red Riding-Hood, Rapunzel and others, each author has brought a unique spin that's original and enthralling. I expected it would take several days for me to read six novellas, but I could not put the book down. Be ...more
Katie  Hanna
I'll be updating these as I go along.

Mountain of the Wolf--3 stars. The action-to-dialogue ratio was too heavy for me (y'all know how I am about action scenes blehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh), but the romance was VERY sweet and I enjoyed it. <333

She But Sleepeth--2 stars. *scratches head* I don't get it.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The idea behind "Once" is pretty genius: six authors who enjoy writing historical fiction and fantasy band together to self-publish a collection of fairy tale retellings in various historical (and imaginary) settings. And if you like fairy tale retellings, or are already a fan of any of these authors, you're most likely going to enjoy this collection.

"The Mountain of the Wolf" by Elisabeth Grace Foley is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. A handsome stranger meets a lonely woman liv
I loved this collection so much! If it's not already on your bookshelf or your Kindle, you need to add this one right away! I'd highly recommend for any fairy tale enthusiast! We've got fantastic retellings for Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rumplestiltskin, The Little Match Girl, Snow White, and Rapunzel. Truthfully, I was really excited to see some of the lesser-known fairy tales instead of the usual two or three that everyone ends up retelling. Just a pleasant change.

The Mountain o
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Mountain of the Wolf"-5 stars. I really, really loved this one. It was beautifully written, exciting, dangerous, and thrilling. Plus, I loved Quincy. What can I say? I have a soft spot for cowboys, and he was certainly a fantastic character. ;)

"She But Sleepeth"-3.5 stars. Though I don't usually like modern stories, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. The time travel aspect probably helped. ;) The writing was fresh and witty, and the characters quite lovable. I'm only giving it 3.5 stars though
Fairytale retellings have quickly become a favorite of mine. For many of these stories it’s my first exposure to the fairytale, but I love them and the themes that always seem to be intricately woven into their very structure. When I learned my favorite indie authors were collaborating to release a collection of retellings together, I was ecstatic. And then I was given the opportunity to read them in exchange for a review. Cue happy dance.

The Mountain of the Wolf by Elisabeth Grace Foley starts
May 12, 2020 marked it as to-read
This is currently free on Amazon Kindle --- 06/17/2020
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-books
Actual rating: 4.5

I don't know when I've gotten more genuine enjoyment out of a book. It's bumped my opinion of anthologies, novellas, and fairy-tale retellings even higher than it already was. I'll give each story an individual review.

The Mountain of the Wolf (Foley) - A good word to describe this story, I think, is bleak. Well-written, filled with interesting and believable characters, but bleak all the same. Even for a serious western. 4 stars.

She But Sleepeth (Heffington) - DNF because of al
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Well now! I am quite impressed with the imaginations of these six authors to take well known fairytales and spin them so differently, yet keep enough of the familiar so that one recognizes the basic storyline. I've seen each of them around the web and was thrilled to finally get a chance to taste a bit of their writing. Let me just say that I will definitely be checking out more from each of them. (Also, can I mention that I loved Rachel Heffington's preface? It set the stage so perfectly for me ...more
Ness Kingsley
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
this book/boxset/anthology was placed into my paws for free, the only unspoken condition being that I should be honest in my review. This is my review. It has honesty. I rate it at three-and-half-to-four-let's-call-it-three-point-seven-five-stars

The Mountain of the Wolf by Elisabeth Grace Foley confused me at first. I didn't know which fairytale it was inspired by and so assumed that it was an obscure German one. (It wasn't.) Despite the fact that Westerns aren't always my cup of tea, this grew
Andrew Lacey
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I found ONCE to be collection of wonderfully imaginative and original, fairy-tales retold. The stories are all well put together and are intensely gripping. For me, the diversity of the different stories in the collection was probably the most appealing thing. Within these six different novellas, you get a taste of western, fantasy, steampunk, history, and mystery.

My favorite was Sweet Remembrance, a re-telling of The Little Match Girl in WWII Poland. This story gives one a good glimpse of Jewis
Cela Day
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you read widely, caring less for genre boundaries than you do about discovering imaginative, well-crafted stories wherever you can find them, then I recommend this collection to you!

And if you love retold fairy tales for the sheer ingenuity of the thing - the joy of experiencing human creativity as it launches familiar themes into new genres and settings and characterizations, and explores well-traveled territory in fresh and inspiring ways - then I heartily recommend this collection to you!

Bethany Oetken
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The four stars is an overall rating, because I really loved one, but the rest.... I don't know. My favorite was "Death be not Proud". Suzannah Rowntree is one of my favorite authors, so I was looking forward to her story the most, I must admit. What I enjoyed most about hers, as it pertains to the fairytale elements, was that it didn't seem like a retelling, but a full fledged story of it's own, with little glimmers of the fairytale showing through. I felt that the first story, "The Mountain of ...more
Tirzah Eleora
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tale
Note: I do say what fairytales the stories are based on in the following review. If you'd rather not know prior to reading, stop now!

4 stars for The Mountain of the Wolf!
Beginning this story, I wasn't sure if it was quite my thing since I've never touched the Western genre, but I greatly enjoyed it! Miss Foley's writing is excellent; it pulled me into the story and kept me wanting to turn the page. The story maintains an even, easy pace for the most part, but then escalates into a suspenseful c
Therese May
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, 2016-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like retold fairytales. Simple though they might be, fairytales have power, and have moved people for centuries. As someone once said, “The old that is strong does not wither; Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” In “Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales,” six young indie authors each take a classic fairytale and give it a unique twist. The resulting collection of retold fairytale novellas (available only as an e-book, it seems) made for fantastic travelling reading on a recent journ ...more
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Elisabeth Grace Foley has been an insatiable reader and eager history buff ever since she learned to read, has been scribbling stories ever since she learned to write, and now combines those loves in writing historical fiction. Her short Western novel Left-Hand Kelly was a 2015 nominee for the Western Fictioneers’ Peacemaker Award for Best Independently-Published Western Novel, and her work has ap ...more

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“You’re dead,” Amyot said, bearing down upon Benedict.

Benedict flashed an exhausted grin. “I don’t think Death likes me,” he said breathlessly. “We keep running in to each other before deciding to go our separate ways.”
“You lied to me,” she said.

“I omitted information.” He paused. “Which may be just as deplorable.”
More quotes…