This series is heavily inspired by fairy/folk tales – Source tales are in parenthesis after the book title. Fairy tale names are linked to SurLaLune: SurLaLune Fairy Tales features 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations.
In addition, some stories have elements of the Icelandic Sagas, which can be read in multiple languages at the Iceland Saga Database.
Minor spoilers are included in the descriptions below, as they are necessary in order to explain certain plot elements.
- Through the Woods (gender-swapped “Little Red Riding Hood” with a witch standing in for the wolf)–in progress
- Out of the Ashes (first half of “The Wonderful Birch“)
- By Bone and Skin (second half of “The Wonderful Birch” combined with “The Ugly Duckling“)–in progress
- Beyond Her Dreams (“Sleeping Beauty“)–in progress
CW: The Beneath the Birch Tree Saga contains adult themes. Although there is no modern swearing and no explicit sex, the series does contain implied sex, mentions of seeing or watching people having sex, and some mentions of the existence of prostitution and concubines (thralls/slaves), but they are not graphic scenes and it is not the focus of the series, it’s mostly done in passing to explain relationships. There are some scenes of unwanted sexual contact (hand-holding, hugging, and kissing) but it’s highly contextual and not viewed as a positive thing within the story itself.
There is a recurring theme of toxic parenting, and an abusive parent (the stepmother/witch character) — her primary form of abuse is psychological/emotional, with some physical abuse. This is a predominant thematic in the series.
It’s a warrior society so there is some violence implied/shown in the form of swordfighting and similar. As it’s also a farming society, there is mention of killing animals for food. None of this violence is gratuitous or graphic.
There is one instance of animal abuse (yes, the dog dies) in Out of the Ashes, but it is not overly graphic, and it is contextual.