I received this book for free from NetGalley/Entangled: Teen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Spindle by Shonna Slayton
Release date: October 4th, 2016
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
Set during the Industrial Revolution, Sleeping Beauty’s happily ever after isn’t the end of the story…
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.
In all honesty, when I first started this Spindle I didn’t like it at all. I contemplated giving up on it multiple times. Thankfully, I hate not finishing a book, especially one that I have been given to review. For me it’s part of the exchange. I receive the book for free and therefore should live up to my end of the bargain. Also, how can I accurately rate a book without finishing it? The fact that I was hung over from my previous read and struggling with work didn’t help how I felt about book. But in the end, I’m happy that I stuck with it. It was definitely worth it!
The story has a very slow start, which is what I found off-putting. The author spends a lot of time setting up the characters and setting. I was expecting fairytales and magic, but instead received a young woman struggling to provide for her orphaned siblings and the prejudice she endured because of her Irish heritage. Which was not what I was expecting! Things don’t really pick up until the midway point. And then it gets really, like really good! I read the second part so quickly. It was non-stop, stay up all night page turning! So, while the beginning is a bit of a struggle, the reader is rewarded in the end.
Spindle has been advertised as a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, but I would disagree with that label. It’s more of an extension or sequel to the famous fairytale. Set in nineteenth century America, the story of the princess who pricked her finger on a spinning wheel has already happened. The story’s lead character, Briar, believes that this story is just that, a story, until she sees it with her own eyes.
One of the things that kept me reading was Briar. She had a lot of endearing qualities that made her extremely likeable. Recently orphaned and abandoned by her fiancé, she has to make a lot of sacrifices for her younger siblings. She works long and difficult hours in a mill and tries to take on extra work to keep them fed with a house over their heads. And her love interest, the adorable Henry, brought a huge smile to my face whenever he appeared. He was such a flirt and I just loved him so much! There was no doubt where their relationship was heading from the start, but I let that slide because I enjoyed cheering them on and getting angry with Briar when she didn’t see what she had right in front of her!
The social issues faced by people of the time period are also explored in the story. When the anti-Irish sentiment was first brought up I was a little taken aback. This in a fairytale? What?! But I’m glad that it was included because it ended up adding a real world touch to a fantasy story. The book brings up topics such as domestic violence, prohibition and equal rights for women. My knowledge of American history is sparse at best, so I found it really interesting and had to go look up more information.
Overall, I would recommend Spindle to people who enjoy fairytales, fantasy and super adorable romances. Don’t let the slow beginning scare you off because you will miss out on a fantastic adventure. 🙂
SHONNA SLAYTON writes historical fairy tales for Entangled TEEN. Cinderella’s Dress and Cinderella’s Shoes, set in the 1940s are out now. Spindle, a Sleeping Beauty inspired tale set in the late 1800s, will be out October 2016.
She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.
The best way to keep in touch is by signing up for her monthly newsletter. She sends out behind-the-scenes info you can’t read anywhere else. Sign up is on the sidebar of her website Shonna Slayton.
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