In the vein of Uprooted, Spinning Silver is another loosely inspired retelling of a fairytale, this time Rumplestiltskin. I’m honestly not sure which book I liked better. It’s been a while since I read Uprooted, and this book is one of those that gets better in your head the longer you sit with it after you finish.
Our Rumplestiltskin is actually one of our heroines, Miryem, the daughter of a moneylender (a historically Jewish profession, as usury was against Christian beliefs, though that didn’t stop them from borrowing money). Her father is too softhearted for his profession, letting his borrowers walk all over him and never pay him back, so one day Miryem takes it upon herself to do the money collecting, and soon they go from being incredibly poor to pretty well off. She gains the reputation of being able to turn silver into gold, and so catches the ear of the Staryk, a Russian folklore inspired sort of elven society, who are greatly feared.
The book also follows two other female protagonists, a drunkard’s daughter, and the daughter of a boyar who wishes her to marry the cruel tsar.
The result is an empowering and magical trip through a wintery world that’s half folk tales, half historical fiction. You root so hard for all three ladies, and the atmosphere the writing creates is so immersive. I read this at the height of summer, and I could practically feel the cold from inside the pages.
As usual, I’m finding myself at a loss for a book I really loved, because all I want to say basically boils down to, SO GOOD I LOVED IT.
Five stars, will read again.