In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger…
Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?
When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.
If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.
SHONNA SLAYTON is the author of the Fairy-Tale Inheritance Series of young adult novels, beginning with Cinderella’s Dress.
She edited curriculum for an education company before homeschooling her own children using literature-based whole book learning. She’s taught writing using fairy tales in school classrooms and workshops, as well as in public libraries as a writer in residence. Instead of seeing her in person, you can get the Lessons from Grimm Series which includes a writer’s guide and workbooks for writers to learn fiction techniques through fairy tales.
Join her email list and receive a free story as a welcome gift. Be the first to learn of new books and get behind-the-scenes info you can't read anywhere else. Sign up on her website Shonna Slayton
Received from: Entangled: Teen Received Via: NetGalley.com
Why this book?
Anything Fairytalish it's for me
What I thought
Spindle is not a retelling it's Sleeping Beauty's world but in the future. This book is a little hard for me to review because i'm not really sure how I felt about the book. That being said finding Out who the fairies were and seeing how everything played out were interesting. I know I had mixed feelings on Briar sometimes I liked her sometimes she got on my nerves. I loved her relationship with Henry though. Speaking of Henry I just loved him and wished he was in more of the book. Who needed to be in less of the book was Wheeler. Overall I didn't think this was a bad book but it wasn't great either. It was an okay book that I recommend to anyone who likes the tale of The Sleeping Beauty.
In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger.
Briar Rose works in the spinning mill trying to support herself and her younger siblings but her wages have just been cut and things are not looking good. Not only is Briar in danger of losing what's left of her family but the boy she thought she would be marrying is now with someone else and her best friend Henry Prince has decided to go explore and leave Briar behind.
When a mysterious peddler offers Briar a magic spindle and a chance to increase her productivity and wages Briar can't resist the offer. Unfortunately the magic comes with a price when Briar finds that the other girls that she works with are coming down with a mysterious sleeping sickness and Briar is afraid she may be next.
Spindle is based off the tale Sleeping Beauty but has been given it's own little twist on the story. I actually really enjoyed what the author had done with Briar as a character and her situation along with what was going on in the plot.
The one thing that bothered me with this read though is the middle of the book seemed to dragged on for me for quite a while. Personally I just felt with the little bit of forward progress made in the story that a lot could have been condensed down quite a bit. It's a good tale so it's unfortunate it went so slowly for me.
Overall, a Sleeping Beauty retelling with it's own twist on the story. A bit slow paced in my opinion but not a bad read in the end.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Spindle was an adorable fairy-tale retelling. If you loved the story of Sleeping Beauty, you will definitely love Spindle.
All Briar Rose wants in life, is to marry her ex and be able to keep her siblings together on her very low salary. Working at the spinning mill isn't all fun and games, Briar has a busted frame and has to work extra hard to make any money to keep her boarding and keep the children fed. When a mysterious peddle offers her a spindle that will help her production, Briar is hesitant at first, but with all the bad in her life she decides to give it a try. All the girls who have touched the spindle are ending up sick, could the fair-tale of Sleeping Beauty and the evil spindle bewitched by Isadora be real?
I loved the characters in this book. Briar Rose, the children, Henry, the Boarding girls and the fairies were all so wonderful! Every character had something about them that made you really care for them. The only character I didn't like was Wheeler, Briar's ex, and thats for obvious reasons.
The storyline of this novel was fairly good. I found it to be quite boring in the beginning, it didn't really pick up till about halfway though the book. Once the action started happening the book was a lot better to read.
While I thought the romance in this book was very cute, it wasn't the type of romance where you're like "OMG I NEED THEM TO END UP TOGETHER." You know? It was cute and all, but not amazing.
An aspect of this book I really liked was the part of the women trying to rally together to get the right to vote. I thought it was very inspirational, and I absolutely loved the quote about Susan B. Anthony (I did a project on her in grade 11).
This book was very well written, and if it wasn't for some small aspects I would have considered giving this book 5 stars. I still highly recommend it to every who enjoys fairy-tale retellings.
