Disparity: A Rumplestiltskin Tale, by Sonya Writes
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.]
This particular fairy tale retold, part of a series  shares some major similarities with its fellow tales. This particular story, on a few levels, tends to hit rather close to me. First I will give a brief description with the story as it is told here, and then I will explain why it hit close to home. The story itself is about 70 pages long and concerns as a king who hears a foolish bet, and has a fool-proof way to solve it that involves splitting his identity thanks to a curse that has kept him single for a long time. The king manages to reverse the curse, but at a heavy cost to his own relationship with his new wife, who hates the king and loves the king in his curse form because he is understanding and nice. Yet the monstrous looking but nice “old man” and the rather blunt-spoken and sometimes foolish king are the same man, a difficult fact for the queen to accept, for once the curse is lifted, the king has to convince his wife that her loyal friend and her husband are the same man, and to rebuild the trust again.
This is a fairy tale, and it ends happily, but it has some elements that I find deeply troubling. There is the matter of the behavior of people in authority, the fact that childhood curses can have a long influence, and that parents are not always good at keeping their children out of harm’s way as a result of their own ambitions. There are, of course, lessons about the dangers of wives trying to find emotional intimacy in other people, dividing their heart and body from each other. Ultimately, this story is about the betrayal of trust between husband and wife and between father and child, and those are areas that hit rather close to home with the problems of the division and social difficulties of our times. Here again, like the author’s other fairy tales retold, we see an example of a story that manages to capture the ethos of the original fairy tale, a story that often ends happily but also contains relevance for its time. This story certainly has that, in spades. If only our own lives could end so happily, though.
 See, for example: