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A Curse Dark As Gold

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  11,128 Ratings  ·  1,512 Reviews
Upon the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Charlotte struggles to keep the family's woolen mill running in the face of an overwhelming mortgage and what the local villagers believe is a curse, but when a man capable of spinning straw into gold appears on the scene she must decide if his help is worth the price.
Paperback, 396 pages
Published by Scholastic (first published March 1st 2008)
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Jen526 The main character does have a love interest, so there's some, but the evolution of their relationship is very much a secondary plot-thread to the…moreThe main character does have a love interest, so there's some, but the evolution of their relationship is very much a secondary plot-thread to the main challenge (which the heroine tends to want to take on by herself).(less)
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Community Reviews

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Sarah
Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, starred
Let’s just make this perfectly clear: I loved this book. Fairy tales retold are pretty much a sure thing with me, but this one’s a humdinger. You think you know Rumplestiltskin? Think again.

Elizabeth Bunce refers to her work as “historical fantasy” and she’s dead-on. One of the main strengths of A Curse Dark as Gold is the setting. The mill stands firmly at the center of the plot, and Elizabeth Bunce makes the place feel very real, right down to the last creaking board. But the setting is more t
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Allison (The Allure of Books)
I bought this book expecting to fall in love with it, and it did not let me down. It was an incredible story, and my head is spinning with everything I want to say about it.

First of all, I was touched before the story even began. In Elizabeth Bunce's acknowledgements she says "And lastly, to my husband, Christopher, for always being there. If I wrote you into a story, no one would believe you were real." I think that is lovely, and I was in love with the author from the get-go.

On that subject-ma
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Keertana
If you, like me, are hard-pressed to find truly chilling gothic fiction, then A Curse Dark as Gold is not one to pass up. As a re-telling of “Rumplestiltskin,” this novel is haunting, poetic, and – most importantly – whole. Out of all the fairy tales in the world, “Rumplestiltskin” is easily my least favorite. After all, who really wants to read the story of a nameless heroine who later betrays the only character who helps her and winds up marrying the man who threatened to ruin her? It simply d ...more
Rose
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book! Loved the way this retelling of Rumplestilskin was fit into a real setting, loved the way even despicable characters had their moments when we felt sorry for them, loved the magic and the mystery. I loved the words, too. I'm living in a non-English speaking country and sometimes I feel starved for words, and by the time I got to page 2 it was all I could do not to stuff the whole book in my mouth and devour it. Lovely!

AND IT JUST WON THE WILLIAM MORRIS AWARD FOR BEST FIRST YA!
Angie
I've been savoring this one. I mean, I read a chunk every day, don't get me wrong. But if something happened to come up at night during my normal reading time, instead of muttering, "Vital point," like I usually do, I was up for it.

Watch a movie? Sure.

Clean out a few more boxes from the study? Let's do it!

Because I just didn't want this book to end. It more than lived up to the expectations I had, having heard such wonderful early reviews. And I was so pleased that it did because the initial pro
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Betsy
Jan 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every possible fairytale is eventually hunted down and stripped of its elements for middle grade and YA novel reinterpretation. This is not an unusual thing. For centuries humans have been fascinated with such tales, telling them, retelling them, and changing them to suit current needs. Nowandays, when contemporary authors take a tale it becomes the skeleton for a larger story to come. Cinderella becomes Donna Jo Napoli’s Bound. East of the Sun, West of the Moon becomes Sun and Moon Ice and Snow ...more
Cara
Nov 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cara by: Ash
If there is one word that I would use to sum up this book it's intricate. I was floored to find out that this was the author's debut novel. Ms. Bunce is up there with the best veterans of the fantasy genre.

Charlotte Miller knows her share of hardships. Her mother and baby brother died, and the book starts with the reader witnessing Charlotte and her sister burying their father. Too bad for Charlotte that this is not the last she is going to see of bad luck. With her father gone she has to shoul
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Rachel E. Carter
I was hoping for a bit more romance:/ The first half 5 amazing stars (view spoiler), the second half of this book was definitely a clever twist on Rumple's tale, but the direction it took lost me (even if it made sense, I just tend to get bored once characters get together -the whole get married, have babies, focus on the baby and Rumple storyline -while basically throwing love interest out of picture- isn't really my kind of read, it's not that it was bad, ...more
Grace
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad book, really, just...a book that had some aspects to it that kept me from enjoying it enough to give it more stars.