This was certainly different from every single retelling that I've ever read... and for that I'm grateful. I can certainly appreciate a different take on a story inspired by a fairy tale. And this one sure is original. Time frame: end of the nineteen century. Briar Rose is a mill girl along many others. She is a sixteen year old, in charge of her younger siblings. Her reality couldn't be more distant of one of a fairy tale. Well written, this story took me back to the period of suffragettes, a time fraught with changes and possibilities. I liked imagining what it must have been like living back then. Not in a "oh, I wish I could time travel", because I am a woman and let's face it, we're still fighting for our rights... -_- I liked how the author was able to interwove some magical aspects of a fairy tale in a setting such as the one of the industrial revolution. I liked "seeing" the girls reactions to bicycles for instance. How differently the girls reacted to changes. The ones that were eager for it versus the others that kept wishing things wouldn't change. It was all great until things started being a little repetitive. But the thing that left me somewhat disappointed was the way health and magic got a little tangled... I understand why it happened, but I thought it was a little messy. Besides that, I can't help wishing that Briar wouldn't have felt so "goody two shoes". That her younger brothers hadn't been portrayed as such angels, so that maternal instincts could arise on her friends, and things like those. As for Henry I would have liked to have seen more of him. It definitely felt as if the romance was extremely downplayed, and although I don't like it when a romance takes centre stage, a middle ground could have been found. As for the ending, it felt extremely rushed, there my 3.5 rating. All in all, this was a positive experience and I'll be sure to give the author's other stories a try.
This is a alternative version of the classic fairy story of Sleeping Beauty, now set it in the cotton Mills in the late 1800s and having add a few twists and turns along the way! I was impressed how the author has created this alternative version of the classic story, keeping true to her chosen time setting and to the original tale. Miss Briarly Rose Jenny is the heroine of the tale, sixteen years old and working in the mill to earn money to help keep her twin brothers and sister together after the tragic deaths of their parents. Henry Prince is the hero. He also works in the Mill even though he’s really too old to be doing his current job but he keeps on doing so to be close to Briar. There are fairies, good and evil, great friendships and secrets to be revealed as love tries to find a way to protect the heroine and keep her safe.
The story is an enjoyable alternative retelling with magic having what turns out to be an unacceptable price. You’ll just have to read it to find out what happens and how the evil magic is overcome in true fairy tale fashion.
I found many of the historic aspects of this story really intriguing and believe the author shared them in an easy to relate to manner. The story didn’t have a consistent pace, some of the middle section seemed relatively slow going but it did pick up again in the end which is very enjoyable. If you feel like escaping into the land of fairytales with good v evil and romance, too, or to find out more about this time period, this is one that’s worth checking out!
This is my honest opinion after reading an ARC of this book via NetGalley.
I DNF this one, at about 60%.. I ended up just skimming to the end to see if I was right about everything. . . It just wasn't the book for me.
If you are a fan of Sleeping Beauty then I think you will enjoy this book. The writing was great with strong dialogue, and a few fun characters.. It was a good retelling with great history aspects added to it as well.. Unfortunately, I just couldn't handle how slow paced it was especially when I couldn't connect to any of the characters.
I have to be honest and admit that for about the first 100 pages or so of this book, I really considered DNF'ing this. And I guess that it's a good thing I rarely DNF because after that point, the book really picked up for me and turned into a pretty decent read (Although it is probably closer to 3.5/5 than a 4/5 strictly because it didn't pull me in right away). "Spindle" in not really a retelling, but instead, it takes place about 100 years after "Sleeping Beauty." 16 year old Briarly Rose (aka Briar) lost her parents years ago and is left to take care of her much younger siblings, Pansy, Jack and Benny. During the week, the children are left in the care of Nan while Briar lives in a boardinghouse and works in the town mill spinning threads. Nan has told Briar that when she turns 17, she must either be able to care for the children on her own or else place them in alternative care, which undoubtedly means splitting them up. One weekend, upon her return home, Briar discovers Nan is gone and her friend Fanny is now caring for the children. Briar is also feeling tremendous pressure to produce more at the mill and agrees to use a beautiful wooden spindle given to her by a weary peddler. This leads to an illness at the mill and Briar being caught up in the middle of something she doesn't understand and which has been hidden from her for ages.
Now that I'm trying to sum this book up, it becomes glaringly obvious that there was a lot of information to grasp in this book. In the beginning, I was pretty much confused as to what was going on and how everything tied together. Although as I mentioned, it eventually becomes clear and the story concludes quite nicely. One of the things I loved the most about this book was the characters themselves. Fanny and Ms. Olive, who owns the boardinghouse, were delightful to read about and Briar was very lucky to have both of them in her life. Also, Briar's dear friend Henry is very pertinent to the story and while there really isn't much a of love triangle in the book, there are two men vying for Briar's attention so be warned. Several of the girls in the house have a wonderful friendship developing and beneath the surface of the plot are some important statements on women's rights, equality and the suffrage movement.
I really don't know how Slayton was able to incorporate so much in a relatively short novel. Once I reached the halfway mark, I pretty much devoured the remainder of the book in one sitting. I wish there was more Henry in the book, and as a side note, I think a companion book about Henry and his adventures would be a fun and interesting read. If you like fairy tales and their retellings, then Spindle will be right up your alley, just be advised it may take you a while to get into the story.
