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The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" (Once upon a Time) Mass Market Paperback – June 17, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Suzanne Weyn has written more than 100 novels for children and young adults and has had her work featured on the New York Times bestseller list. Her books in the Once upon a Time series include The Crimson Thread and The Night Dance among others.  Another contribution to the Pulse line is her Romantic Comedy, South Beach Sizzle. Suzanne lives in Putnam Valley, NY.s
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Once upon a Time
  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (June 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781416959434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416959434
  • ASIN: 1416959432
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Huston on October 31, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes, to give myself a bit of a breather, I take in those fondly remembered times of my childhood, when fairy tales became nearly believable, and there was always a touch of enchantment that just might happen. And happily, most of the time, I find those old, old tales to be just the thing to lift me out of a funk.

One collection that has gained in popularity over the last few years has been an ongoing series of books from Simon & Schuster, under the title of Once Upon a Time... Rewritten for modern young adult audiences, these take traditional favourites, and give them a new spin or two, updating the characters, setting or action.

This time the choice was a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, titled The Crimson Thread. The setting is almost the modern world, nineteenth century New York City, in the slums where newly arrived immigrants learn the hard way that the streets are not always paved with gold. For Bridget O'Malley, ever since her mother has died, and famine has stalked Ireland, she has tried to mother her family, taking care of both her father and her siblings. But in spite of all of the hardships, she still has her dreams of success. But mixed in with all of the hope, there are some obstacles to overcome -- most notably the prejudice that many have towards the newly arrived Irish.

A stranger, Ray Stalls, turns out to be very helpful, befriending Bridget -- now calling herself Bertie Miller to be more acceptable -- with small presents, and almost courting her in his charming way. When the opportunity comes to work as a dressmaker's assistant, Bertie finds herself making an outlandish deal with Ray for his help in crafting a sumptuous ball gown for a wealthy merchant's daughter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Connie & Angie L on May 31, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Crimson Thread is a retelling of Rumplestiltskin, written by Suzanne Weyn, in the Once Upon a Time series published by Simon Pulse. (I would have given it 3.5 stars if I could.)

I personally love this series. I'm behind a few, but I absolutely adore retold fairy tales. I still have fun watching old Disney movies. I just love the whole fairy-tale genre, to tell you the truth. From the sweeter and romantic to the darker and magical, to all variations in between. Honestly. Lol.

Anyway, my favorites in the Once Upon a Time series are The Storyteller's Daughter (Cameron Dokey), Snow (Tracy Lynn), and The Rose Bride (Nancy Holder) - but I love them all in varying degrees.

The Crimson Thread takes the tale of Rumplestiltskin (one of the creepier stories for me as a kid, I'd say) and twists it into a story of an Irish immigrant family in New York in 1880. The main character's name is Bridget (though so not to confuse you if you read the back of the book, she changes her name to the more Americanized Bertie) and her family realizes before long that employers aren't welcoming the Irish too happily. In order to make ends meet, Bridget takes a job as a seamstress for a tycoon's family. And when, after her father's reckless boasting, she is tasked with creating beautiful gowns to help save her employer's business - the enigmatic, mysterious Ray Stalls (who also lives in the more down-trodden area her family resides) helps her do so with an old spinning wheel. But what will be his price?

Okay, so you already know that I enjoy fairy tales - but this, like Suzanne Weyn's other Once Upon a Time offerings, takes a lot of elements of a different, real-world time period and incorporates an almost too realistic setting to an old, creepy fantasy tale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on December 9, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Bridget O'Malley never anticipated that making a living in New York City as an Irish immigrant would be so hard. Her family is struggling to stay afloat, and consider themselves lucky for the jobs they do have working in J.P. Wellington's household, even if they do have to change their names to avoid persecution.

Bridget, now Bertie Miller, is a seamstress, and her father and brother are coachmen. But when it looks as if the Wellingtons' business may be in jeopardy, along with the Millers' jobs, Bertie's father tells outrageous lies of Bertie's abilities to turn ordinary fabric into shimmering and fashionable dresses. Bertie is in a state of despair when the mysterious Ray Stalls offers his assistance...and manages to do what Bertie's father claimed. Soon Bertie finds herself caught up between her debt and obligation to Ray, and her one chance to ascend the social ladder and become successful and prosperous.

The Crimson Thread is a sweet and whimsical retelling of Rumpelstilstskin that turns the old tale around completely. It reads more like a historical fiction novel than a fairy tale, and gives a fairly accurate depiction of life for Irish immigrants in New York City along the way, with a dash of the glitz and glamour of the life of the obscenely rich. The pacing of the book is slightly slow at the beginning, but then evens out quickly, making this regrettably short read fly by. The characters are engaging and varied and the magical elements are very light--so much so that it allows readers to speculate as to whether there is any magic at all--but Weyn doesn't divulge any secrets. She manages to create an air of improbability within the story, mirroring Bertie's own uncertain circumstances, which leaves the reader to always wonder what will happen next. But Weyn doesn't disappoint and, through some clever wordplay and neat plotting, brings the story together in a romantic and satisfying end.
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