Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: A Curse Dark as Gold - Elizabeth C. Bunce

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Genre: YA, fairy tale retelling
Published on March 1, 2008
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 396

The gold thread shimmers in the fading light. It promises Charlotte Miller a way out of debt, a chance to save her family's beloved wool mill. It promises a future for her sister, livelihood for her townsfolk, security against her sinuous and grasping uncle. It might even promise what she didn't know she needed: lasting hope and true love. 

But at what cost? To get the thread, Charlotte must strike a bargain with its maker, the mysterious Jack Spinner. But the gleam of gold conjures a shadowy past - secrets and bonds ensnaring generations of Millers. And Charlotte's mill, her family, her friends, her love. . . .What do those matter to a powerful stranger who can spin straw into gold?


I have probably said this about every fairy-tale re-telling I have read, and I am sorry if I have, but A Curse Dark as Gold really and truly is one of the best retellings I've read. Set in a wonderful time period and populated with fantastic characters, I dare anyone to dislike it for a reason other than "It's just not my type of book." Elizabeth C. Bunce keeps enough elements of the well-known Rumpelstiltskin story to keep it feeling familiar, but then she adds enough of her own twists to keep you guessing and the make it feel like a new tale. Charlotte is a wonderful narrator and heroine - it is easy to sympathize with her and wish her the best. Sometimes her reluctance to confide in her husband is a little annoying, because Randell Woodstone is one of the most likeable and kindest male characters ever, but at the same time, it is hard to completely fault her for it, because she's just trying to protect him. And who can blame a woman for protecting those she loves?

The writing itself is beautiful and easy to follow, weaving each dark secret together masterfully to create an amazingly engaging story. With the simplest words, she makes Charlotte's uncle so easy to hate, and Jack Spinner one of the more alarming villains, and yet with a few more words, the Author turned them into characters whom you could also pity, while still wishing for them to receive their just rewards.

I applaud Elizabeth C. Bunce for a novel well done!

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