I received an ARC from Entangled Teen and the author in exchange for an honest review.
Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for giving this book to review.
Spindle is a historical fantasy novel set in the 1890’s, which is about the continuation of the sleeping beauty story. It is fast paced and I read late into the night to find out what was happening next. I felt that the story bogged down in the middle with the suffragettes and Briar wavering about using the spindle.
Briar is protective of her family and feels the weight of responsibility on her shoulders for all of the book. Henry is my favourite character but I wish he was in this book more than he was, he is flirty, dependable, helpful and kind.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend this book to fans of unusual fairytale retellings.
This is a curious book that I don't know exactly how to review. Expect a tale like "Sleeping Beauty" but different, happening in a real time line, with normal people instead of fairy tales' people... but expect fairy tales' people to show here and there. Expect another twist on the old story, now characters want to fight and resist, instead of being doomed victims. Expect also to think on real things, as the spindlers lives and what situation they lived in working there, expect talks of women sufragism and wanting to vote to change their lives, tales of alcoholic husbands, and a long etc of things that complement each other really well and end up creating an amazing story.
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**Spindle by Shonna Slyaton is a young adult fairy tale retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I knew I had to read Spindle because I love retellings, because Sleeping Beauty is one disney classic that I never watched too much and because the cover is bea-u-ti-ful! I mean, seriously it is so pretty! I loved Spindle. I thought it was well executed, had a great flair for the classic story, but Shonna Slayton still made it her own.
Spindle is the story of Briar Rose, a young girl trying to work for a better life for her siblings. I really loved Rose. I thought her work ethic was admirable and I loved her dedication to her brothers and sister. But no story is complete without a prince. In this case, her best friend Henry Prince. Which I thought was a cute twist. His family is hiding a big secret, which totally intriged me. I had my guesses from the beginning but I would be lying if I said I easily had this one completely figured out. Shonna Slyaton does some really cool things with the twists and secrets in Spindle.
The only thing that annoyed me about Briar Rose was her continued fascination with Wheeler. I thought he was a jerk, but she couldn't seem to get him out of her head. But other than that, and a few slow points in the story, I really really enjoyed this tale. I thought it was a lot of fun. I think fans of retellings will love Spindle. I do wish there was a little more romance. It builds throughout the story but it is loaded heavier on the back end of the book.
The industrial revolution time period is the perfect setting for Spindle. In fact, I think that was my favorite story telling decision. It set the mood of desperation perfectly. Spindle is a retelling take you don't want to miss. I can't wait for more from Shonna Slayton.
Due to work and life, I haven't been reading much over the last month in particular, but I really enjoyed Spindle's mix of historical details with magical fairytale setting. I hope other readers love it just as much as I did.
Honestly, I thought there’d be more fantasy in this plot. It wasn't bad, but it also wasn’t at all what I expected: Spindle read much more like a historical than a fantasy. The actual spindle wasn’t even introduced until about a third of the way through the book, and even after that, it often took a backseat to the more normal issues of Briar's daily life. The historical elements were interesting, learning about the beginnings of women's suffrage and what it might’ve been like to live as one of the spinner girls, but having expected more of a fantastical, fairy feel, I was pretty disappointed that it took so long to get around to that.
I think if I’d realized it would be more about history the fantasy, I might’ve enjoyed it more; but for whatever reason, I didn’t, so I wasn’t that into the story until the fairytale escalated about halfway through. Then the narrative slowly drew me back in; the climax was excellent with an added twist that I really enjoyed, and even the romantical aspects were pretty adorable.
All in all, I just wish it had either been more fantastical or that I’d previously realized it wouldn’t be.
Plot: 3 stars out of 5.
I think the characters were the best part. Perhaps not the most original I’ve ever read, but they were complementary to each other and interesting to follow. Sweet, flirty Henry, who stuck around to be Briar’s doffer even when he should’ve moved on. Mim, shallow and flirtatious, but kind, a good friend, and even occasionally offering some good advice. Ethel, secretive but supportive and strong, fighting alongside the leaders of women’s suffrage for her own rights and those of all the girls around her.
Briar was... strangely unique even though I’m sure I’ve seen her type before: a young girl thrust into a world of adulthood way too early, because her parents are gone and she has to care for her younger siblings. She was kind and strong, she loved her siblings more than anything, and, though of course she desired her own happiness, she strove for theirs more than anything else. I admired that about her (even though a couple of the decisions she made along the way annoyed me), and I enjoyed seeing her she finally find her own love and happiness at the end. :)
Characters: 4 stars out of 5.
