During the first seventeen years of my library career as a children’s librarian, one of my favorite genres was fantasy and even now I am drawn to adult fiction that draws from fairytale themes.
I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and today’s recommended read is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. It has a Rumpelstilskin flavor to it. It’s about two kingdoms in medieval times, one of this world, another of a world of ice and snow. And it’s about two women: Miryem, who helps her money lending family survive and Irina, who’s Duke father marries her off to the Tsar.
Miryem’s father is a money lender, but not a very good one, letting people put off paying him as his family starves until Miryem takes over the collection duties. Then one day she is captured by the Staryk king who brings her to his frozen kingdom and forces her to change his silver into gold. Staryk is responsible for bringing unending winter to the land. People are starving because the crops can’t grow.
Alternately, we see Irina marry the Tsar with his perfect good looks and beautiful clothes. Her beautiful jewelry fashioned with Staryk silver allows her to escape the violent rages that overcome her new husband and his attempts to feed her to the fire demon that possesses him.
This is a story of two strong women, of the importance of taking care of those around you and finally, of love. As the book jacket says: “channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry.”
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then you must read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik.