Red’s Untold Tale, written by Wendy Toliver and published in 2015, continues the story of Red Riding Hood previously established in the television series Once Upon a Time.
Toliver’s novel takes place in the Enchanted Forest before the Evil Queen’s casting of the Dark Curse transports everyone to the Land Without Magic. It moreover takes place before Red Riding Hood’s backstory episode “Red-Handed” in the television series. Because of this, we see Red’s original persona (as opposed to Ruby, her cursed persona) before she learns that she is the wolf.
The above clip from “Red-Handed” finds Red’s grandmother, appropriately called Granny, feverishly searching for Red with Snow White. Granny is a former werewolf and has never told Red that she is one as well. Red goes out without her red cloak, which stops her from transforming, and ultimately kills her boyfriend, Peter, during a transformation one night.
Toliver’s novel provides backstory for Red and Peter’s relationship, which the series didn’t necessarily have time to flesh out. It further offers more details about the enchantment of Red’s red cloak, and even further expounds on Red’s gold necklace that she wears in the series.
The novel introduces a new Wizard, Knubbin, to the Once Upon a Time universe. He is revealed to be the practitioner Granny enlisted to charm Red’s cloak, which is nice as it shows some variety among the wizards in the universe since Rumplestiltskin remains the most common wizard throughout the series and its affiliate media.
The only letdown in the book lies in the journey on which Red discusses wanting to embark throughout the novel. She wishes to visit Lake Nostos, a location from the series, and despite the journey sounding like a grand adventure, we ultimately never see it happen in the novel. A sequel to Red’s Untold Tale would have been perfect to show us this journey.
Years after the book’s events, Red realizes she is bisexual and falls in love with Dorothy (yes, the one from Oz). The following clip shows their romance coming full circle, with Red waking Dorothy from a sleeping curse with true love’s kiss:
Overall, Toliver does an amazing job working with a previously-established canon and giving new information about a fan-favorite character. Her insight and development regarding Red – and even Granny and Peter – makes watching the series that much more fun.
Have you read Red’s Untold Tale? Comment below and tweet us @Fuzzable with your love for everything Red Riding Hood and Wendy Toliver!