I think the setting was pretty strong: the late 19th-century factory feel was... real. It didn’t feel like a bunch of cliches thrown together, but a carefully crafted small town set specifically in that time period, naturally full of common problems of the era and attitudes that reflected whatlife would’ve been like back then.
My biggest issue with this part though was the writing. While there were a few beautifully described, atmospheric scenes (the pacing of the ending was perfect), it also had a tendency to fall into some thick telling, which, in my opinion, didn’t work for the narrative and got a little irritating after a while.
Writing Style/Setting: 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
Overall, we come in at about 3 1/2 stars out of 5. Despite my problems with certain parts, I was pleased with Spindle at the end, and honestly, I wish I could’ve enjoyed it even more. And now that you’re aware it’s more a historical than a fantasy, I hope you’ll be able to do just that. :)
Received a free ecopy in exchange for an honest review.
"Spindle" is an incredible sequel (not a retelling) of Sleeping Beauty. 16-year-old Briarly Rose (goes by Briar) works at the mill with frames and metal spindles in late nineteenth or early twentieth century New England. Her parents died long ago and she needs to earn money to take care of her 3 younger siblings, 9-year-old Pansy and her twin youngest brothers, Benny and Jack. She stays in town during the week at Miss Olive's establishment with other young, unmarried working girls and visits her family on the weekends, where they are watched by Nanny, an older woman who stepped in to help when her parents died. She recently broke up with her fiance Wheeler, with whom she had planned to leave the small valley and make more money to support her siblings.
Briar is often accompanied by her best friend Henry, who works at the mill as a doffer, and is a big flirt. From the get-go, you can predict where those two are going, and I loved their relationship. The first half of the book is setting up the scene and Briar as a person (as well as the other girls at the mill like Mim- who wants to be married and make them all prettier, Sadie- who has caught Wheeler's eye, and Ethel- who is hiding from something in her past). All the girls at the mill are questioning a woman's right to vote- some of them are beginning to join the movement for the right to vote, as well as to outlaw alcohol. This is an interesting plot point, as it becomes quite a theme for these young women and gives insight into the debate of the time- something which we now take for granted.
The story has a slow build up to the real action with wooden spindle, evil (and good) fairies, and the elements of the Sleeping Beauty story we would expect. The second part of the book is incredible! I could not stop reading. Even though it had a slow start- wow! I loved the rest of it (and even the first part was interesting, just in a different, non-magical way). I LOVED Henry- what an amazing young man and friend. I was upset that Briar took him for granted and didn't see it, but very happy that she eventually starts to realize the way things really are/should be. I don't want to give anything away so I won't say more than that, but I loved this story!
It works well as a sequel to Sleeping Beauty and answers the question of what happens to the world after the story ends? It's also a great story about being an Irish female immigrant in the US when women were disenfranchised and there was prejudice with regards to NINA (no Irish need apply). There are some pretty heavy issues raised there which can be paralleled to similar sentiments and events of the current day. It was an incredible combination of social rights, magic and the (unintended) consequences of our actions. I really loved the book and would definitely want to read more from this author!
Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I really liked this. Set in the time when bonnets were the fashion and life as a spinner girl with the options of hard work or settling with a man was the constant, Briar was an interesting girl. I loved reading about her time in the factories because it was so new to me, or reading about an MC whose life was directly effected by the efforts of the women's suffrage. Really made me want to go and actually vote, considering all that my female predecessors fought for. This story was that convincing in its story-telling (it means more if you know that I can't stand politics atm)
Briar being an Irish immigrant with her estranged family was another interesting thing to read about. Just so many things to take from history! And to mix it up with a classic fairytale made for a brilliant read that I enjoyed. Different characters kept things entertaining, with all their complex attitudes and ways of thinking. Who doesn't love diversity? As a history novel, I'd say it was really great with the more eccentric moments. As an urban fantasy reader, I will say that though everything was interesting, I did get a bit bored over the pages of details telling me about Briar's days in the spinning room the second (or third) time 'round. Otherwise, it was a great read that I'd recommend.
Briar isn't even seventeen years old yet, but she has many responsibilities. She has to take care of her siblings. Because she's the sole provider of her household she needs to leave them with a nanny while working at a spinning mill. Her best friend Henry is the person who makes her laugh. He brings joy in her life and Briar is sad when he has to leave. He tells her he will come back, but there's hardly any news from him and she misses him terribly.
One day a peddler offers Briar something from his cart in exchange for information. Briar chooses a wooden spindle, which she wants to take with her to the mill to make her work easier. Briar's spindle draws a lot of attention. From the moment it's there the girls at the mill are getting sick. They're having a strange sleeping sickness. While Briar learns more about her new spindle she knows she should be careful with it. She also tries to prevent others from coming near. Can she keep herself safe from harm at the same time or will the spindle find a way to prick her anyway?
