babyhippoface's Reviews > A Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
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Mar 24, 2010

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bookshelves: fantasy, young-adult, mystery-thriller
Read from March 22 to 24, 2010

Here I am, wishing for that 1/2-star option again: 3.5 stars, if I could. This debut novel is a fresh, creative, and intriguing variation on the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. Our heroine, Charlotte Miller, is hard-working, honest, headstrong, and loyal to her friends and family, even if (and when) they betray her. Not all Millers shared those traits, however. If town gossip is to be believed, there is a century-old curse on the family business, a woolen mill. When Charlotte's father dies, she and her younger sister, Rosie, are left to run the mill, and Charlotte is determined to succeed, despite all the "bad luck" that comes their way. When disaster strikes and the mill is in peril, an odd little man who calls himself Jack Spinner appears and offers to spin a room full of straw into golden thread, for only a trifle in return. Ah, but once is never enough, is it?

Characterization was good: Charlotte, Rosie, Harte, Randall, and old Biddy Tom were pleasurable to get to know. (I wouldn't use that word for Uncle Wheeler, but still, he's a good character.) I was particularly fond of Randall, Harte, and some of the mill workers, like Tory Weaver and Mr. Mordant.

Although I know nothing about the woolen industry in the late 1700's, the setting seemed realistic and I could picture the mill in my mind. And most importantly, I wanted to know the end of the story, so the plot kept me involved all the way to the satisfying end.

Why only 3.5 stars, then? Two reasons: I felt like it just took too long to get to the end of the story. Just a little too much there; I would've liked a bit more editing (although I'm sure the author would cringe if she heard me say that). And secondly, I have grown very weary of characters who shut out the people they love the most and refuse to tell them the truth of what is going on, fooling themselves into believing "it's for the best". {{sigh}} This is the way life works on soap operas and tv melodramas, not the way real life works. Not the way it should, at least. When we have an overwhelming problem, we go to our loved ones, pour our hearts out, and work through it together. Why does it seem our literary heroines are never willing to do that? Foolish pride and "I-can-handle-this-myself" arrogance. I would've enjoyed this story much more if Randall had been by Charlotte's side through the entire ordeal. That's real; that's life.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Mandi Murphy My sentiments exactly. Thanks for saying it so well.


babyhippoface Glad to know I'm not the only one who felt that way!


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