Tangleweed and Brine

Tangleweed and Brine

By Author / Illustrator

Deirdre Sullivan


Fairy Tales & Folk Tales

Age range(s)



Little Island




Paperback / softback




Paperback edition of bestselling book from 2017, with a bonus story in this edition. A collection of 13 dark, feminist retellings of traditional fairytales from one of Ireland's leading writers for young people. In the tradition of Angela Carter, stories such as Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin are given a witchy makeover, not for the faint-hearted. Intricately illustrated with black and white line drawings, in the style of Aubrey Beardsley, by a new Irish illustrator.



Tangleweed and Brine is a collection of fairy tales but not as most people would recognise them. Retold without the usual happy endings, these stories have a dark and bewitching air with the females taking a lead and following paths quite contrary from the traditional tales.

Written almost in staccato prose, I must admit it took me a while to get used to the style but I was soon hooked by the tales and mysterious happenings. Some of the original tales are easier to spot than others but I think readers will love working out which story they relate to and the twists that result in a very different outcome. The females in the stories are strong, determined and decisive, making a pleasant change from the princesses of old.

I must add that the book is full of detailed, patterned, black and white ink illustrations that only add to the macabre and mysterious feel of the book. I looked forward to turning a page in the hope of finding the next one and would like more books to be illustrated in this way.

180 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian.

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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