I love a good retelling, so much so that my entire series, The Courtships of Lancaster County, is inspired by four of Shakespeare’s plays. Becoming Bea, inspired by Much Ado About Nothing and the fourth in the series, releases this month.
Did I have any qualms about writing retellings? Not at all!
Shakespeare’s plays were all inspired by other stories. In fact, I’ve read that most of Western art originates from either the Bible or Greek myths. Shakespeare was no exception. The first written story of the ill-fated lovers who later became Romeo and Juliet goes back to 8 AD when Ovid penned the tale in his Metamorphoses, written in Latin. The oral story, however, goes back to the Greeks.
Retellings are as old as time. I compiled the following list of a few modern day ones, both in film and novels.
- 10 Things I Hate About You (film) (The Taming of the Shrew)
- Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould (novel) (Romeo and Juliet)*
- Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould (novel) (Much Ado About Nothing)*
- Brave New Girl by Louisa Luna (novel) (The Tempest)
- Clueless (film) (Emma by Jane Austen)
- Courting Cate by Leslie Gould (novel) (The Taming of the Shrew)*
- Easy A (film) (The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)
- Ever After (film) (Cinderella)
- Judge by R.H. Larson (novel) (Jonah)*
- The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson (novel) (Snow White)*
- The Lion King (film) (Hamlet)
- Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews (novel) (Job)*
- Love in a Broken Vessel by Mesu Andrews (novel) (Hosea)*
- Loves Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews (novel) (Solomon)*
- March by Geraldine Brooks (novel) (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)
- The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (novel) (Beauty and the Beast)*
- Minding Molly by Leslie Gould (novel) (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)*
- My Fair Lady (film) (Pygmalion)
- O Brother Where Art Thou (film) (Odyssey)
- The Proposal (film) (Pygmalion) (The Taming of the Shrew)
- Scotland, PA (film) (Pygmalion) (Macbeth)
- She’s the Man (film) (Pygmalion) (Twelfth Night)
- A Simple Twist of Fate (film) (Pygmalion) (Silas Marner by George Eliot)
- Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (novel) (Hosea)*
- A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (novel) (King Lear)
- Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (Greek Myth of Cupid and Psyche)
- Warm Bodies (film) (Pygmalion) (Romeo and Juliet)
- Westside Story (film) (Pygmalion) (Romeo and Juliet)
- Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (novel and Broadway play) (Oz by L. Frank Baum)
*contemporary inspirational market
I’d love to hear your favorite retellings! Please leave a comment below.
Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award winning author of 19 novels. She and her husband, Peter, live in Portland, Oregon and are the revolving-door parents of four children and the owners of three cats. Leslie loves researching church history, seeing Shakespeare plays, and traveling with her hubby, mainly on research trips. Find out more at www.lesliegould.com.