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Happily Ever After: Fairy-Tale Romance

Fairy tales and myths have always been a popular source of inspiration. From television shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm to movies like Enchanted, Tangled, and the latest adaptation of Cinderella, there’s something about the core elements of these stories that allows them to be easily updated or transformed. Romance novels in particular share a lot of common literary DNA with fairy tales. Not only do many fairy tales feature star-crossed lovers who find their road to happily-ever-after filled with many an unexpected pothole, but that very same classic fairy tale happily-ever-after ending—known as HEA in romance circles—is a staple requirement of any romance novel worth its salt. The fifteen romance novels listed below, all of which have drawn inspiration from the plots of fairy tales and myths, are tailor-made for any reader who needs a few more happy endings in their life.

cinder - marissa meyerCinder, by Marissa Meyer (Cinderella)
While the residents of Earth struggle with a plague sweeping the globe, in New Beijing cyborg Cinder finds her fate—as well as that of the planet itself—entangled with that of Prince Kai.

The Cinderella Deal, by Jennifer Crusie (Cinderella)
History professor Linc Blaise needs a fake fiancée fast, so he decides to turn his neighbor Daisy Flattery into the model academic wife—but what happens when the clock strikes midnight and Daisy turns back into her old self?

The Duke Is Mine, by Eloisa James (Princess and the Pea)
Tarquin, the Duke of Sconce, thought he was marrying the perfect woman—Georgiana Lytton—until he meets her sister, the impossibly imperfect Olivia.

The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Victoria Alexander (The Emperor’s New Clothes)
When she is mistaken for the Countess of Bridgewater by the denizens of Dead End, Wyoming, con artist and card sharp Ophelia Kendrake finds herself matching wits and trading quips with mayor Tyler Matthews.

a kiss to remember - teresa medeirosA Kiss to Remember, by Teresa Medeiros (Sleeping Beauty)
Unless Laura Fairleigh is married by her 21st birthday, she and her siblings will be forced to move out of Arden Manor, so when Laura stumbles across a man sleeping in the forest and awakens him with a kiss, it seems like she may have found the husband she desperately needs.

The Legendary Lord, by Valerie Bowman (Pygmalion)
In exchange for keeping mum about her un-chaperoned visit to his Scottish hunting lodge, Sarah Highgate agrees to help turn Christian Bancroft, Viscount Berkeley, into the most sought after bachelor in the ton.

Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase (Beauty and the Beast)
While trying to save her brother from falling under the influence of the Sebastian Ballister, Jessica Trent unexpectedly finds herself caught in a compromising position with the notoriously beastly rake.

My Fair Duchess, by Megan Frampton (Pygmalion)
As the newly minted Duchess of Blakesley, Genevieve desperately needs someone to teach her the ropes when it comes to being a member of nobility—but is that person really by-the-book, retired Army Captain Archibald Salisbury?

the raven prince - elizabeth hoytAn Offer from a Gentleman, by Julia Quinn (Cinderella)
Benedict Bridgerton spent three years searching for the mysterious miss with whom he shared a dance at a masquerade ball, but can housemaid Sophie Beckett really be the woman he seeks?

The Raven Prince, by Elizabeth Hoyt (Raven by the Brothers Grimm)
Widowed Anna Wren desperately needs a job. Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, desperately needs a secretary. When Anna applies for the position, it would seem both their problems are solved until Edward finds himself falling for his new employee.

Ravished, by Amanda Quick (Beauty and the Beast)
In order to thwart the thieves who are using her caves to hide their ill-gotten gains, Harriet Pomeroy hires Gideon Westbrook, the Beast of Blackthorn Hall, to help her, not expecting she would wind up marrying him instead.

A Rose in Winter, by Kathleen Woodiwiss (Beauty and the Beast)
In order to pay off her father’s gambling debts, Erienne Fleming is sold to the mysterious, masked Lord Saxton.

secrets of seduction - nicole jordanSecrets of Seduction, by Nicole Jordan (Beauty and the Beast)
Lady Skye Wilde is determined to drag the physically and emotionally scarred Earl of Hawkhurst out of his self-imposed exile, even if she has to use every seductive trick in the book in order to do so.

Thoroughly Kissed, by Kristine Grayson (Sleeping Beauty)
After spending a thousand years snoozing as the real “Sleeping Beauty,” Emma Lost awakens and decides to give life as a regular woman a try. But Emma’s new boss Michael Found knows there is something just a bit different about his latest employee.

The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane, by Elizabeth Boyle (Beauty and the Beast)
While trying to retrieve her cat from her new neighbor’s estate, Louisa Tempest finds herself becoming more and more entangled in the life of Viscount Wakefield a.k.a. “The Beast of Mayfair.”

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About the Author:

The Romance Writers of America 2002 Librarian of the Year, Charles has been reviewing romances for Booklist since 1999 and is the author of Romance Today: An A to Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance. After working for the Scottsdale Public Library System for 30 years, Charles retired and went to work for Scottsdale's independent bookstore the Poisoned Pen, where he still gets to push books but has to deal with far fewer computer questions.

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