Title: Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales by Valerie Paradiz
Scored a: A
A bit of non-fiction this time! This took me a while to get through and held up the book backlog, which ended in two books being read in the same night once I finished, but it wasn’t because it was a bad book. In fact, I found it eminently readable and interesting.
Summary: This book focuses on the women that the Brothers Grimm collected the stories for their famous collections from.
It was fascinating. A history of the Brothers, a history of the women who crossed into their lives to work as story think tanks (not peasants like it’s often implied they went around collecting the stories from) and even the history of Germany during their time.
Valerie Paradiz has an engaging writing style, and I found the book moved swiftly when I had a moment to read. She’d toss in all sorts of trivia while she was at it (such as the explanation during Jacob’s letters to Wilhelm that they should remain together and eschew all else that some scholars thought they might be incestuous) to the discoveries of new sources of stories. I got excited every time they discovered a new treasure trove of story-telling sisters.
It’s a damned shame these women didn’t get the credit they deserved, and I’m glad Valerie Paradiz brought them to light for me to learn about. She even tied some of it into the fairy-tales that made the brothers famous which was a pretty nice touch.
And I’m still incredibly curious to find out what it was Ferdinand Grimm did.
Definitely worth a purchase if you’re interested in this slice of history.