Spindle is a mix of a fairytale retelling and historical romance. Shonna Slayton has done her research well and that clearly shows in her story. It's quite literary and very different from what I expected when I first started reading. It's not a light and fun read, but a book about serious topics like voting rights for women, the freedom of having a bicycle and the consequences of wages that are being cut. The historical background is as important as the mysterious spindle and the consequences for Briar of having it in her life. As I love magical realism I didn't mind this at all and decided to let the story surprise me.
Spindle isn't fast-paced and I think that suits the historical timeframe. There is a lot going on though. Briar has to take care of an entire family by herself. Her nanny will leave the children after a given deadline, which gives Briar stress. The guy who is the sunshine of her life has to leave, but she tries to make the best of it. She's an incredibly strong girl with many talents. Briar always manages to find a way out of any difficult situation she's in. She never whines and she shoulders her responsibilities in the best way possible. She's a sweet girl, but she's also confident and brave, which is a combination I really liked.
Spindle is a story about an enchanted spindle. It's a Sleeping Beauty retelling. This is one of my favorite fairytales and I like the way Shonna Slayton has used this beautiful story. There are interesting family bonds, supernatural secrets and unexpected twists and turns. Spindle is a special story, it's got a solid basis and there's a clear message for women. Shonna Slayton can definitely write and I think Spindle is a great multifaceted story.
I will be honest I am not entirely sure how I feel about this book. This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty in the Historical YA fiction genre. I absolutely loved Shonna’s Cinderella duology retelling so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it. While I enjoyed it I wasn’t beyond thrilled with it. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen the whole first half of the book and then BAM right in the middle of the book everything started happening. The first half talked about Briar Rose’s job at the spinning factory, her siblings and the Prince family. So you get all the back story in the first half and all the interesting things in the second half. This would usually bother me but in this book it seemed to work. I still kind of feel like the book was left unfinished but we will just have to see what Shonna has up her sleeve for us next.
Anyways, Briar Rose grew up with her mother telling fairy tales about fairies and Sleeping Beauty. With her parents gone she has to leave her two brothers and her sister in the capable hands of Nanny and get a job in the spinning factory in town. Close to her seventeenth birthday her best friend Henry Prince decides he needs to leave and go back to Ireland where they are both originally from. While he’s gone Briar comes into THE SPINDLE for which she has no desire to touch. When it starts to make some of the other girls sick she worries. Needless to say she ends up pricking her finger but survives the curse though luck and love.
I enjoyed learning about the characters, immensely, and loved how they grew and learned about themselves. The plot was well thought out and intriguingly written. I love Shonna’s writing style. The flow of the book was well done. However the pace is where I had issues with this book. It started out slow and then when everything started happening it seemed to go too fast. Now of course that could be began it was so well written that I didn’t want it to end, so of course it did all too soon. While I enjoyed all the backstory at the beginning of the book, I think it could have done without so much as it just slowed down the book. I loved that it was set in the era of Women’s Suffrage and some of that is thrown into the story as well. I did enjoy the historical aspect of the book!
I have no doubt that I will continue looking for books by Shonna because I am a sucker for both historical books as well as retellings. Also because I have enjoyed the three books I have already read by her. I love her style and thought process. Can’t wait to read more.
The story progresses at a moderate and steady pace, but is never boring. I read continuously and was aggravated when I had to sit it down to do anything. I just wanted to read more so getting distracted frustrated me. Briar Rose, Henry Prince and Fannie were very endearing characters. I would say this story is more a spinoff or sequel to Sleeping Beauty, not an actual retelling. Briar Rose Jenny is the main character in this sweet, kinda spooky and magical tale. She is a 16 year old orphan trying to work and provide for her three younger siblings, a girl and twin boys. Her best friend and biggest flirt she knows is Henry Prince. She feels sad and lonely when he goes off on an adventure to Ireland, and anxiously awaits letters from him. Nanny who was a friend of her parents takes care of the children while she works and stays in a boarding house during the week, she has given Briar til her 17th birthday to make arrangements for a new caregiver for the children or they will be placed in an orphanage. So Briar lives in constant fear of losing her family. One day Briar comes home to find Nanny gone and Fannie in her place. The children seem fine, but where is Nanny? Briar, Nanny, and Fannie all have secrets that are not easily shared. Briar meets a mysterious peddler who gives her a spinning bobbin for information, it is beautiful , a rose is carved into the fairy wood. She never heard of fairy wood before, I wonder where it grows? It doesn't grow anywhere around here , she thinks to herself. Her mother told her bedtime stories of fairies and the mischief they could bring, but those were just stories, Right? Her spinning machine at work has issues, she places the new bobbin in it and that's when the magical tale really begins. Soon a girl on her floor at the mill falls ill. Is it rheumatic fever, or polio, which they call the sleeping sickness? Who will fall prey to this mysterious sickness? I loved this story, it was unique, and even tho it wasn't action packed, it was lovely, spooky at times, and you found yourself hoping to help Briar. I feel in love with her fondness for her siblings, and wished to end her hardships.
