A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce: Book Review

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A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce Book Cover
Title: A Curse Dark As Gold

My Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

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.

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  1. Books where all the trouble could be avoided if people just talked to each other are one of my pet peeves! I notice this most often with romances, but it can definitely happen in other genres too.

  2. Huh, interesting. I don’t see many Rumpelstiltskin retellings (though it’s not my favorite fairy tale, so maybe I just don’t look for them) so it’s always interesting to me to see what an author does with it. Sounds like

  3. Agreed on the rating you gave this book. I like hunting down retellings, and this one showed up often on the rec lists. The characterizations and the early parts of the book were particularly difficult to enjoy. Overall, not a bad book, but not *that* outstanding.

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