The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn
(Simon Pulse, Paperback)
Bridget and her family move from Ireland to America in search of a better life. Bridget rechristens herself "Bertie" so that she seems more American and acquires a job as a seamstress for one of the richest families in New York. Bridget finds herself relying more and more on a mysterious man named Ray. First, Ray buys her some crimson thread that she coveted; then, he rushes her little sister to a doctor and pays for the medicine; lastly, he helps Bridget sew a dress one night when her father rashly promises her employer that she can "practically spin straw into gold." As much as Bridget needs help, she wonders what type of payment Ray will want in return.
The Crimson Thread is part of the "Once Upon a Time" series, books that retell classic fairy tales in a new way. This one happens to be a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. I've enjoyed most of the books in this series and The Crimson Thread was another enjoyable read. It's short and easy to read in one sitting. Retelling fairy tales seems to be a current trend in teen literature Lately, I've read a lot of dark, twisted, Grimm's-fairy-tale-esque retellings and, quite frankly, they just don't do it for me. I rather like magic and happy endings which Suzanne Weyn delivers in The Crimson Thread. The beginning and ending were slightly cheesy, but perfectly palatable. If you like fairy tales, I recommend this book and the "Once Upon a Time" series.
The Crimson Thread has been nominated for the 2008 Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.