Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is the second in a wonderful series, though I read it first and had no trouble jumping right in. This book is lush in its descriptions and emotions. There is plenty of love—of the friendship variety, of child to parent and parent to child, and even romance.
This is a story is a take on Rumplestilskin, but in it the heroine Miryem owes nothing to a dwarf. She is the daughter of a money lender who is too kind for his own good. She goes about collecting on her father’s debtors to keep her family from starving. Lenders of money are seldom the heroes, but there is ethically lending and unethical lending. (There is ethical denying of money—it is wrong to lend money to someone you know will never be able to pay it back.) Her family does spread their wealth around, and is good to those who work for them, treating them as family.
I loved the heroine. She is shrewd and hard when she needs to be, but her coldness is directed at those who deserve it. She is also brave…but not unflawed. In a moment of pride in an enchanted forest she boasts about being able to turn silver to gold, catching the interest of the forest’s powerful fae.
This isn’t just Miryem’s tale. It spins in the tale of a princess and a shepherdess. It’s really full and rich, and I highly recommend it.