The Bee and the Orange Tree by Melissa Ashley

Reviewed by
December 2019, no. 417
Lisa Bennett reviews 'The Bee and the Orange Tree' by Melissa Ashley

The Bee and the Orange Tree

by Melissa Ashley

Affirm Press, $35 hb, 384 pp, 9781925712018

The Bee and the Orange Tree by Melissa Ashley

Reviewed by
December 2019, no. 417

In their earliest incarnations, fairy tales are gruesome stories riddled with murder, cannibalism, and mutilation. Written in early seventeenth-century Italy, Giambattista Basile’s Cinderella snaps her stepmother’s neck with the lid of a trunk. This motif reappears in the nineteenth-century German ‘The Juniper Tree’, but this time the stepmother wields the trunk lid, decapitating her husband’s young son. In seventeenth-century France, Charles Perrault’s Bluebeard kills his many wives because of their curiosity, while in his adaptation of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, the Queen’s appetite for eating children drives her to commit suicide out of shame. Jealous, Snow White’s stepmother (and in some versions her biological mother) wants to kill the girl and eat her innards, but is ultimately thwarted; her punishment is to dance herself to death wearing red-hot iron shoes.

Lisa Bennett reviews 'The Bee and the Orange Tree' by Melissa Ashley

The Bee and the Orange Tree

by Melissa Ashley

Affirm Press, $35 hb, 384 pp, 9781925712018

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