"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as Gold
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-10: 0439895766
ISBN-13: 978-0439895767

Do you love fairy tales? How about re-imagined ones? I do. I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales and am always keenly interested when someone comes up with a new spin on an old tale. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I’m bored and sometimes I really love them. A Curse Dark as Gold completely blew me out of the water. Elizabeth Bunce took the tale of Rumplestiltskin and not only brought something completely new and innovative to the story, but also completely changed it around to something completely wonderful.

A Curse Dark as Gold is the story of Charlotte Miller, a young woman struggling to save the family mill. Charlotte is a fascinating character. Her inner turmoils, her thoughts, hopes and dreams are all completely normal with a few exceptions, but intensely interesting. She is one of the strongest female characters that I’ve read in quite a while and I found myself completely entranced in her story and routing for her all the way. She is no vapid ingénue and there is no greedy, gold-loving king.

The story is complex, magical, dark and deep. There is whimsy, romance, normalcy, struggles and of course, a curse. There’s a mill to save and the lives that are entangled in it. It’s more than just a mill; it’s the town that depends on it. The story is set in the England of the pre-industrial revolution age and it resonates with whispers of big conglomerates taking over the small business owners of today.

This is tight writing. Each paragraph is well crafted and fluid. The book had me on the edge of my seat throughout and I could not put it down. Highly recommended!

Book Description from the Publisher:

"If you'll allow me to demonstrate, I do think I could be of some help to you here."

I smiled tightly. "You'd have to be able to make gold appear from thin air to be much help to us now, I'm afraid."

"Gold, you say?" he said quietly. "Well, not out of the air, maybe, but--" He reached toward Rosie and drew a length of straw free from her hat. From out of a pocket in his jacket appeared an old-fashioned handheld drop spindle, the kind no one uses anymore, and he sent it spinning with a turn of his hand. Slowly, as we watched, he drew out the straw and spun it--spun it!

As if it were a roving of wool! Rosie and I stood there and watched him, moment by moment, as the spindle bobbed and twirled. Something pulled out from the brown straw and through his knobby fingers, and where it should have gone onto the spindle, the finest strands of gleaming gold threads appeared. Round and round the spindle went, and the gleaming of gold turned with it. I don't know how long we watched it, turning and turning, flashing gold with every revolution. I could not take my eyes away.

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