This book contains a number of re-tellings and re-interpretations of classic fairy-tales. Some - like 'The Bloody Chamber' (Bluebeard) or Puss-in-Boots - are directly linked to one tale, others - like the 'Lady of the House of Love' - are amalgamations of various stories (Sleeping Beauty and the vampire myth) or yet again others ('The Erl-King') seem to have nothing to do with any tale (the story has little to nothing to do with Goethe's poem of the same name).
All of them however are told in a language that shows what you can do with English. The language is sumptuous and sensuous, a feast and delight. Carter is an epicurean with words and feeds them to the reader on a silver plate. She has the knack of finding descriptions that match the mood precisely. A rare artform, now as ever.
The stories themselves are all original and often told with sly humour and innuendo. These are not fairy tales for children, but are adult camera obscuras showing a world fairy tales attempt to paint over, a world of sudden and sharp loss of innocence, a loss inevitable and predictable, but surprising and poignant nevertheless.
A must have [and if you enjoy the book, try the film 'The Company of Wolves' which is based on the story by Carter of the same name].