I read The Crimson Thread for my two fairy tale challenges and for the Fairy Tale Read-a-thon. I love the Once Upon a Time series and have read about half of the books in the series. I always thought Rumpelstiltskin was a creepy fairy tale and that the princess should really be mad at her father who gets her into all the trouble. Weyn's twist changed my mind a little on both accounts.
Weyn set her story in the late 1800s and her heroine is an Irish immigrant. The 1840's were a particularly bad time in Ireland and were the years of the Great Potato Famine. The year 1845 saw the failure of the potato crop, the main food source for Ireland and one of the main exports. The people starved and the population of Ireland never completely recovered. As I wrote in other posts, this was when my Irish relatives decided to move to the United States settling in Indiana and then Kentucky.
In our story, Bridget's family came over in the 1880s years after the Potato Famine, but Ireland had not yet recovered from it. Bridget O'Malley is the oldest girl and has taken over protecting and guiding her family after the death of her mother. Their father moves the family to America and they settle in New York. The family is very poor and has to live in the Five Corners, basically slums for new immigrants. Bridget's brothers and father find work at a box factory and she works as a seamstress. Her youngest brother takes care of their three year old sister, Eileen, while the others work. At the beginning of our story, a faerie queen tells us of the royal blood Bridget and Eileen have and how that will impact their story. Bridget longs for a better life and meets a young man Ray Stalls who may be able to help her on her way. After she and her siblings and father are fired, her dad changes his name and those of most of her siblings to try to be more American and less Irish. The Irish were looked down upon by other ethnic groups and American citizens, because of the English disdain and cruel treatment of the Irish throughout history. Bridget becomes Bertie and is employed as a seamstress's assistant for the Wellington family. There she falls for the young master, who flirts with her. When he makes a serious error in his father's clothing business, her father brags that Bertie can save the day by making new dresses in two days time. If Bertie succeeds she will become a part of the Wellington factory managers and possibly the family itself by her marriage to James Wellington. She is not a very good designer, but Ray is and he will help her for a price. What price is too high for James and can true love prevail?
I loved the time period of this retelling and Weyn does a fantastic job of keeping with the traditional story and then turning it completely around. I love the theme of people being more than what they appear to be, which is the true essence of fairy tales.
Favorite Character: Ray. He was loyal, intense, and caring. I won't say anymore, because I do not want to give away the story.
Favorite Quote: "She understood him now, saw him at last as he truly was: a true prince of the spirit."
This is one of my favorite retellings in this series, mainly because of the time period, but also because of the twist at the end. 5 cups of cocoa!!