This book wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The teacher in me loved it because it gives a really great historical view of the late 1800s, the Industrial Revolution and the women's suffragette movement. But the reader in me was a little disappointed because the book drags quite a bit in the middle, the fairy tale elements are too few and far between, and the romance is a minor aspect of the book. I wish that there could have been a little more magic and romance woven in throughout the middle, which focuses on the plight of women workers during that time period. At the end of the book, the fairy tale storyline really kicked into high gear---there were still plenty of historical elements woven in, like the rise of polio, but those elements were much more interesting when they were part of the fairy tale aspect of the story. I did appreciate reading about this period in history, and I really enjoyed the ending, but the book wasn't as captivating as it could have been. I give this one 3/5 Stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
The cover, beautiful. Description, interesting. Sleeping Beauty retelling? Count me in! However, I deeply regret to say that I DNF'ed at around 40% and skimmed quickly to the end, while skimming I'd randomly stop and read a chapter here and there so I could gather a bit more of the story before finally accepting that it just wasn't for me. I tried though, I promise I did. And let me tell you, I hate writing these kinds of reviews. Mostly because I really thought I'd love everything about this book and was stoked to be accepted to read it. Some of my main issues was that I found it very hard to connect with any of the characters, the story was very slow paced and the writing style felt more for the pre-teen age group. So even though it's meant to be an easy read I found it to be very difficult. I definitely am not saying it is a bad book, and now that I've read some of it I can say that it's not exactly 100% a retelling since it's set many years after the original Sleeping Beauty fairytale takes place, so it has it's own great aspects that make it unique. But, regardless of my review if you enjoy retellings give this book a chance. Just because it wasn't for me, doesn't mean it won't be for you.
I read Spindle by Shonna Slayton, because I'm a sucker for anything fairy-tale related!
I'm also a sucker for beautiful covers...and this one drew me in.
I have to say, though, that it was different than I expected...
Briarly Rose Jenny (or Briar for short because that name is a mouthful!) is an Irish immigrant living in Sunrise Valley during the 1890s. Her Mam and Da dead, Briar must care for her twin brothers and little sister. She works at the mill as a Spinner girl, the only decent paying job, and she knows she must become independent before her seventeenth birthday. Right now, Nanny (Mrs. Prudence) takes care of the children during the week while Briar stays at a boardinghouse in town, and on the weekends Briar rushes home to spend time with her siblings.
She was previously engaged to Wheeler, another factory boy, who had dreams of returning to the Old Country...which is exactly what Briar's Mam always wanted for her family. But Wheeler strayed to Sadie, another Mill girl, and left Briar with a broken heart and broken plans. Only Henry Prince can make her laugh: Briar does not want to get involved with him, though, because his family is notorious for living and dying in Sunrise Valley. With her seventeenth birthday on the horizon only two weeks away, and her frame in the Mill constantly slowing her down, Briar fears her family will be torn apart.
Suddenly, Nanny disappears and another takes her place. A strange woman that seems to come from nowhere and insists Mrs. Prudence left for an emergency. Then Henry, the dependable one, tells her he's leaving for a trip across the ocean. While Briar tries to adjust, a mysterious peddled comes to town and offers Briar a beautiful wood Spindle: just the thing to fix her finicky frame. Since she cannot depend on Nanny or Henry, Briar must make a decision to change her own luck.
What Briar doesn't realize is that the story of Sleeping Beauty was not just a fairy tale...and this time, there isn't going to be a happy ending...
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes. I'm having a good streak with appropriate YA literature lately. As Spindle is set in the 1890s, it is rich with historically accurate references like the Women's Temperance movement and the invention of the bicycle. The Author's Note in the back mentions all the materials used in cresting the story...it sheds light on the potato famine that brought the Irish here to the US in the first place, and the discrimination against them once they arrived. NINA, or No Irish Need Apply, was a real problem when it came to finding jobs. Speaking of jobs, the life of a Mill girl is examined in detail, and I could see this book used more for its historical references than its fairy-tale ones. I could see a history unit using this book. It's cute and it's light...and I could see some activities that could even be done in the middle grade level.
