Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Elizabeth Bunce created what I think is a fantastic new version of the Rumplestilskin story with this novel. Set in an industrial era, Charlotte Miller is trying to keep her family's woolen mill running after her father passes away. She and her sister Rosie are forced to deal with the mill's debts, their scheming uncle, the superstitions of the mill workers, and a mill that does not seem to want to run if it has a will of its own.

I have always thought the story of Rumplestilskin was full of gaps though this is not atypical of fairy tales. It is a story I have never read a truly satisfying version of, where the actions of the characters make sense. A Curse Dark as Gold absolutely did. Charlotte's desperation to save her family and their business clarify why a mother would promise to give her firstborn child to a sinister figure. Jack Spinner's past explains why he would care about children at all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Randall, Charlotte's husband, is wonderful. Their courtship seemed to develop in an appropriate way for the setting Bunce created. However, their relationship also demonstrates the potential destructiveness of secrets and lack of communication.

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