by Shonna Slayton
Briar Rose works in a New England mill, trying to support her siblings and figure out her life. Her plans for caring for her siblings have been dashed, and she only has so much time until she turns seventeen and Nanny will stop looking after them.
Briar’s life is then turned further upside down when Henry Prince, her best friend, leaves Sunrise Valley to explore his family’s history and a new foreman takes over the factory. And the foreman seems determined to make Briar’s life at the factory miserable. Wages are cut at the factory and Briar struggles to keep her frames running. Briar sees only one option.
She hunts down a peddler that she met once before, a peddler who offered her a spindle made out of fairy wood. The spindle is supposed to increase her frames’ productivity. When Briar manages to sneak the spindle into the factory, she discovers that spindle really is magic.
What’s more, the spindle is no ordinary spindle. It is the spindle the Prince Aurora, Sleeping Beauty, pricked her finger on. And the curse still is tied to the spindle, waiting for a girl under the age of seventeen to prick her finger on it and then die.
Briar knows that she has to keep the other girls at the mill safe from the spindle. But then, one by one, the girls start coming down with a sleeping illness. Briar knows that it is because of the spindle. And she knows that the spindle wants her, the girl with Sleeping Beauty’s name.
First off, I really liked the creativity of the story. A story based off of Sleeping Beauty set in a mill in New England? Sounds neat.
However, I’m not sure that the author did the best job of blending the time period and the fairy tale aspects of the story. The parts of about women’s rights seemed a little awkward in the book. It was like it was trying to be a historical fantasy and a retelling at the same time, which worked for the most part, but not entirely.
The characters in the story were great. I could easily imagine the mischief wreaked by Briar’s brothers and her sister trying to help stop them. I only wish that Briar’s siblings could have gotten a little bit more time on page.
Spindle is an original story. I enjoyed seeing how the author placed the elements from Sleeping Beauty into the story and what would happen next.
Cautions: magic; four kisses