October 29, 2012

Book Review: The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn

Title: The Crimson Thread
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Release Date: July 5th 2012 (originally self-published June 17th 2008)

Publisher: Scholastic 
Source: Received from KIWIreviews for an honest review

The year is 1880, and Bertie, having just arrived in New York with her family, is grateful to be given work as a seamstress in the home of textile tycoon J.P. Wellington. When the Wellington family fortune is threatened, Bertie's father boasts that Bertie will save the business, that she is so skillful she can "practically spin straw into gold."

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…

My Thoughts

In this non magical retelling of the classic Rumpelstiltskin, author Suzanne Weyn has instead given the reader a story set around an immigrant Irish family, freshly arrived to the slums of 1880 New York.

While a clever idea, it is sadly mediocre in its execution.
The characters are all rather shallow and underdeveloped, making it difficult to follow the story that is mostly a narrative telling, rather than a descriptive showing.

The men in the family are all selfish and self serving, and basically abandon Bridget to work and support the two smaller O’Malley children.
Bridget or Bertie as she is come to be known, is extremely naive in her behavior, making her an unbelievable and unlikeable character.
Ray Stalls, though supposedly a critical character for the story, only makes brief appearances and is for the most part forgotten, again distorting the original role of the character until he is a mere shadow of his dastardly namesake.

Full of historical inaccuracies, (the inaccurate and exorbitant price charged for yarn - to name but one) the story is very slow to start, made all the more frustrating by the juvenile phrasing, dragging the reader along, until its abrupt and unfulfilling end.

From start to finish, The Crimson Thread is a rather flat, under whelming read that I wouldn’t recommend for anyone over the age of 13.

2 stars :|

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