This tale is magically spun Forgive me for the pun I just wanted to have some funOh gosh I really need to quit thatBut seriously I really did think this was done beautifully.I have to admit I was kind of surprised about how much I liked this story Don t get me wrong I love fairy tale retellings, but most of the time I enjoy them I just don t think they are very original This was different though Suzanne Weyn chose the perfect setting Early America during our Industrial Revolution when many immigrants were coming upon the country s shores Bridget later called Bertie O Malley and her family is one of the many Irish families coming to find a better life Isn t it a perfect beginning I liked Bertie right away A faerie gives the prologue and epilogue of the story That s the only bit of fantasy of the book The rest is realistic and I appreciated the change I love the Rumpelstiltskin of the story He s probably my favorite character I was a little wary of the book because of it s length, but I didn t feel I was robbed of any essential details of the story I did feel that the romances weren t fully developed, but then again in most fairy tales they aren t Oh I have to mention that I thought how everything weaved togther at the end to the original tale was perfect I felt myself smile real big at the end.Hands down this is the best retelling of Rumpelstiltskin I have read. ONCE UPON A TIME IS TIMELESSThe Year Is , 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 This book is the definition of short and sweet There is no magic but that didn t disappoint me at all Instead the author has the story set in America during the time when all the immigrants from Ireland the protagonist and her family are Irish , Germany, Italy and all these others countries come in You get a sense of what it might ve been like There are hardships at first but you don t lose hope.I like the characters There could ve been character development but for such a sort book it was enough My favorite character is the Rumpelstiltskin of the story He is courageous, a bit mysterious, and a lot nicer than I expected him to be The Protagonist is likeable She is kind but practical and she makes mistakes but I can understand why she does them The story didn t have any dry areas, you know where the plot doesn t seem to be moving along and it s kind of boring, there was always something going on It s not a heart pounding, fast pace book but it kept me interested the whole time The end was great and made me feel all hopeful and happy I think this book would be perfect for preteens but that doesn t mean older readers can t enjoy it too. 2.5 stars.Bertie immigrates with her family from Ireland to New York City in the 1880 s Trials and hardships abound as the family struggles to find and or keep employment, they deal with sickness, financial problems, and Finn is angry at Paddy, their father, for casting aside their Irish heritage and trying to be all American Her father finds work at J.P Wellington s mansion for himself and one of the boys He also manages to sweet talk his way into getting Bertie a job as a seamstress there Bertie does the best she can while enjoying the work She meets the handsome son of the textile tycoon, Mr Wellington, and there is a mutual attraction I liked James okayish up until he proposed and then I was all Wait a second You like her cause she s pretty It s the ginger hair Gets the guys every time without fail and because she can design and make pretty dresses Wow, shallow much Not much Much too much I like Bertie and her brothers Finn, Seamus, and Liam Paddy, not so much He causes his family so much trouble without a care in the world He is than willing to separate the family He lies his way into getting whatever he deems necessary, regardless of how it will affect his family And poor dear Eileen I like her though she doesn t have much of a character When Paddy makes a promise that Bertie knows she is unlikely to be able to keep, she takes the offered help of Ray Stall, the equivalent of a stalker, to help her with the dresses His obsession with her is a little odd but, I mean, Rumpelstiltskin That whole story is queer Bertie is astounded by the beauty of the dress that Ray has created as are her employers They demand of these radically beautiful designs She agrees But when her and Ray fight and she refuses to pay him for his help with a kiss he demands her first born child Bertie, being rather an idiot in this instance, agrees but finishes the dresses by herself, realizing that they in no way compare to Ray s creations She awakes to find her efforts replaced with gorgeous designs that could only have come from Ray Time passes and Bertie accepts James offer of marriage and moves down to Georgia, taking darling Eileen as well More time passes and nothing too much happens Then Bertie realizes that she can t marry a man who is a drunk, a cheating cheater, and doesn t actually love nor does James respect her Finally, Bertie I would have ran the