I started The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter Beagle earlier this week, but then I decided to start Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, and I think I will finish the latter first. I have been looking forward to this, because some of my GoodReads friends really loved it. It combines two of my favorite things: retellings (Rumplestiltskin, in this case) and historical fantasy. The setting is a fictional country in Eastern Europe.
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.
The beginning, which is a wonderful first paragraph:
The real story isn’t half as pretty as the one you’ve heard. The real story is, the miller’s daughter with her long golden hair wants to catch a lord, a prince, a rich man’s son, so she goes to the moneylender and borrows for a ring and a necklace and decks herself out for the festival. And she’s beautiful enough, so the lord, the prince, the rich man’s son notices her, and dances with her, and tumbles her in a quiet hayloft when the dancing is over, and afterwards he goes home and marries the rich woman his family has picked out for him. Then the miller’s despoiled daughter tells everyone that the moneylender’s in league with the devil, and the village runs him out or maybe even stones him, so at least she gets to keep the jewels for a dowry, and the blacksmith marries her before that firstborn child comes along a little early.
Because that’s what the story’s really about: getting out of paying your debts. That’s not how they tell it, but I knew. My father was a moneylender, you see.
|The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice|
And for the Friday 56, here is a bit at 56% in my ebook from OverDrive:
I did not want to wake up, but I thought I heard Mama calling me in a voice that sounded like a bell ringing, so I opened my eyes.
I really like it so far.