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A Curse Dark as Gold Hardcover – March 1, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 81 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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

Product details

  • Lexile Measure : 840L
  • Grade Level : 7 - 9
  • Item Weight : 1.22 pounds
  • Hardcover : 400 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0439895767
  • ISBN-10 : 0439895766
  • Product Dimensions : 5.75 x 1.25 x 8.5 inches
  • Publisher : Arthur A. Levine Books; First Edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Reading level : 12 and up
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.9 out of 5 stars 81 ratings

Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5
81 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2008
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars A truly riveting tale!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2017
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3.0 out of 5 stars What do you value and how far would you go?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 4, 2008
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One person found this helpful
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Kyvan Dijk
2.0 out of 5 stars A modern fairy tale
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 9, 2018
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Phillipa W. Bayliss
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Tale
Reviewed in Canada on November 27, 2009
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