I received an advanced reader copy at BookCon 2018
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is the story of six different people whose destinies somehow merge together in order to save their country from an eternal winter. Ms. Novik novel is a re-telling of the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin (very loosely).
In the original story of Rumpelstiltskin, he aids a woman spin straw into gold in exchange for a bargain that she later does not uphold.
The “Rumpelstiltskin” of this novel is Miryem, the main character, who is a Jewish moneylender in her small town. In the original fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin is a greedy cruel man. But in Spinning Silver Miryem is neither greedy or cruel, she is fair and wants the citizens of her village to pay their debts. Before Miryem, her father was the moneylender but he was too kind and soft of a soul to demand the debts to be paid. She soon becomes an excellent moneylender and seller of various goods — soon turning their wealth of silvers to gold.
However, this is just a minor plot of the story. In Spinning Silver there are subplots with six main characters that weave together. There is a noblewoman with the blood of the fae running in her veins who has to marry a Tsar that is possessed by a fire demon. There is a poor farm girl who desperately wants a better life for her and her brothers and later has to flee with her brother from a crime. And there is the tale of the feared Ice King and his court who is slowly freezing over all the land and preventing any other seasons to take root.
I think the main plot of Spinning Silver was female empowerment and how women get things done behind the scenes and never obtain any credit for their accomplishments. As mentioned before there are six main characters, three of them are young women. Each one of them on a different path, all promised to three different men, and all three of them are being watched over my three different motherly figures. Each girl is from a different caste of wealth but their path and their choices are not just important themselves, but to each other and the well being of the country they all live in.
I have never read anything by Ms. Novik before and I am ashamed. Her writing style is prose heavy with whimsical magic weaved into each page, paragraph, sentence, and word. There is a perfect blend of reality and magic that it almost feels like it can be real.
This story is about love. It is about strength. It is about forgiveness. It is about putting others needs before your own. It is about friendships. It is about kindness. It is about helping strangers. It is about the notion of changing. But most importantly it is about family, the one you are born into and the ones you find, and the lengths one goes to in order to protect that family in life and in death.
Spinning Silver is the fairy tale you beg your parents to finish before you go to bed.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
My Rating: 4.5/5
Available for purchase now!