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Fitcher's Brides (Fairy Tale Series) Hardcover – December 6, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the latest addition to the Fairy Tale Series created by Terri Windling, fantasy author Frost (Tain; Lyrec) provides a fresh and highly readable spin on the classic Bluebeard tale, setting his version in New York's Finger Lakes district during the 1830s. Charismatic preacher Elias Fitcher, the Bluebeard figure, has set up a utopian community that prays and works while awaiting the end of the world prophesied for 1843. Into this hotbed of religious fervor comes the Charter family from the nearby town of Jeckyll's Glen. The father and stepmother succumb to Fitcher's mesmerizing preaching, but it is the three daughters-Vernelia, Amy and Catherine-who listen to household spirits and end up, each in turn, marrying Fitcher, then vanishing, except for Catherine, the youngest. In order to survive, Catherine must use her wits and the understanding passed on from her sisters. Exploring such adult themes as lust, masochism and desire, Frost neatly counterbalances the underlying threads of wifely curiosity and disobedience with the growing awareness of true evil in Fitcher, the elements that have made the fairy tale such a timeless story. Some readers may want to save Windling's introduction, which traces the historical legend through its roots in folklore to the narrative of Frenchman Charles Perrault, for last, in order to enjoy the novel for its own sake.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Swept up in the Rev. Elias Fitcher's apocalyptic predictions, the Charter family moves to upstate New York to await the final days as the gatekeepers of Fitcher's mansion, Harbinger House. When Fitcher chooses Vernelia as his bride, younger sisters Amy and Kate envy her happiness until events hint at a sinister purpose behind Fitcher's marriage and an even darker secret at the heart of Harbinger House. Frost's contribution to the popular "Fairy Tale" series, created and edited by Terry Windling, takes a unique approach to the horrific tale of Bluebeard, setting a seemingly cautionary tale about the dangers of curiosity against the messianic fervor of the mid-19th century. The author of The Pure Cold Light blends dark fantasy and social commentary in an intriguing tale that belongs in most libraries. Highly recommended.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (December 6, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765301946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765301949
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,829,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on November 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
A widower, with a little help from his cold-hearted new wife, has fallen under the spell of Elias Fitcher, an apocalyptic preacher who predicts the world will end within the year. Packing up all his earthly belongings, and his three daughters--romantic Vernelia, neurotic Amy, and practical, skeptical Kate--he and his wife move to a tiny village in upstate New York to await the end of days. There, the charming, charismatic, and utterly horrifying Fitcher takes a shine to Vernelia, and sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship.

It says on the very cover that it's a Bluebeard story, so I'm not spoiling much to say that Vernelia goes mysteriously missing, and Fitcher then marries Amy. When Amy, too, vanishes, it's up to Kate to find out what has happened and stop Fitcher's horrible spree. There's a storm brewing, of course, and the plot goes from atmospherically creepy to nail-biting as the storm rises to fever-pitch. I could have sworn I heard thunder when I discovered Kate's middle name, when she stood up to him as no one had previously done, when she raced against time to stop him from adding her to his collection. Does she survive? Read and see.

Gregory Frost here gives us an unforgettable rendition of one of our darkest fairy tales, a heroine to root for, and a truly terrifying villain. An added bonus is Terri Windling's introduction. Her introductions are always a treat, but she's getting even better, as evidenced first by the fascinating one for White as Snow, and now by the essay she wrote for this novel. She points out, most interestingly, that Perrault's famous version blames Bluebeard's murders on his wives' curiosity and disobedience, but that the older version give us heroines, like Kate, who save themselves by their willingness to question authority and look for answers.
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Format: Hardcover
The Bluebeard legend sliced, diced and transplanted to the 19th century in the "burned-over land," that section of upstate New York from which were born the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and other modern religious cults. Frost takes this somewhat forbidding fantasy landscape to the edge of gothic horror for a tale that is really about female empowerment: how long will we suffer from monstrous evil before SOMEBODY fights back? The fight is worth the wait, and the gruesome details leading to it. Clever readers will see that Frost is using the story to analyze why it is that the intolerance and xenophobic hatred that powers the mindless fanaticism of an era that, for all its historical trappings, seems curiously contemporary. For fans of Frost's short but very accomplished body of work, this novel is a definite joy. Frost is writing at the peak of his powers: literate, intelligent fantasy doesn't get much better than this.
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Format: Hardcover
Terri Windling's Fairy Tale Series never disappoints. Author Frost here creates a vivid and accurate, if bleakly creepy milieu for his take on Bluebeard. The millennial fervor of mid-19th century America is fascinating in itself and Frost elucidates as he entertains. His characterizations are apt, although I was at first discomifited by his descriptions of the sexual de-flowering of his three protagonists; eventually, it all fits and is entirely appropriate. The story of Bluebeard has always been an ugly for me and it's no less so in this re-telling. Some very engaging and aptly retro prose.
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Format: Paperback
This amazing story is based on "Bluebeard" and "Fitcher's Bird", two dark fairy tales that teach the reader about the most evil sides of human nature.

The story here centers around three sisters who live with a harsh stepmother and extremely gullible father, both of whom have fallen under the spell of an evangelistic preacher and obey his every word. When the preacher, Reverend Fitcher, claims that the world will soon end, the three unhappy sisters are forced to move with their family to a new home in a secluded town where, according to Fitcher, they will all await the end of the world together. For a while, things seem to go well: the sisters adjust to their new life and begin to appreciate the seemingly peaceful community that Fitcher has created. Then one night, Fitcher announces at a community meeting that he wishes to marry and he chooses Vern, the eldest of the sisters, for his wife. Vern's parents are thrilled at the honor, of course, so the arrangements are hastily made and the marriage takes place shortly afterward. At first, Fitcher seems to honor and trust Vern; he gives her a ring of keys to every room in the house and tells her she may enter all except one: the room in the attic. For a while she resists the temptation, until her husband's strange behavior prompts her to take matters into her own hands and explore the forbidden room. There, she discovers her husband's true nature, horrors beyond her worst nightmares...and her own terrifying fate.

Reading this incredible story was like looking into the deepest part of evil's black heart; it is the most unbelievable book I've ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone that loves retold fairy tales and/or horror stories. Be warned, though: if you don't usually read horror books, I don't recommend you start with this one. It is incredibly dark and, love it or hate it, it will haunt you for the rest of your life.
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