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The Unsought Light: A Japanese Fairytale Retelling with a Gothic Twist

2 min read
The Unsought Light by K.A. Wiggins ebook rendering on dark background.

A Romeo & Juliet-style historical romantic tragedy—with a supernatural twist

Freedom. Passion. Family. Fate.

What do you do when there are no good choices left?

Promised from birth to the son of the clan lord, Hana’s only joy is gazing out over the lake beyond her window.

She dreams of floating away on the breeze like the cherry blossoms, but when an otherworldly stranger offers a chance at escape, duty and desire collide in a war that threatens to bring down her family, her clan, and her village.

Daughters don’t get to choose their fate.

But there’s one choice no one can deny her.

A gothic fairytale retelling of the ancient Japanese folktale The Maiden of Unai, this short story explores the untold perspective of the “maiden” destined for an arranged political marriage in a time and place where family fortunes mattered more than individual happiness or choice.

*Trigger warning for suicide.


Author’s Note:

Academic writing is not ordinarily known for compelling storytelling, but I have to thank an excellent Asian Studies prof at the University of British Columbia for the genesis of this story.

Given the option between an essay-format term paper and a creative alternative, I went (as usual) for the story and The Unsought Light was born.

As with many traditional folk tales and legends, the story has seen many iterations and frequently changes to suit the purposes of the teller. In this fairytale retelling, I tried to inject a hint of light into a dark and challenging tale while preserving at least a portion of its original contexts.

The draft has gone through some revision since it’s original iteration and has probably suffered from a little less historical and cultural accuracy and a little more sensationalism in the interim, but I hope you enjoy it regardless.

Not into historical/fairytale? Try my dystopian-meets-dark-fantasy series Threads of Dreams. Book 1, Blind the Eyes, is a coming-of-age adventure of a haunted outcast finding herself, her purpose, and her power in a flooded, monster-overrun future Vancouver.

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