New England mill girls, fairies, suffragettes, and a curse reaching across the years blend together in this retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
Spindle by Shonna Slayton. Entangled: Teen, 2016, 4oo pages
Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 15 and up
Recommended for: ages 15 and up
With her 17th birthday approaching, Briar Rose has plenty on her mind. The plucky Irish mill girl is disappointed in love, and her younger siblings depend on her for support. With her carefully made plans falling apart, Briar is caught up in a series of mysterious and possibly sinister events.
Facing an increasingly harsh supervisor at the mill and a spinning frame that persists in breaking, Briar resorts to help from a mysterious peddler’s gift —a beautiful spindle. Soon her fellow mill girls are falling sick, and Briar realizes she is in danger, but is it too late?
Themes of friendship and loyalty are strong in Spindle. Briar is loyal to her friends and her family. The story is engaging, especially the historical spin. History buffs will enjoy the setting of New England mills, complete with traveling suffragettes, boarding houses, and bicycles. Slayton has again created an engaging, imaginative fairytale retelling for young adults. Readers who enjoy Spindle should read Cinderella’s Dress —set in homefront America during World War II.
While written for young adults, Slayton’s book is a rarity since it could be enjoyed by younger readers. (The cautions listed below are given with younger readers in mind.) I know I would have loved Spindle when I was 12.
Cautions: Intense situations (poison, villainous fairy, kidnapping) Morality (separation from alcoholic husband mentioned)
Overall rating: 4 (out of 5)
A copy of Spindle was provided by the publisher free of charge in return for a fair review.