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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ". . . without illusion, life is bare and comfortless.", 11 Mar 2007
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Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Spin Gold: A Woman's Tale (Hardcover)
This is the first book by Cunningham that I have read. I stumbled across it while searching for something else on Amazon.com. After looking at the reviews, and reading the first page there, I decided to buy it, hoping it would live upto expectation. Gladly, I can say that it did.

The story is about a girl who is born into a family of girls. Her family is poor, but her posistion in this family is really dictated by her 'deformities' - she has a brithmark on her left cheek in the shape of a crescent moon; she a left eye which is silver in colour; and finally she has a withered, yet serviceable left foot. This trinity, along with her being lefthanded, go towards her being looked upon as something in league with the Devil himself. Feeling rejected by her family, she finally decides to leave them. It is this decision that reuslts in her stumbling across the Wise Woman of the Western Woood; someone else who is victim to other people's views, as she is regarded as a Witch.

The young girl - she never reveals her name, by the way - becomes apprentice to the Wise Woman, learning her skills such as midwifery and herbalism.

The story then progresses as she tries to find her place in the world, a world which, to her, is hostile. Whilst many people are scared, or repulsed by her, there are 2 that she meets who are more accepting of her, and it is perhaps because of this that she develops strong feelings for them both.

But, how quickly love can turn to hate. And while it is hard to be rejected by others, it also is hard to be adored by people too, trying to live upto their grand expectations.

This is a VERY basic outline of the plot. I don't want to give anything away. There is much to be taken from this story, and it is certainly one of those books that stay with you well after you have finished reading.

What I loved about it is that it stirred long forgotten memories of the classic fairytale, RUMPLESTILTSKIN. But, this time the story is told from a female's perspective - Rumplestiltskin, in this instance, is in fact our silver eyed young woman. It is an interesting take on the classic tale, looking at the tale as an explanation for how the tale came about in the first place.

HOW TO SPIN GOLD looks at people's motivations, and why they behave the way they do. As the silver eyed girl soon realises, people often only see what they want to see. Human psychology is explored in a way in which other books try and fail to. While there is enough 'magic' within the book to make it read like a fairytale, it also has a realism about it which makes it seem all the more feasible and relevant to the modern world of today.

I highly recommend this book. The writing is superb. It has certianly made me eager to read more by this author. In fact, having read this, it seems strange that her books are not more easily available. Read this book - hunt it down, go to Amazon.com if necessary, but read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumplestilkskin was really the Woman of the Wood., 16 May 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: How to Spin Gold: A Woman's Tale (Hardcover)
The nameless "girl with the silver eye," an outcast, has a powerful connection with the lovely Miller's Daughter, Orelie. The nameless girl becomes the Woman of the Wood, a power outside the community, while Orelie is called to marry the Prince. The woman of the wood is in love with him, Orelie is not.
The gold is spun, the ill-fated marriage is sealed, but the woman of the wood does not get Orelie's first-born--a girl. And yet, in the end, the contract is fulfilled--except that the story is wrong, the one we've all heard, about the spiteful little man whose name is found out. Her name is never known, except by her.
A wonderful, compelling read. Hard to put down.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I ever read!!!!!!!, 4 Jan 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: How to Spin Gold: A Woman's Tale (Hardcover)
HOW TO SPIN GOLD is the best book I've ever read. I loved it, and you'll love it. Buy this book!
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How to Spin Gold: A Woman's Tale
How to Spin Gold: A Woman's Tale by Elizabeth Cunningham (Hardcover - Oct 1995)
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