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Weyn, Suzanne. The crimson thread; a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin.".

WEYN, Suzanne. The crimson thread; a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin." (Once Upon a Time.) Simon & Schuster, Pulse. 207p. c2008. 978-1-4169-5943-4. $6.99. SA *

"Rumplestiltskin" has always been my least favorite fairy tale. The miller's a liar, the daughter's a wimp, and the king has a poor grasp of acceptable courtship behavior. The only person with any semblance of integrity is Rumplestiltskin, the villain of the piece and the only one to keep his end of the bargain. Weyn redeems the tale with her retelling set in 1880. Bridget "Bertie" O'Malley has just arrived in America from Ireland with her father, three brothers, and little sister. Bertie almost immediately encounters Ray Stalls, a strange young man who seems to appear out of nowhere, at one point purchasing some crimson thread for her. Bertie soon finds work sewing in a sweatshop, but loses her job when her father and brothers get into trouble with the law. When her father changes his name from Patrick O'Malley to Rick Miller, he finds a job with a wealthy textile merchant and manages to get a job for Bertie as a seamstress. All is well until her father's gift of gab gets her into trouble, saying that Bertie could construct an elaborate gown overnight from scratch. Once again, it is Ray Stalls to the rescue, but Bertie is soon ensnared in more difficulties in a place where no one can help her.

Weyn paints a lively and informative historical portrait of New York City at the brink of the 20th century, capturing the sounds, sights, and scents of the city. The images are evocative and the plot is gripping. In addition, Ray and Bertie are both appealing characters for whom the reader cares instinctively, even when things seem to have gone horribly wrong. Supporting characters are equally well drawn and realistic, from Bertie's impulsive father to the evil "prince" of the textile industry. Libraries that carry the Once Upon a Time series should definitely pick up this title, and for libraries new to the series, this title is a good place to start. Donna Scanlon, Libn, Lancaster Cty., Marietta, PA

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.

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Author:Scanlon, Donna
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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