What I Read This Weekend . . .
The Rose Bride : A Retelling of "The White Bride and the Black Bride" (Once Upon a Time) by Nancy Holder -- Young Adult Fairy Tale
The Crimson Thread :A Retelling of "Rumplestiltskin" (Once Upon a Time) by Suzanne Weyn -- Young Adult Fairy Tale
In 1880, Bridget O'Malley and her family arrive in New York City, land of opportunity. They have the best apartment $5 can get, which happens to be in a dirty, smelly tenement. Bridget is horrified and disgusted with New York but her father, ever the dreamer, has big dreams and plans. When her father and brothers get in trouble for fighting at work, they must seek new identities and new jobs. Posing as a Welshman named Miller, her father talks his way into a job as a coachman for the wealthy textile manufacturer J.P. Wellington. Not content with that, her father then bluffs his way to getting jobs for the rest of the family, all except the youngest two children. Bridget, now called Bertie, will work as an apprentice seamstress to the Wellington family dressmaker. Bertie's head is turned by the handsome charming James Weelington. Bertie has to juggle working with caring for her younger siblings and when life gets rough, a young vagabond who calls himself Ray Stalls is there by her side. Ray offers his help when Bertie's father once again stretches the truth about Bertie's sewing abilities and claims she can practically spin straw into gold and create the beautiful fashions the Park Avenue girls desire. Ray asks for nothing in return for his help except a kiss. Bertie refuses to sell herself so Ray demands her first born child. Bertie takes his request as a joke and they part in anger. Bertie gets caught up in a whirlwind of success but when she loses the one that's most important to her, she fears Ray has claimed his payment. Now she must discover his real name and find out where she is to get her own back. This is more of a historical fiction novel than fairy tale. The prologue and epilogue seem tacked on to make it more fairy tale. Since I love historical fiction, I enjoyed this take on the familiar tale. It's realistic for the most part and there are some great period details. There's little to no magic so don't expect a traditional take on the tale. I liked Bertie and could relate to her. I found the secondary characters were pretty much stock characters. The ending is rushed and unrealistic and that was a big turn-off for me. The book isn't as good as Water Song but I liked it.