Good Minds Suggest: Tessa Gratton's Five Favorite Retellings

Posted by Goodreads on February 26, 2018
Tessa Gratton

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In a new twist on Shakespeare's King Lear, The Queens of Innis Lear takes readers into a fantasy world where the erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its magic, leaving behind barren crops and despondent subjects. As the nation's enemies circle, the king declares that he'll leave the naming of his successor to the whims of prophecy. Not content with that plan, the king's three daughters intervene and battle one another for power.

Tessa Gratton is the author of the Blood Journals young adult duology, Gods of New Asgard YA series, and two books on writing fantasy for teens. She's lived all over the world before returning to her prairie roots in Kansas with her wife. The Queens of Innis Lear is her debut adult fantasy novel.

In honor of Gratton's Shakespearean influences, Goodreads asked her to recommend five more great reads inspired by earlier work. "Here are my five favorite retellings that dig into their source material in exciting ways," she says.

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"This book does what every good retelling should: open the reader to new interpretations of the source material. Caine imagines a Verona that is filled with violence and imbues her teenage characters with the strengths and weaknesses that would come from growing up in such an environment. I can't think about the children of the Montagues and Capulets in the same way anymore."


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"A modern Caribbean retelling of King Lear, this novel elegantly pushes at the power dynamics and interpersonal conflict that define the play, but most importantly puts love at the center, which always feels missing from Shakespeare's version."


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"Ophelia is the star of this YA Hamlet retelling, filled with Shakespeare-worthy imagery and language, but the story—the tragedy—is more hauntingly presented as Ophelia loves, loses, and tries to exist in the spaces between reality and madness."


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"A lush, magical novel that reweaves a West African folk tale with Caribbean folklore elements, Redemption
is the perfect kind of re-readable book that reveals more every time you begin again at the beginning (or is it the beginning?)."


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"I adore all of Simone's work, but this novel, the first in a trilogy, is a wild, steamy romance that takes the central relationship of Arthurian Legend—Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot—and sets it in the White House as a polyamorous relationship between the president, vice president, and first lady. The dynamic between them lets Simone cut so deep into the political nature of love and sex and power."


Want more book recommendations from authors? Check out our Good Minds Suggest series.

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Samantha (new)

Samantha These all sound great! Wonderful post.


message 2: by Jon (new)

Jon Davis In addition to these, I can't recommend Christopher Moore's Fool and The Serpent of Venice enough. Join Pocket on a romp through King Lear, Merchant of Venice, Othello and moore, er, more (sorry, accident; couldn't be helped).


message 3: by Parker (new)

Parker I also recommend Robin McKinley's Spindle's End, Rose Daughter, Beauty, and Deerskin (Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast (twice!) and Donkeyskin). Although they're for young(er) readers, I discovered them as an adult and thoroughly enjoyed them.


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Towers The cover design appears to be a "retelling" of the cover designs for the Game of Thrones books. ;)

Tessa's book does sound intriguing though.


message 5: by Erika (new)

Erika Hayes Look like books I need to read


Sam Still Reading Great post! I love to read retellings of classic stories and I hadn't heard of some of these.

Any other recs, fellow Goodreaders? I've enjoyed The Austen Project and the Hogarth Shakespeare retellings.


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