A Curse Dark as Gold
Elizabeth C. Bunc2
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Genre: Historical, Fairytale, Fantasy, Young Adult
This ravishing winner of the ALA's William C. Morris YA Debut Award is a fairy tale, spun with a mystery, woven with a family story, and shot through with romance.
Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family's woolen mill, which holds her beloved small town together. But after her father's death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition: He can turn straw into gold thread, for the small price of her mother's ring. As Charlotte is drawn deeper into her bargains with Spinner-and a romance with the local banker-she must unravel the truth of the curse on the mill and save the community she's always called home.
Once again we find me delving into a fairytale adaptation. This one an adaptation of "Rumpelstiltskin". Like Snow White & Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede, this one can also fall in as historical fiction with its half-accurate portrayal of millworking during the Industrial Revolution. Charlotte Miller and her sister have just become orphans and
is determined to keep the mill running and their town alive, no matter what it
takes. When a mysterious debt from her father is slapped on her out of no
where, however, she finds herself hard pressed to try and get the money for it. Charlotte
Though loosely based off the fairytale, A Curse Dark as Gold is very much its own book. The plot is put together like a puzzle, each character having its own secrets and part to play, and it begs me to use my brain to put the pieces together and try to figure out what in the world is going on and why the characters are doing what they are doing.
All the characters have reasons, and if you talked to them they would assure you they are good ones, even it seems terrible. Even the mysterious debt in the beginning reveals itself in the end, bringing the book full circle (which is one of my favourite writing techniques to read).
I this hadn't been slated as my third book during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon, I'm sure I would have finished it up in one day, unfortunately it was a bit too taxing on my overly tired brain at the time. I'd love to reread it sometime soon however, especially knowing everything that is revealed to me.
I love how truly there are no "evil" characters. The only real villains are possibly the Pinchfeilds Mill people for stealing
father's idea and trying to force Stirwater out of business so they can buy it.
Uncle Wheeler and Jack Spinner have their own reasons for doing what they do.
Wheeler is sucked in by the beauty of riches and ends up bargaining with
Spinner to become that. He then ends up in a cycle of debt which leaves him at
the mercy of Spinner, just like the girls. Charlotte
Spinner of course was wrongly killed and hellbent on revenge for his son as well. All he wanted was his son back, and revenge on those who very wrongly tricked him. Though his name was not Rumpelstilstkin, I liked how discovering the truth of him was the replacement for his name. It fits so well in with superstitions following ghosts, and what you need to lay them to rest.