Book review: Kissing the Witch



Synopsis: In Kissing the Witch, Emma Donoghue unwinds thirteen fairy tales and writes them anew: Cinderella forsakes the handsome prince and runs off with the fairy godmother, Beauty discovers the Beast behind the mask is not so very different from the face she sees in the mirror, and Snow White is awakened from slumber by the bittersweet fruit of an unnamed desire.

In these stories, Emma Donoghue reveals heroines young and old in unexpected alliances - sometimes treacherous, sometimes erotic, but always courageous. Told with luminous voices that shimmer with sensuality and truth, these age-old characters shed their antiquated cloaks to travel a seductive new landscape, radiantly transformed.

How did this book end up in my hands? I was looking for something to listen to in the car and I chose this audiobook purely based on having enjoyed every book by Emma Donoghue that I’ve read so far.

Was it a page-turner? The tales are all connected but they also stand independently and I liked this as I was looking for a format particularly suited to short car journeys. If I had had the physical copy of the book in my hands, I would have probably reached the end far more quickly.

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? Sometimes, retellings of popular stories or myths can become too complicated in an attempt to be original. It is therefore with a slight wariness that I approached this book. That was however completely unnecessary because these tales are just perfect… and it was fun trying to guess what stories they were inspired by!

Did I like the ending? [no spoilers] I didn’t want to tales to end but they had to stop somewhere and it was very well executed.

Three words to describe it. Smart. Whimsical. Feminist.

Do I like the cover? Yes, I like the cover shown on the BorrowBox app. It’s quirky and a little fairy-tailey, which is a perfect fit.

Have I read any other books by the same author? Yes, quite a few and too many to list. Slammerkin was my first one and remains my favourite to this day, together with The Sealed Letter, which I've read more recently.

Will I be recommending this book? Yes, these tales are smartly constructed and the feminist angle gives them an extra edge that makes them extremely current.

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