Though most YA is located through Lexile.com for its scores, it tends to leave out A LOT. Despite the fact that Spindle isn't listed, I would feel confident recommending this book for ages 11 and up. It's not too advanced for a middle grader, and it's clean enough to allow younger readers access to it. I would happily let my 12 year old niece read it...if only she liked historical fiction or fairy-tale retellings. Unfortunately, she's on a horror kick and would probably throw this out the window.
This one is tricky for me. I kept waiting for the climax to build as I continued to read, and it didn't really get moving until about 70% of the way through. There was a TON of historical information, but sometimes I felt it took away from the fairy-tale aspect. It seemed like 70% historical fiction, 30% fairy-tale retelling, to be honest. And I don't have a problem with that...but I was just expecting a little more focus on the Sleeping Beauty aspect.
I'm torn between a three and four star rating: the writing was good, and the story was ok, but it's not something that I'd rave about. I would normally go with 3.5, but in our lovely rating world, there are no half stars (and there really should be!). So because of this, I'm going to round it to ★★★★☆, because I usually give three to the books I have to push through. I was captivated by the story, but when I realized what I was getting was allI was going to get, I was a little disappointed
So, in short: a great historical read, but don't read it simply for the fairy tale: there's not enough fairy tale to tide you over. Would use in the classroom, but only for its historical benefits. If you like period lit, then I recommend it for you.
I do wish you Happy Reading! I thank NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC, and the book is now available to purchase!
This was a difficult one for me to rate because I had such mixed feelings after finishing it. The first half of the book was incredibly slow and very little happened, so much so that I was tempted to DNF it in parts. The second half is where the action kicked in and the storyline finally took off, sadly it wasn’t good enough to make up for the first half.
Spindle isn’t really a retelling; it’s more of a sequel to the tale of Sleeping Beauty. It’s set long after Aurora pricked her finger and was rescued by the prince but the themes throughout this book were very similar to Sleeping Beauty so it did have a bit of a retelling vibe.
Briar is a young girl working at a spinning mill and trying desperately to support her younger siblings. She was a perfectly nice character, but for me she did get stuck at ‘nice’. She wasn’t particularly stand-out in any way. She obviously cared for her friends and family a lot and she was a hard worker, but I just found her to be a little dull. The other characters were a little better. Briar’s friends were quirky and fun and they had some good banter – though it felt like Briar didn’t really contribute to these scenes, she was just sort of on the side-lines. Henry was the star of the show here, he was easily the best character but he was absent for most of the book!
The story itself was fairly slow and a little predictable; however there were some elements that I really liked. The book touches on women’s rights and the different views surrounding that, as well as the issues around girls being married off young. There were also some nice twists on the original Sleeping Beauty tale, such as the involvement of the fairies and the effects of the curse. The idea that the events of Sleeping Beauty really did happen, but that over the years it slowly became a fairy-tale was really clever and was a great way to tie this story in with the original.
There is a little romance and (unfortunately) a bit of a love triangle, but that does get resolved fairly quickly. The romance itself is very cute and tame, mostly driven by Briar’s thoughts and feelings towards Henry during his absence so we have to wait quite a while before anything comes of it. I would’ve liked more of Briar and Henry together, their relationship transition from friendship to love felt a little quick and there isn’t an epilogue to give me the closure I was hoping for with them.
Overall I did enjoy reading this. It’s a very easy, low-angst fairy-tale book (once you get over the slow start) but for me it was missing that spark of magic, something to give it a bit of impact and make me desperate to read it again.
Using a light context of the fairy tale and mixing it with the suffrage movement in the early nineteenth century where mill work is common, Briar has to make more money to support her siblings that she's raising. It's almost too much to pass up until things start happening and it makes her leery.
It dragged too much and I wasn't invested like stronger fairy tales written by authors like Sarah Cross or random retellings that keep me a bit more in touch. I can't help but think if it was a historical fiction novel about this time period that I might have enjoyed it more but adding the magical elements threw it off.
But stunning cover nonetheless and for those that love re-tellings, here she is!
I read this as a part of the KCLS challenge for 2020. I trudged through it as the libraries have closed and I should enjoy the books I have. I thought the character development was poor and hard to really get into-felt like a forced story in the framework of sleeping beauty and historical industrialization.
SPINDLE by Shonna Slayton is more than a retelling of "Sleeping Beauty": it is a continuation of the familiar story during the Industrial Revolution--where magic, despite being unbelievable, is still real and deeply felt. Our heroine navigating magic within a real and often unglamorous world is Briar, a sixteen-year-old mill employee who is struggling to earn enough money to raise three younger siblings by herself. After receiving a spindle from a mysterious peddler, Briar must face the consequences directly, learning new truths about those surrounding her, as well as her role in destroying an ages-old curse.