other way when he proposed There is a strike at the Wellington s factory and Bertie gets knocked out She awakes to find that Eileen is gone She hears tell of Ray being seen taking Eileen and heading for New York so she goes home The ending felt forced and rushed, like the author was trying to think of something that would work before a deadline and was just, Ray I took Eileen because I didn t see you and didn t bother looking around Oh, also, the whole take your firstborn thing That was just a joke Sorry about almost giving you a heart attack, Bertie I was stalking you because I love you Bertie Oh, that s all right, Ray And I love you too Excuse me Oh, well.The epilogue was probably my favorite part of the book, to be honest It was cute and tied in Rumpelstiltskin George and Maria a thousand times yes Overall, I enjoyed this one and recommended it but I still think the ending felt like a first draft It needed a wee bit of work. Sorry but it was boring and did not grip me at all. I ve been enjoying this series The books are a perfect length, and the retellings of some of them are truly unique Also, I find it very easy to get into them, so I can sit down and read one in just an hour or two Although I ve found some of the booksless than stellar Spirited comes to mind , the last two I ve read, Water Song and The Crimson Thread were teriffic I really liked the admittedly stereotypical story of an Irish family immigrating to America I felt that the fabric oriented tale of Rumplestiltskin was a great fit in the world of mills I loved the book s Rumplestiltskin, and how, FOR ONCE, the monster gets a happy ending, instead of being written off as just a villain I felt that the fairy element to the story i.e the prologue and the epilogue was uncalled for, but it did nothing to interfere with or otherwise affect the story I will say I have ONE complaintI felt that The Crimson Thread, like most of the Once Upon A Time series, was 50 100 pages too short Everything, from the main plot to Bridget s relationship with BOTH men seemed like it came on a bit too fast The story would have benefitted if we had a bit of down time to get to know the main character and her beaus Still, it s a minor complaint, and even without that little bit of filler , the book was very good.If you liked this, I highly recommend Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli It s another, longer book that retells the fairytale of Rumpelstiltskin. 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 na ve 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 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 out of 5 stars Bridget is an Irish immigrant, a seamstress, and a sister With a little sister to look after, a set of brothers to support, and a father who has a knack for stretching the truth A knack which rescues Bridget from the slums, lands her in a posh mansion for one of the wealthiest textile moguls in 1880 New York, and gets her into trouble Because unless she can turn an error into a triumph within a single night, she and her entire family will be back in the slums A challenge which means enlisting the help of the indefinable acrobat tailor Ray Stalls.But it s not like she isn t already testing fate.I very much enjoyed the twist in this version of Rumpelstiltskin, as well as Bertie Ray s gifts with dress design. SUMMARY Once upon a Time Is Timeless 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.REVIEW I found this retelling very interesting Rather than being in a long ago time in a land faraway, this retelling takes place during the late 1880 s and early 90 s, when women of wealth spent all their time thinking of nothing but the latest fashions It gave this old fairy tale a delightful and totally unexpected twist This original fairy tales was somewhat creepy but Weyn turns it into an excellent historical read pulling in the discrimination against the Irish and the poor as well as the jaded attitudes of the rich towards both groups She kept enough of the elements of the original fairy tale though for it to be easily recognizable through her version Through some clever use of names the ending definitely concludes with a humorous twist. Rating 4 Mysterious Stars Sometimes a little sugar is all you need, don t you think princess 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 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 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 But as with all rashly made promises, there is a terrible price underneath the wordsThe Crimson Thread is a sweet and whimsical retelling of Rumpelstilstskin that turns the old tale around completely It reads 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.In the end, I found The Crimson Thread to be a clever direct read, witty, and page turning retelling with a nice, subtle magical element And even though I tend to like my fairy tales to have , well, fairies I highly recommend Suzanne Weyn s different, refreshing approach in The Crimson Thread.