“Lacey writes absolutely beautifully …”
– Read the full review
Follow the Tour
Gold for a poor girl,
Beauty for a twisted man,
A child for a powerful sorcerer . . .
Rumpelstiltskin can change anything he touches into gold, but he cannot change his own twisted body. The sorcerer Laurus can make Rumpelstiltskin tall, strong, and handsome—but he will only work his magic in exchange for a child in its first year of life.
When Emily’s deluded father claims she can spin straw into gold, the King demands proof. Caught between a mad father and a mad king, Emily’s life hangs in the balance. Rumpelstiltskin will help keep up her ruse for three nights—if she promises him her firstborn child.
When the King decides to marry Emily, the pretense must continue for much longer. And what Emily offers Rumpelstiltskin in return for his continued help has the power to change everything.
This retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin” is best suited for ages 14 and up.
The Story Behind the Story
I have an ongoing joke with my friends from college in which we bargain our “firstborn children” over trivial matters such as whether a DJ will play a certain song at a wedding dance. When my husband learned about this, he was quite alarmed. He then posed a hypothetical question to me about such a bargain — I cannot share the exact question because to do so would include a spoiler for Rumpled.
Such hypothetical questions from my husband are fairly common, but this one captured my imagination and I continued to gnaw on it. I wanted to write a story that would explore the answer to his question. Although I initially planned to write something totally from scratch, when I started to brainstorm I thought about the many stories that are already part of our cultural consciousness that involve the bargaining of a firstborn child as a major plot point.
Of all these stories, “Rumpelstiltskin” has always fascinated me. I first heard the story the way fairy tales are meant to be heard–orally and without the presence of pictures or a printed text. My older sister acted it out with our Fischer-Price Little People when I was four years old. I remain captivated by the story to this day, and it was an honor and a pleasure to explore it more deeply in my own rendition.
You can read more about this process in my guest post over at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile’s blog.
Early Reader Reviews
“Louwagie’s fairytale for adults fills in what the traditional tale has always neglected: motive, heart, moral ambiguity, unrequited love, betrayal. Extremely skilled with discourse (a talent I’ve always admired), Louwagie gives this flat (and eerie) old tale several twists that, after reading, seem like they should have been there all along. I have nearly forgotten the bizarre dancing-in-the-woods-for-no-reason creepy little man: this is the story the Grimms should have written.” – Read the full review at Ever Tales
From Amazon.com reviews:
“I was hooked from the first page, and didn’t want to put it down. This retelling takes a story that is as unsettling as it is familiar, and completely transforms it as is sheds light on the universality of the character’s struggles.” – Read the full review.
“Spinning a yarn is one thing, re-weaving a fairy tale into a book that speaks to the heart and soul of humanity while taking one away on an adventure to a different time and place is yet another. I think the novella is the perfect length for this delightfully sensuous, thought provoking tale.” – Read the full review.
“Louwagie weaves a tale that intelligently dismantles stereotypes and gets inside the human heart of the characters and the reader. In ‘Rumpled,’ she does not disappoint in her ability to retain a fairytalesque world while breaking down stereotypes within that genre and challenging the reader’s perceptions along the way.” – Read the full review.
From Goodreads reviews:
“This is a telling of an old tale that’s better than the original. Lacey’s character development of Rumplestiltskin and Emily – the girl who spins the gold — gives readers a window into the complicated motivations that drive each of them.” – Marie Zhuikov, author of Eye of the Wolf. Read the full review.
“‘Rumpled’ is an intriguing retelling of the Rumplestiltskin fairy tale, illuminating just how compelling delving into a story we think we already know can be. Louwagie has crafted a story in which readers are constantly questioning motivations behind actions, providing much food for thought on the complexities lying within a well known story.” – Read the full review.
“A good story to remind us that certain decisions we make may have unforeseen consequences that we may have to deal with the rest of our lives.” – Read the full review.