The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" (Once Upon a Time)
Amazingly, in the course of one night, Bertie creates exquisite evening gowns--with the help of Ray Stalls, a man from her tenement who uses an old spinning wheel to create dresses that are woven with crimson thread and look as though they are spun with real gold. Indebted to Ray, Bertie asks how she can repay him. When Ray asks for her firstborn child, Bertie agrees, never dreaming that he is serious...
There is no magic in this fairy tale, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, one of the things I liked best about the story is that she made it work in an everyday way. They had to have their talents, rather than magic to help them along. And the setting of 1880 New York, in the industrial period when women had very few career options really worked well.
There were some things that didn’t work out for me though. Bertie falls for a guy she hardly knows, which I understand can happen but I get sick of books always having it one of two ways. Either they hate each other until they learn to love each other or it’s a love at first sight kind of story. I’m fairly certain there are other ways to make a romance novel work. I don’t want to go into all of the inaccuracies but there were quite a few I noticed. One especially is the strapless dress. The earliest mention I could find for strapless dresses was in the 1930s.
All in all it was alright. Enjoyable for the most part while I read it but didn’t live up to my expectations. Robert Carlyle has set my Rumpelstiltskin bar very, very high.
The Crimson Thread was... slightly amazing! Confusing,
eh? Well, it was boring for the first three chapters or so. Perhaps it
was the 1800's that bored me, but I wasn't that interested at first,
until the actual plot started to roll and I met up with Bridget
(Bertie), Ray Stalls (the story's Rumpelstiltskin), and other amazing
characters that sparked the book to life. When I always hear the tale
of Rumpelstiltskin, I always wondered also how he would be so willing
to help the girl to weave gold. But Suzanne Weyn twisted the story, and
this one seems more realistic and believable. It was amazing. The
ending was also very intriguing, as there's a funny way why people
named the original tale 'Rumpelstiltskin'. Amazing.
Its 1880 and the O'Malleys have just immigrated into the US from Ireland. They have high hopes for their new life in a new world and have dreams of striking it rich. Bertie is the oldest girl in her family and must take care of her younger siblings while maintaining a job just like her dad and older brothers. Bertie is grateful for getting work as a household seamstress for textile tycoon JP Wellington. But when a problem arises and the Wellington business is threatened, Bertie's dad boasts that she is such a great seamstress that she can "practically spin straw into gold."
Amazingly, Bertie is able to make the most beautiful evening gown with the help of a man named Ray Stalls, who made the dress as if it were made from gold. Grateful to Ray, Bertie asks how she can repay him. He says nothing at first, but then he asks for her first born child...
I loved this story. Rumpelstilskin is one of my favorite fairy tales and Suzanne Weyn took that tale and and gave it just the right twists to make it a truly memorable and lovable story.