In this collection of 16 previously published and new stories, Slatter presents twisted, fractured, illuminating fairy tales and dark fantasies that beguile in their elegant simplicity. Many of the stories are reiterations of classic fairy tales from all over the world. But by retelling the tales in a more intimate manner, Slatter illuminates the symbiotic relationship between pleasure and pain. The sexually candid "Bluebeard" is an empowering tale of a whore and her daughter who best a monster. The wholly original "The Living Book" personifies the intimate act of reading, while "Skin" reworks the Gaelic legend of the selkie into a tale of revenge and redemption from the seal woman's perspective. An afterword elucidates the source material and intent behind each tale. Dark and sinister, these shorts place strong, empathetic female protagonists into harrowing, horrifying, or humble circumstances and see them triumph.