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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Book Review: Magic Casements by Pamela Sherwood

Magic Casements, by Pamela Sherwood is a delightful collection of stories that echo the tropes and themes of fairy tales while still being fresh enough to feel new.

This is a solid group of stories overall, but I did have favorites, including “The Knight of the Gillyflower,” which bends the traditional ideas about what women can do. I also loved “The Magic Stove,” because it’s told from the point of view of the stove, and I love that kind of thing—anthropomorphizing is extremely appealing to me, and this stove lives a varied and useful life. My third favorite is “Nine Lives,” which journeys through time to show us how cats have a varied and remarkable (magical) connection to humans.

Sherwood also has a strong poem at the beginning of the book called “After Ever After,” which offers the reader a thoughtful focus on some of the most famous fairy tales. I also enjoyed a chapter near the end of the book called “The Story Behind the Story,” which explains how each story came to be.

I didn’t love every story, of course, because that’s the nature of such collections. “The Faun and the Fae” was sweet, and eventually, I enjoyed it, but it suffered from large paragraphs of dialogue that functioned as info dumping. “Fatal Flowers” was hard to follow, and even though I adore cats (and stories about them), “Catspaw” just left me confused and uninterested.

I think any lover of fairy tales will find at least half of the stories worth reading—but probably more. And, while there are stories I didn’t love, there isn’t a true dud in the collection. I will definitely be on the lookout for other work by Sherwood.

You can buy a Kindle copy of the book right now, and the paperback will be available on Amazon on March 30.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

Review by Kate Wolford. editor-in-chief of The Fairy Tale Magazine.


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