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A Curse Dark as Gold [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth C. Bunce
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 5.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; 1 edition (May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439895774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439895774
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 5 Feb 2008
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Since her father's death, the fate of the Miller family woolen mill and that of the Shearing village rests on Charlotte's shoulders. An unexpected and seemingly insurmountable debt leads to a difficult choice for the normally practical and levelheaded miller's daughter.

Must she take the offer of the strange little man who can weave straw into gold, or can she make her own way through the maze of ill luck and deceit that seems her family legacy?

Elizabeth C. Bunce's A CURSE DARK AS GOLD is worth its own weight in gold and then some. A folkloric re-telling beyond Rumpelstiltskin proportions, this tale weaves the best storytelling techniques into a fine tapestry of intrigue, drama, and romance.

The tight writing never wavers. Gorgeous, consistent language abounds, like, "I sank to my knees in a sea of crumpled flannel and pressed my hands into the sharp shale of the yard, as if bites from the stones could remind me of who I was."

And just who is Charlotte Miller? Certainly one of the most fascinating characters I've come across of late. If not self-confident at the beginning of our story, she is at least confident in what she knows: the mill cannot go under and the families of Shearing cannot be allowed to starve or scatter to the winds. As she is the only one around to prevent these happenings, Charlotte will do what she must to prevent them. And so she does.

As time goes on, and with Pinchfields Mill of Harrowgate nipping at her heels, Charlotte's choices become ever more difficult and the stakes are raised as she struggles through crisis after crisis. Charlotte's resolve to dismiss the very idea of the Miller Curse crumbles into a pile of wasted wishes as the harsh reality of the unreal comes to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What do you value and how far would you go? 4 April 2008
By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read a lot of YA fiction and upon seeing reviews for A CURSE DARK AS GOLD, thought that I would love it. However, I have just come to the end, having taken nearly a week to finish it, and I have to say that I am more than a little disappointed.

The story is a retelling of the fairy tale Rumplestiltskin. The main character, Charlotte Miller is a young girl whose fatehr has died, leaving her responsible for the wool mill which has been in her family for generations.
Yet Sirwaters Mill is not your average mill - although it is falling into disrepair, any attempts to fix walls or looms usually meet with unsatisfying results. Its almost as though the mill does not want to be fixed.
As Charlotte struggles to keep the mill going and finances coming in, more and more obstacles are put up in front of her, threatening not only her wellbeing but also that of her other family members and those who work for her.
When things seem to really descend into helplessness, Charlotte is visited by Jack Spinner, a man who can spin gold thread from shabby cloth. All he wants as payment for this service is Charlotte's late mother's ring - something that has little monetary value. Charlotte agrees so as to help others, not just herself, and this is where her fate is changed forever.

That is a basic plot. And, in essence, A CURSE AS DARK AS GOLD works well. The idea of value and people diving to depths that you would not usually contemplate in order to save themselves is a good one. If there was someone able to get you out of all the troubles that life throws at you, how much would you be willing to give up? But despite this promising idea, A CURSE DARK AS GOLD failed to keep me enthralled.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  65 reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! 23 Feb 2008
By Tamora Pierce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a dark, gorgeous re-telling of "Rumpelstiltskin," but it is also the tale re-shaped for a more modern setting: England at the start of the Industrial Revolution. The miller is a woman, and her worries are modern worries, such as debt and bankruptcy. Her mill keeps most of the village around it employed, and she wants to give her sister a good start in life. Worse, the mill, and her family, seem to be cursed. The characters, from the miller's family to the townspeople, are all interesting. I really liked and admired the hard-working miller and the bank representative who tries to help her. And this new Rumpelstiltskin is believable and scary. As I approached the end of the book, I was praying that everything would turn out well, and I wasn't sure if the writer could pull it off! If you like Libba Bray and Melissa Marr, I think you will love this book!
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 5 Feb 2008
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Since her father's death, the fate of the Miller family woolen mill and that of the Shearing village rests on Charlotte's shoulders. An unexpected and seemingly insurmountable debt leads to a difficult choice for the normally practical and levelheaded miller's daughter.

Must she take the offer of the strange little man who can weave straw into gold, or can she make her own way through the maze of ill luck and deceit that seems her family legacy?

Elizabeth C. Bunce's A CURSE DARK AS GOLD is worth its own weight in gold and then some. A folkloric re-telling beyond Rumpelstiltskin proportions, this tale weaves the best storytelling techniques into a fine tapestry of intrigue, drama, and romance.

The tight writing never wavers. Gorgeous, consistent language abounds, like, "I sank to my knees in a sea of crumpled flannel and pressed my hands into the sharp shale of the yard, as if bites from the stones could remind me of who I was."

And just who is Charlotte Miller? Certainly one of the most fascinating characters I've come across of late. If not self-confident at the beginning of our story, she is at least confident in what she knows: the mill cannot go under and the families of Shearing cannot be allowed to starve or scatter to the winds. As she is the only one around to prevent these happenings, Charlotte will do what she must to prevent them. And so she does.

As time goes on, and with Pinchfields Mill of Harrowgate nipping at her heels, Charlotte's choices become ever more difficult and the stakes are raised as she struggles through crisis after crisis. Charlotte's resolve to dismiss the very idea of the Miller Curse crumbles into a pile of wasted wishes as the harsh reality of the unreal comes to be. She is forced to play the hand that's dealt, facing sinister forces she once easily dismissed.

A strong protagonist indeed.

Every word counts in this amazing book. The language, while assuredly stunning and appealing, is never frivolous. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, and I eagerly await whatever Ms. Bunce wishes to put in front of me next, as it's sure to be delightful and satisfying if it's near the quality of A CURSE DARK AS GOLD.

It's only fitting that this novel be recommended for the Gold Star Award for Excellence and admittance to the TeensReadToo Hall of Fame.

Reviewed by: Julie M. Prince
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully written 15 Feb 2008
By Karusichan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Charlotte Miller is a young girl who just lost her father. She and her younger sister, Rosie, have just inherited the mill that has been in their family for generations. As far as Charlotte can remember their have been whispers of strange goings on at the mill, and likewise to he Miller family, that have been attributed to a curse. Charlotte finds this notion ridiculous and turns her nose up at the townspeople's more superstitious notions, but when events get more dire she begins to give the rumors a bit of credence, particularly so when an eldritch young man shows up at her door offering his services.

Part mystery, part fairy tale, part ghost story this ingenious retelling of "Rumplestiltskin" will have readers stunned from the word go. Bunce has certainly done her research with the workings of mills and the people from this period in history. The result is a strikingly written story that will have it's readers wondering what happened to the characters long after the close of the book. I enjoyed this story far more than I thought I would, and will highly recommend it in the future.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great except for the heroine... 29 May 2008
By Kaye Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Set at the start of the industrial revolution, Charlotte Miller must rescue her failing business. Her enemy is far worse than the bank with whom she is indebted or her fierce competitor, but a curse which snares her as it did the long line of Millers before her.

The prose and suspense is well-written and elegant. So easily I would have rated this novel with five stars, if it weren't for the heroine. I started the book rather liking Charlotte, but by the end she was irritating. Independent to a fault, she chooses not even to trust her husband who could have been her strongest supporter emotionally. Although in the end she confides her troubles, she still does not admit to anyone she needs help. She may depict a realistic character, but not a healthy one. I would have preferred that Charlotte was the secondary character and Rosie the heroine.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My New Favorite 12 Feb 2008
By Anidori-Isilee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wow. Read. This. Book.

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.

Read it.
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