A pet peeve of mine in fiction is when a protagonist constantly makes the wrong decision in situations that might have brought about a sooner resolution. Specifically, when other characters who want to (and can) help ask her what's wrong, and she keeps her secret bottled up, dealing with the problems on her own. This especially seems ridiculous when the character keeps he
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Kara
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Petto
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book arrived Thursday, but I didn’t get a chance to read it until Friday. We were out at the dentist when it arrived, and didn’t see it when we got back because it was lodging between our doors. Friday morning, my Mom was driving me to school, and we noticed something on our front steps. It was a package… I brought it in the car, unwrapped it, and found A Curse Dark as Gold. The book was frozen- literally. The pages cracked when I turned them. It was quite an experience. I didn’t think that ...more
Molly

I could probably write a lengthy review about the many things I admired about this debut YA (#1 on that list - the skill with which the curse was woven all through the novel, with the mill itself becoming a creepy almost-character), but I think it boils down to one statement really. I simply can't decide which I wish more: that I'd been the one to edit this book, or the one to write this book! Alas, since neither were options, I'll settle for being a fan and waiting eagerly to see what Elizabeth
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Terence
Aug 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA fantasy fans & my nieces
Recommended to Terence by: Amanda
Elizabeth Bunce’s A Curse Dark As Gold is a retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin myth set in an England-like world on the cusp of an Industrial Revolution, and it’s a wonderful book. The story centers round the village of Shearing and the millhouse of Stirwaters where Charlotte and Rosie Miller have been left orphaned by the death of their father. For five generations, Stirwaters has been in the Miller family despite the fact that no son has survived childhood and a curse seems keep the operation fr ...more
Steph Su
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I always look forward to fairy tale retellings, and with this one winning the Morris Award for Best Debut YA, I eagerly picked up A CURSE DARK AS GOLD after two years of having this in my TBR pile. Unfortunately, it was pretty much an all-around disappointment, and in rather unexpected ways: for some reason, the way the story was written, and the way it unfolded, really frustrated and repelled me.

A CURSE DARK AS GOLD theoretically had all the elements I like in a story: a unique spin on a fairy
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Valerie
It's a retelling and historical fiction. Such a great combination. It's a great retake on the Rumpelstiltskin tale, set in the Industrial Revolution.

Charlotte Miller and her sister Rosie are the last of the Miller thread that make quality cloths. The whole process of making the wool was pretty nice. It didn't seem like it was teaching me anything but I still learned a little about the time period and cloth making.

I was frustrated with Charlotte a number of times. She is so responsible and carr
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Allison
I really wanted to love A Curse as Dark as Gold. A historical fantasy set in a mill during the Industrial Revolution - what a perfect setting for a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

Unfortunately, it was really hard work to get through this and I skimmed a lot. The writing is tedious, the details of running the mill too thorough and dry. Plus, I was expecting something a bit more industrial out of the setting with a more Dickensian or Gaskellian feel - a mill in a place like Manchester, not in a sup
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Wendy
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendy by: Rose
Wow. This book took my breath away! An original, multi-layered, exquisitely written retelling of the Rumplestiltzkin story. Compelling characters who wrestle with painful ethical dilemmas, make mistakes, and ultimately gain a personal understanding of choice and accountability, repentance, and forgiveness. One word of caution--it's a ghost story--don't read it alone late on a windy night!
Lucy
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fairy tale retellings
When Charlotte Miller's father dies, her world feels flipped on its head, but she knows what she has to do: what she always has. The Stirwaters Mill has been in her family for generations, and it has always been at the center of the town of Shearing. All of the townsfolk work in and around the Mill--it provides livelihood for all of them.

And so Charlotte knows that she must pick up where her father left off, and, with the help of her sister Rosie, run the Mill and keep the town afloat.

But one sp
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

Since her father's death, the fate of the Miller family woolen mill and that of the Shearing village rests on Charlotte's shoulders. An unexpected and seemingly insurmountable debt leads to a difficult choice for the normally practical and levelheaded miller's daughter.

Must she take the offer of the strange little man who can weave straw into gold, or can she make her own way through the maze of ill luck and deceit that seems her family legacy?

El
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Margaret
Charlotte Miller and her sister Rosie have problems. Their father has just died, leaving their family mill in deep debt. Their long-lost uncle has arrived and is pushing them to sell. But their small community relies on the mill for its residents' livelihoods, and Charlotte isn't willing to give up her life and her friends' lives so easily. When Jack Spinner shows up and promises a way out, Charlotte makes a bargain with him to save the mill, but she gets far more than she bargained for and must ...more
Mela
What a beautiful tale!

I haven't read many books of such kind (of this genre) because I am always afraid that would be just a romance mixed with dragons and fairies, and so on. When I find such gem I am simply happy.

