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Book Review: The Collected Enchantments by Theodora Goss
The Collected Enchantments, (publication date-February 14th, 2023) by Theodora Goss, is a book filled with magic. Goss has paired previously published stories and poems with never-before-seen works to create a must-read collection of fantasy and fairy tales.
Goss begins her collection with an introduction titled “Why I Write Fantasy”, sharing her experience as an immigrant child born behind the Iron Curtain in Budapest, Hungary, a land rich in fairy tales. Goss attributes her love of fantasy literature to her liminal existence between two homes and reveals that she dreamed of becoming a writer, or a sorceress, when she grew up. The introduction perfectly prepares readers for the enchantments they will find in the book’s pages.
The Collected Enchantments is rich with fairy tale retellings in prose and verse form. Classic stories include “Conversations with the Sea Witch”, which moves “The Little Mermaid” beyond its happily-ever-after, and “The Rose in Twelve Petals”, a retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” presented through the perspective of twelve different characters. Goss’s poems explore tales like “Cinderella”, “Goldilocks”, and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”, and engage with legends and myths in works such as “Tam Lin Remembers the Fairy Queen” and “Medusa Gets a Haircut”. Her stories feature mothers who turn into birds and fly away, men who are ravens, a princess who is the daughter of the moon, and oak trees which bend down to take your hands as you travel through the forest. Each image creates a lasting mark in the reader’s mind.
Fantasy poignantly collides with reality in stories and poems that confront death like “In the Forest of Forgetting” and “Rose Child”. In other poems, women and poets are transformed into harps, and daughters learn of mothers who dance to bring in the seasons of winter and spring. Goss explores the benefits of a magical education where former fairy tale princesses and witch girls learn “how to turn a poem into a spell”, and one of my favorite poems, “Seven Shoes”, uses the fairy tale task of wearing through seven pairs of shoes as a metaphor for becoming a writer. In her introduction, Goss reveals that it “took a long time...to become a writer. I’m still working on the sorceress part.” Her beautiful collection, part writing and part magic, proves that she has become both.
The Collected Enchantments is an essential read for all who love fairy tales, fantasy, witchcraft, and magic. Goss uses stunning images and beautiful words to cast a spell over her readers. The book is sure to become a favorite in every fantasy reader’s collection.
You can pre-order the e-book edition here.
Thank you to Edelweiss + for a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.
Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books. She is also The Fairy Tale Magazine's special project’s writer.