I've read all of Shonna Slayton's books, and this one did not disappoint. Like CINDERELLA'S DRESS and CINDERELLA'S SHOES, SPINDLE focuses on an artifact from a fairy tale--this time, the cursed spindle meant to fell Aurora--and explores its deep history and continued ramifications in another time period. SPINDLE appropriately takes place during the Industrial Revolution, and the story adjusts accordingly: cursed princesses are swapped for overworked mill employees, heroic princes for cute doffers. Yet, the setting makes itself known and informs the characters in many ways. Some of my favorite scenes involved women's suffrage (a notion that stirs and liberates Briar) and prejudicial attitudes toward the Irish (NINA, or "No Irish Need Apply," haunts Briar is she searches for work). These details made the novel feel real, relevant, and well-researched.
Of course, this isn't to say that the novel lacks magic. In fact, I love how Slayton gently imbues a sense of magic and mystery from the beginning of the story. New characters appear; Briar's familiars leave on mysterious quests; even the wind and flowers within the valley seem to take on their own lives, a way of knowing that changes are happening all around. The magic definitely added to the setting--making me yearn to visit the quaint, charming Vermont village where Briar lived--but it also added subtle tension to the beginning of the novel.
I appreciated the tension here, because for a short-ish novel, the pacing felt slow in the first half of the novel and somewhat rushed in the second half. This didn't bother me too much, because I liked how tight and spare the plot was. Every scene felt purposeful. It made the book easy and quick to read over the course of a couple of days.
I agree with other reviewers, though, that the spare plot does make SPINDLE suffer in one way: lack of Henry Prince, Briar's friend and doffer who goes on a journey in the beginning of the book. Henry was adorable, the type of romantic lead we want to read about in sweet fairy stories, but he doesn't get a lot of page time. Who wouldn't want more of a character who says cute things like: "While I'm away, and if I were to do a feat of daring for you, what would you like? Take down a whale? Meet the queen? Build a railroad in honor of your upcoming birthday? I can do whatever you ask" (page 48)?
Overall, I recommend SPINDLE as a sweet, quick romance that balances historical fiction and fantasy expertly. Fans of fairy tales--continued or re-imagined--will enjoy rooting for Briar to overcome hard circumstances, both realistic and extreme.
Note: I received a free e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This story is a unique twist on the Sleeping Beauty myth. It is more of a sequel than a different twist on the mythology. This is the story of Briar Rose, a young woman working at the mill and trying to keep her orphaned siblings all together. The setting is New England and takes place in the early 1900s. Of course,a variety of circumstances lead to her using that fated spindle that put Sleeping Beauty into a 100 year sleep. She has recently been dumped by finance Wheeler and always there for her friend Henry Prince has left town under mysterious circumstances, along with the caregiver for her siblings. A new caregiver arrives and she's very mysterious. This story does an excellent job of combing fairytale aspects with real world scenarios. I really appreciate the authenticity of the characterization of the women and girls in this book. She does not attribute modern day attitudes and manners of speaking to these characters and it really adds to the vibe of the book. I loved Briar Rose and of course, Henry. The unique take of the history of Sleeping beauty was well done.
I received an ARC from the published via Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
I am a sucker for fairytale retellings, so when I heard about this book, I knew I needed to try this book out! I would have liked there to be more obvious callouts to the original fairytale, but I liked the unique twists the author put on the classic story. The story takes place during the Industrial Revolution and focuses on mill workers and women's suffrage. I thought those aspects added such a unique and interesting plot line to this novel. I thought the historical elements were the best part of the book! All of the details on the events during that time period that were talked about in the book showed that the author did a lot of research, and it payed off!
Briar was an okay main character. She actually annoyed me and I found her hard to relate to. I wish there would have been more dimension to her character and more growth. My favorite character in this book was Henry! Henry was so adorable. I want to just hug him forever. To be honest, I was obsessed with Henry throughout this entire book. Henry made me swoon and smile. I wish he would have been in the book more! I feel like this book would have been more entertaining and enjoyable if Henry was in the book more often.
The beginning of this book was quite slow and then the second half felt a bit rushed. I thought the second half was a lot more exciting considering there was more action, but it still felt rushed. However, the second half of the book made me blow through the rest of the book in one sitting because I could not put it down!
Overall, I thought this was an interesting and unique spin on a classic fairytale. I would recommend this to fans of fairytales, romance, and historical settings.
3 / 5 Fangs
*This ebook was given to me in exchange for a honest review. *