Vivian Vande Velde – The Rumpelstiltskin Problem
Have you ever wondered just what was going on when that odd little man with the long name stepped up and volunteered to spin straw into gold for the miller’s daughter? If you stop and think about it, there are some very peculiar and rather hard-to-explain components to the story.
Vivian Vande Velde has wondered too, and she’s come up with these six alternative versions of the old legend. A bevy of miller’s daughters confront their perilous situation in very different ways — sometimes comic, sometimes scary. Most of the time, it’s the daughter who gets off safely, but sometimes, amazingly, Rumpelstiltskin himself wins the day. And in one tale, it is the king who cleverly escapes a quite unexpected fate.
Veronica Shanoes – Burning Girls
Burning Girls, by Veronica Schanoes, is a fascinating dark fantasy novella about a Jewish girl educated by her grandmother as a healer and witch growing up in an increasingly hostile environment in Poland in the late nineteenth century. In addition to the natural danger of destruction by Cossacks, she must deal with a demon plaguing her family.
Naomi Novik – Spinning Silver
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.
When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.
But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.
Elizabeth C. Bunce – A Curse Dark as Gold
Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family’s woolen mill, which holds her beloved small town together. But after her father’s death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition: He can turn straw into gold thread, for the small price of her mother’s ring. As Charlotte is drawn deeper into her bargains with Spinner-and a romance with the local banker-she must unravel the truth of the curse on the mill and save the community she’s always called home.
Gary D. Schmidt – Straw into Gold
What fills a hand fuller than a skein of gold? By order of the king, two boys, Tousle and Innes, must find the answer to this puzzling riddle within seven days or be killed. A former nursemaid to the queen’s child tells the boys that the banished queen may have the answer they seek. Danger presents itself at every turn, for the boys are pursued by the Great Barons, who are secretly plotting against the king. Another pursuer, the greedy King’s Grip, reveals a strange story of a little man who once spun straw into gold of incredible beauty for the queen but then disappeared with her firstborn son. Tousle realizes that the man he calls Da is the strange little man and, even more amazing, that he himself may be the lost prince. Or could it be Innes, who although cruelly blinded can hear the music of the dawn?
This skillful blend of fantasy and adventure reveals what might have happened before the queen makes her third and last guess and the story of Rumpelstiltskin—as we know it—ends.
Liesl Shurtliff – Rump
In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.
To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.
Suzanne Weyn – The Crimson Thread
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…
Donna Jo Napoli – Spinners
This is the story of two spinners. The first honed his craft at a stolen wheel, crippling his leg, turning a room full of straw into a glittering dress for his beloved — and losing her. The second steals moments to teach herself. Saskia is her name, and she grows up to be a master spinner. Nothing is beyond her — until she, too, must spin straw into gold. And it is then that they meet
Breeana Puttroff – Rumplestiltskin’s Daughter
The first time Raya Trinklus hears the story of a goblin who could spin straw into gold and once tried to steal the queen’s child, she believes it’s only that – an impossible story.
And certainly, it’s a story that has nothing to do with her.
But when all the girls in the kingdom are called to the fabled city of Auria to celebrate the prince’s coming of age, Raya finds herself drawn into a web of royal secrets and an unlikely friendship with a young man who knows more than he’s telling.
Soon, she’s forced to confront the secrets of her own past so she can fight for her future.
Lacey Louwagie – Rumpled
Gold for a poor girl,
Beauty for a twisted man,
A child for a powerful sorcerer . . .
Rumpelstiltskin can change anything he touches into gold, but he cannot change his own twisted body. The sorcerer Laurus can make Rumpelstiltskin tall, strong, and handsome-but he will only work his magic in exchange for a child in its first year of life.
When Emily’s deluded father claims she can spin straw into gold, the King demands proof. Caught between a mad father and a mad king, Emily’s life hangs in the balance. Rumpelstiltskin will help keep up her ruse for three nights-if she promises him her firstborn child.
When the King decides to marry Emily, the pretense must continue for much longer. And what Emily offers Rumpelstiltskin in return for his continued help has the power to change everything.
Bonnie M. Hennessy – Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumplestiltskin’s Name
An old tale tells the story of how a little man named Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold and tricked a desperate girl into trading away her baby. But that’s not exactly how it happened.
The real story began with a drunken father who kept throwing money away on alcohol and women, while his daughter, Aoife, ran the family farm on her own. When he gambled away everything they owned to the Duke, it was up to her to spin straw into gold to win it all back.
With her wits and the help of a magical guardian, she outsmarted the Duke and saved the day.
Her guardian suddenly turned on Aoife and sent her on a quest to find his name, the clues to which were hidden deep in the woods, a moldy dungeon, and a dead woman’s chamber.
This is not the tale of a damsel in distress, but a tenacious, young woman who solved a mystery so great that not even the enchanted man who spun straw into gold could figure it out.
Not until Aoife came along.
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