Hammer & Birch

Fine-quality fantasy & science fiction stories.

The Way Through the Woods: Four Fairy Tales

by Jocelyn Koehler


Magical, classic fairy tales with something a little shadowy to keep you up at night.

The mythical land of the Nine Kingdoms lies far beyond our world, and perilously close to the borders of Faerie. Touching every kingdom, a vast forest holds secrets, marvels, and tales almost too strange to believe. The Way Through the Woods chronicles the first four of these stories, each a fairy tale less familiar than the ones you might remember.

In Ashes, Ashes a forlorn maid known simply as Cindrelle toils like a servant on her family estate. She is given a glimmer of hope for deliverance from her plight when an invitation to the Harvest Ball arrives. She has but three nights to find her freedom and win the prince's heart. But who is the prince? Is the dark mystery surrounding him worth her devotion?

A king once had seven sons, and one daughter. The new Queen works her will to destroy the family, first by turning the sons into swans and then driving the daughter into the vast forest where danger always lurks. But fair Elise is determined to free her brothers. An encounter with the Faerie Queen gives her the clue to break the spell...if only she can keep silent while she weaves seven shirts of Nettles. Fate, however, conspires against her.

When winter comes to the Nine Kingdoms, it brings change to the lives of two sisters, each irreparably scarred by the "gifts" of three dwarfs in the wood. In Silence and In Shadow tells of the sisters' quest to end the curse. But to do so, they must trust two strangers: an inquisitive village priest and a blind man on a quest of his own.

In The Green Frog, the spoiled princess Una has everything she could desire. But when she drops her newest toy into the palace pond, a disgusting frog offers to get it back...for a price. She thinks it will be easy to get out of the frog's ridiculous bargain, only to discover that breaking a promise has a higher cost than she ever imagined. Exiled into the dark forest that spreads throughout the Kingdoms, Una must first learn to survive before she can find a way out.

Inspired by classic fairy tales, these stories give a new twist to tradition.

About the Author

Jocelyn Koehler grew up in the wilds of Wisconsin, but now lives in a tiny house in Philadelphia that is filled with books, tea things, and places to read, sleep and write. She has worked as a librarian, bookseller, editor, archivist, cubicle drone, popcorn popper, and music store clerk. While early exposure to Disneyland sparked her interest in fairy tales, it was the discovery of the original Grimm stories and other folktales from around the world that captured her imagination.

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