The strongest part of this novel is the world and the narration. Elizabeth C. Bunce created not only the gripping world. I can imagine that one could dream up a fascinating world but it is not enough. One must also be able to show it to a reader. Bunce did it perfectly. I have lived
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Nicole Prestin
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
This has to be the most enjoyable book I've read all year.

I have to admit that in the beginning, I was skeptical about all of the praise I'd seen about this book. While I love fairy tale retellings, Rumplestiltskin isn't exactly one of my favorite fairy stories. But this loose retelling, set at the beginning of the industrial revolution, is pretty damn entertaining.

I think a lot of that has to do with the author's style. The story just kind of creeps up on you as you read it. The atmosphere is
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Lisa
This book caught me up in the very first pages. Instantly I was drawn to Charlotte Miller, the main character. The story begins as Charlotte and her sister are buring their father, and with the decisions they must make to survive. Deciding to run their father's mill in his place, they are faced with ill luck, a family curse, and all manner of hardships. As the story intensifies, so does the danger and the stakes. I loved the wonderful suspense and clues the author weaved throughout the story, an ...more
Elysse
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lauren
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tale
This is probably one of the best fairy tale retellings that I have ever red; and definately the best Rumplestilskin one.
The story begins in Charolett Miller's point of view, shortly after her father's death. Orphaned, Charolett and her sister Rosie must take over the family wool mill in order to survive. However, bad things keep happening, making the girls question whether there is actually a curse on the family mill. As their financial problems mount, they enlist the help of Jack Spinner, in t
...more
Emma  Blue
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's fabulous, absolutely fabulous. Iloved Charlotte, sometimes I wanted to slap her, but her love of her town and determination won me over in the end. It's much better than the orginal. It's more of a mystery (and I LOVE mysteries). Full of suspense and many answers to the traditional story. The miller's daughter finally gets real character as a determined hard working buiness woman, not just a hopeless victim. What can I say? I love retellings! This is the author's first book, I'd definitely ...more
Meredith
A fabulous retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin story. It takes place in a time and place much like industrial England, which brought the story to life for me. At times chilling, romantic, and touching, it's never boring and I always wanted to know how it would end. I'm eager to re-read it, too, now that I know everything. It received the first ever Morris award from ALA for a debut book, and I'd say it's richly deserved. I hope Elizabeth Bunce writes more.
Sierra Abrams
http://yearningtoread.blogspot.com/

Charlotte Miller's father has died, leaving her and her sister, Rose, the sole heirs of their family business, the Stirwaters Woolen Mill. Charlotte keeps herself busy taking care of her sister and the Mill - for the whole town relies on the Mill. She manages to keep things in order - for a while. But when something terrible happens, Charlotte must either sell the mill or...sell the mill. But that's when the stranger shows up. Jack Spinner, he calls himself, an
...more
kari
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2014
I have to say that I am amazed by all the five star reviews of this book. I'm not sure we read the same tedious tome, but wow, five stars?
This book reads as if Jane Austen's Dashwood or Bennett sisters suddenly inherited a haunted woolen mill. And I love Jane Austen books, but still, I didn't like this one. This feels like a style of writing common to that era in which it was believed that it was dangerous for people to get too excited while reading so books were written in such a way as to not
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Ash
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read any fantasy for a while and I was starting to think that maybe I just didn't enjoy it as much as I used to. Reading this reminded me of why I loved fantasy so much. Specifically the reason why I'm such a huge sucker for fairy tale retellings.

Quick Overview: After the death of her father, Charlotte Miller and her sister Rosie are left in charge of the small family owned wool mill. As mishap and hardship continue to plague the Miller family and the mill, whispers of the long lived c
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Kate
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charlotte Miller is my new hero.

Not because she refuses to let a man solve her problems. Not because she tries so hard to save her family's woolen mill. Not even because she steps forward with courage in terrifying circumstances. She's my hero because she finds herself in a situation that is, by all accounts, dire, and never once whines about it being unfair. Though her story is a take on the classic Rumpelstiltskin story, Charlotte is no typical fairy tale girl.

When her father is buried in the
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Morris Award Winner - Independent Novel Project 1 3 Sep 30, 2015 04:33PM  
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“Do other mothers behold their newborn sons as I did? Do they all find themselves stopped, breathless, in what they were doing to merely stare, in wonder, at the tiny life before them?” 18 likes
“Rose unearthed three crystal goblets that almost matched, and even found a tablecloth that hadn't been attacked by moths since its last public appearance.” 9 likes
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