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Charlotte Miller and her younger sister Rosie are left in charge of the family’s wool mill when their father unexpectedly passes away. They’ve grown up hearing stories about the cursed mill but Charlotte has always dismissed them. Despite being an underage female heir, she’s determined to keep the mill, and her little village, running. But the Miller family’s bad luck gets worse and worse and Charlotte slowly starts to wonder if there really is a curse. Then one night an odd little man shows up in the mill, offering his services in exchange for a sentimental trinket, and Charlotte takes him up on his offer.
I really liked the first half of the book. Charlotte is feisty, if a bit too practical, and she’s creative in addressing the mill’s myriad problems. I wondered how the author was going to weave Rumpelstiltskin into the tale but she did it beautifully. The village of Shearing, like any self-respecting small town, is full of quirky characters. Most of them are just as loyal to Charlotte as she is to them. Everyone works hard and joins in the mill’s every success and setback. Or tries to.
Because Charlotte is ridiculously secretive. It annoyed me so much! She has a large, caring support system but she won’t discuss anything with anyone, much less ask for advice. She is young (maybe 16?) and apparently all the Millers are proud, but so much of the drama in the book could have been avoided if she’d just talked to someone. Her furtiveness gets worse throughout the book until she’s actively pushing everyone near her away. Had the audiobook been even one hour shorter, I don’t think all of this would have bothered me as much.
I largely enjoyed Charlotte Parry’s narration. Her tone perfectly fit the mood of every scene. My one small quibble is that Rosie, Charlotte’s sister, is supposed to be about 14 years old but her high, lisping voice made her sound about seven to me. It was startling when someone mentions that she’s getting to be “of marriageable age.”
My GoodReads friends have rated this book 4- and 5-stars across the board so this was probably just a case of the wrong book at the wrong time. Fans of fairy tale retellings should give this one a try.
If you liked A Curse Dark As Gold, you might also like my reviews of
- Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
- Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
- Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler
Buy A Curse Dark As Gold from Malaprop’s Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC