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Astrid V.J.'s retellings of lesser-known fairytales,
Elisabeth and Edvard's World
Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings' Tale

Winner of the 2019 Silver International Literary Classics Book Award in Young Adult Fantasy and Gold Internaltional Literary Classics Book Award in Fairytales


"Fourteen-year-old Elisabeth has returned from school to see her terminally ill mother after a long absence. On her deathbed, her mother tells the girl it's not safe for her to be there. Rocked by an overwhelming sense of loss, Elisabeth feels ill-equipped to carry on without her mother's guidance. She knows she's a witch, but she fears she lacks the knowledge to use her powers. But her mother assures her she already possesses all she needs, and when the time is right she will be ready. Now with her mother gone, Elisabeth doesn't know how she'll find her way. Especially when the witches responsible for her mother's death are bent on taking over the kingdom.

Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale, by Astrid a well written and utterly charming coming-of-age tale. With excellent world-building in a realm where magic, elves, and unicorns exist, we are introduced to perfectly flawed and highly relatable characters.  In a tale replete with clever twists and a satisfying ending that will leave readers yearning for the next book in this highly engaging series, Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale is recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval." 

About  Aspiring

A coven of witches plots to overthrow a kingdom.

One brave woman stands in their way.


At her mother’s death-bed, Elisabeth learns her mother’s illness is no accident and that her own life is in danger. Evil witches are plotting to take over the kingdom of Vendale. All alone, naive, and untrained, Elisabeth’s determination is all she has to confront her mother’s murderers as she discovers love at the same time. While Richard’s behaviour sends distracting mixed messages, Elisabeth finds herself stuck in limbo: she is treated like a child but is forced to make adult decisions. Meanwhile, the witches’ plot spins a fateful web around her.

Can Elisabeth succeed in the face of insurmountable odds?

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Now also available in

audio book format

Becoming, Part 2 of the Siblings' Tale 

Leaving behind all they know, Elisabeth and her brother, Edvard, flee beyond the mountains.


Elisabeth must break the mind-link her stepmother, Olivia, has forged or else the kingdom of Vendale will fall into ruin while the love of her life becomes a puppet to the witches’ coven. In an attempt to force Elisabeth and Edvard to return, Olivia sends her magic after them, pursuing them with all the force of her power and transforming Edvard into a creature of the forest. Elisabeth succumbs to despair and Edvard sets out to find help. He meets an unexpected deliverer, with whose help the siblings embark on a journey of discovery, learning about the forest and a world they hardly knew existed.


Can Elisabeth break the mind-link? Can Edvard overcome his prejudices? For the sake of Vendale and the home they fled, brother and sister must face their demons, rise to the occasion, and discover how to defeat the witches.

Gisela's Passion

Ever since she can remember, 18-year-old Gisela Winry has wanted to dance. Her strict father sees dancing as the path to immorality, licentiousness and debauchery.

Devastated at his wrath after she secretly auditions and wins the title Harvest Queen of Ylvaton, Gisela turns to her best friend, Hilarion, who proposes a path she cannot take.

With their friendship broken, Hilarion retreats to the solace of the forest where he lets his hatred and jealousy fester.

Meanwhile, Gisela meets Vincent, a young nobleman seeking to escape his dead brother’s shadow. Will Gisela be able to uphold her family honour and get to do the one thing she’s always been passionate about? Will Vincent’s chance encounter with the lovely harvest queen from a tiny village become more meaningful than earning his father’s approval? And will Hilarion fight for the love of his life or give in to the darkness within him?

Immerse yourself in the life of the common people of Vendale in this prequel to The Siblings’ Tale. Gisela’s Passion is the retelling of a lesser-known Slavic folk tale, which is better known in its incarnation as a French ballet.

Naiya's Wish

Naiya makes a wish, but it comes with unforseen consequences, spiralling into a force of magic beyond her control. The humans in the village of Kvarn see it as a curse—The Naiad’s Curse.


Join Amina, the baker’s daughter, as she battles to rectify the wrongs of the past. When the love of her life is taken by the naiad in the local mill-pond, Amina is faced with a tough choice: let things be and raise her child alone in a man’s world, or rise to the challenge and fight for her love even if the consequences change her life forever. Is she willing to lose her family, her social standing, and her home to rescue Phillip? And what of the naiad? Will she let Phillip go?


This retelling of The Nix of the Mill-pond, a lesser-known Grimm fairy tale, will release in November of 2021 and is on pre-order for $0.99.

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Johara's Choice

Johara's Choice

A retelling of The Tinderbox (due to release fall 2022)

The Lion, the Lark and the Lady (due to release fall 2023)

Firmament (due to release fall 2024)

A two-part retelling of The Singing Soaring Lark

Down the Well (due to release 2024)

A retelling of Mother Holle

Locked in a tower with the fear of prophecy holding her parents back, Johara dreams of freedom. However, her time in confinement is spent well, researching the true state of her country. When she realises her father has ignored the importance of ancient ritual, Johara must find a way to break free and avert the gathering catastrophe, or risk the annihilation of her people and their way of life.

Haunted by the horrors of war, Erik has given up hope of ever finding anything truly worth fighting for. When a twist of fate allows his path to cross Johara's, everything changes and he begins to hope there might yet be a chance at happiness. But can he embrace life and the spitfire princess who never does as she's told, running headlong into danger at every turn? Or will he let that, too, slip through his fingers.

Embark on a magical high-stakes adventure in this retelling of Andersen's fairytale, The Tinderbox.

Releases May, 26, 2023.

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Forthcoming titles in this series

The Lion, the Lark and the Lady (due to release September 2024)

Firmament (due to release spring 2025)

A two-part retelling of The Singing Soaring Lark

Down the Well (due to release 2025/2026)

A retelling of Mother Holle

Subscribe to Astrid's newsletter to get updates on her forthcoming books and make the most of pertinent promotions associated with books in the series. Additionally, as a thank you for signing up you will receive access to The Sewing Princess, a tale from the Wordmage's Tales series that is exclusive to this newsletter and Astrid's street team. Just click on the button above to subscribe.

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