A Curse Dark as Gold

by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Basic Summary: Charlotte is the oldest of the two Miller girls. When their father dies, it comes to her to maintain the family – and surrounding community – business, the Stirwaters Mill. Millers have always been in charge of the mill and they have always had bad luck. Charlotte, who thinks any type of magic is nonsense, is determined to see the mill, and her surrounding town, survive. But when the Miller luck seems to take more drastic turns than ever before, and a long-lost uncle turns up trying to “help the orphans out,” Charlotte is forced to consider the only other option – sell the mill. That is until a little man shows up. A man who has a knack for spinning gold out of straw…

Kell’s Chatty Review: First and foremost, this book gave me nightmares 🙂 . I’m not sure if it’s because I was always scared of Rumpelstiltskin to begin with or just the building suspense that got me, but seriously. Nightmares. Second, I LOVE retelling of Fairy Tales. Especially when authors make the story’s magic seem completely plausible. Which Elizabeth C. Bunce does quite well. I will openly say that the plot was a little slow to develop, but I was rushing through the pages by the end.

On the Setting: Due to the nature of the story, it is obviously placed in history (I believe in her author’s note, Bunce specifically states the 1700s) and the grammar and spelling reflect the era. With a slight case of “inner copy editor,” this did bug me a bit, but eventually the plot takes over enough to make you almost forget that an extra word was added here or there.

I’m also chalking one of my least favorite things about the book up to the time period and that being how ridiculously adult the teen characters were. Without giving anything away, I kept picturing the two Miller sisters as in their early 20s. But I suppose two orphans of the time period probably did act like that in their teens. Maybe?

Geeking Out: I have a great love for book jackets. I remove and store them with care when I read a book. But I have a greater love for the actual binding of the book (I know there’s a lovely old-fashioned term for the binding…endplates? book-somethings? I can’t remember and i did a quick google search to no avail. if anyone knows, please leave in comments?) or the cover you see without the dust jacket. Usually, due to the dust jackets, the binding is rather dull. This book, however, has a GORGEOUS binding. I simply adore it. I just had to note that.

Morris Award: I’ve mentioned before my lack of book award-knowledge, but it does help to mention that A Curse Dark as Gold won the first ever Morris Award for best first novel by a YA author. So there you have that 🙂

What this book taught me about life: That Rumpelstiltskin is terrifying as an adult as well.

What I wanted to do most after reading this book: Work a loom. Since that was unlikely, read the Grimm’s fairy tale version of the story.

Re-Readability Rating: 2 (Mostly because it’s a pretty serious book. But also the scary factor. It’s not as bad as The Historian, (Background on The Historian: I’m so glad I read it, and I want it on my shelf, but I’m not sure I ever want
to read a page from it ever again. Oh the nightmares!) but it really was scary!

Where this book came from: I bought it (though it was largely discounted) at ALA Annual 09!

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One response to “A Curse Dark as Gold

  1. Pingback: Rumpelstiltskin « The Re-Shelf

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