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A Curse Dark as Gold Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Too stubborn to let go of the troubled mill that has supported her community for generations, Charlotte Miller takes over after her father's death, fighting impending disaster with bargains with a mysterious Jack Spinner that eventually threaten her infant son. Set in a rural valley in the late 1700s, this reworking of the "Rumplestiltskin" story includes ghosts, witchcraft, elements of Georgian society, and much earlier folk magic in the guise of a novel of manners. The leisurely paced narrative gathers steam as it becomes clear that the family and the mill have not simply had a long run of bad luck, but are seriously cursed. Readers need not be familiar with the folktale to see where Charlotte's efforts to save her mill are headed. Though their roles in the narrative are clear, secondary characters are distinctive: foppish Uncle Wheeler is more than a stereotyped villain, and Charlotte's eventual husband is an admirable romantic lead with unsuspected talents. A rich opening to Jane Austen's world for teens.—Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
After her father’s death, Charlotte and her younger sister, Rosie, take over the family business, a mill shadowed by a curse that goes back generations. Charlotte gives little credence to superstition, but when they can’t pay the mortgage on the mill, Rosie conjures up Jack Spinner, an odd little man who promises them that he will spin a roomful of straw into gold—for a price. Despite an uncle who apparently wants to help the girls and a suitor who will do anything he can for Charlotte, her secret agreement with Spinner creates a vortex that threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. Set in England during the early days of the Industrial Revolution, the novel combines elements of fantasy and historical fiction with a love story between two strong-minded individuals. An appended author’s note comments on the setting and the Rumpelstiltskin motif. With an appealing title and eye-catching jacket art, this first novel will surely find its audience. Grades 7-10. --Carolyn Phelan
Top customer reviews
At first, I was slightly disappointed by A Curse Dark As Gold. But after the first few chapters it quickly picked up, and was an entertaining fairy tale retelling, though Charlotte's marriage to Randall was kind of sudden. It was also quite suspenseful, and is definitely a good read for anyone who enjoys fantasy and fairy tales.
All of my reviews can be read at my blog, novareviews.blogspot.com.
VIOLENCE: Few mild instances
PROFANITY: Few mild instances
SEXUAL CONTENT: NONE
MATURE THEMES: Moderate
RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 16+
As the story is all about a curse, I would definitely consider it to have a moderately mature theme. There is a lot of talk about curses, voodoo, magic, hexes, etc. Sometimes, the magical aspects become quite dark and disturbing, but not overly so. There is death, murder and `accidents', but none of them are graphically described. There was no sexual content, of which I was happily surprised. Even though the two characters are married, the author doesn't take that as a license to intimately describe their honeymoon or beyond, and their courtship was short and sweet. As far as profanity, there were only about 4-5 words that I came across. "A Curse Dark as Gold" is a clean read for ages 16+
This review was written by Emily
A Squeaky Clean Reads Book Reviewer
To see more fantastic books reviewed with content in mind, visit us at squeakycleanreads!!
As soon as I saw it was available on Amazon, I placed an order, and as soon as the order came, I picked up A Curse Dark as Gold. Since first learning about it, I wanted to read it.
This is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" set during the early days of the Industrial Revolution in a fictitious part of England. After the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Charlotte Miller takes charge of the family's mill. But nothing ever seems to go right. There's debt and vandalism, the mill seems to have a mind of its own, and the superstitious villagers whisper of a curse. And when a stranger appears with the power to spin straw into gold, Charlotte must decide how much his help is worth because everything she holds dear might depend upon her decision.
Okay. So basically, I loved everything about this book. I'm not kidding. I loved the way Bunce weaved in the fairy tale (I've never read a "Rumpelstiltskin" retelling before) and I loved the setting. I loved the characters. Even while I wanted to smack Charlotte, make her see sense, I understood her feelings and actions perfectly. The uncle was another character that even while I wanted to hate him and did, I still loved him as a character. The writing and imagery were beautiful; the other characters wonderful. And this book was dark. Seriously. As I was reading, it was dark, and my room was lit only by reading light. Outside, the wind howled and the rain pounded down, and it wasn't ideal for reading a book that was making my heart race. I wanted nothing more than to pick up something lighter, but I couldn't stop reading A Curse Dark as Gold. I had to learn what happened and I had to finish it. I didn't even read ahead because I didn't want to stop reading.
So yes...you'll probably guess at the ending, but still, to me it doesn't matter. It is based on a fairy tale, right? And there were still plenty of twists to make readers who like surprises still enjoy this book. I know that I didn't guess at some of the stuff until reaching a moment of foreshadowing.
I loved this book. It's one of my new favorites. And to be honest, I wasn't going to review this one until later because I had finished some other books that still need to be reviewed. But I just loved this one so much that I couldn't wait to tell you all about it.
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