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. Well almost…

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. Not the tale of a damsel in distress, this is the story of 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.

 

I’ve read my fair share of Rumpelstiltskin retellings and most of them make him the hero and love interest. While I like the versions where the villain is turned into the hero it was nice to read one that was more true to the original while adding depth to the story.

Of course there is much changed in Twisted but the crux of the story is the same. Aoife is the daughter of a fool of a man who’s stupid mouth gets her stuck trying to do the impossible and literally spin straw into gold. The Duke says if the girl cannot do this task she will be killed but if she can he will marry her. (So lucky isn’t she. Eye roll.) Rumpelstiltskin is a magical little man who offers to help her but at a great cost. In the end she has of outwit the little man by finding out his name.

We all know the story. What made this retelling worthwhile for me was the redemption offered for the characters. Aoife is surrounded by flawed and broken people from her family to the Duke and then Rumpelstiltskin himself. They all claim to love her but their selfishness gets in the way of building any true relationship of love. Ultimately the Duke repents and works to be a better man. Rumpelstiltskin even finds peace and forgiveness in the end. (Aoife’s family is a wash though, they never get it. Except her sister, she’s awesome.)

So yes, I really liked this book. I did find myself getting angry at most of the characters though. I mean they are just so selfish!  

Book Review: Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumpelstiltskin’s Name by Bonnie M. Hennessy

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