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READ PDF ⚡ A Curse Dark as Gold à Charlotte Miller Has Always Scoffed At Talk Of A Curse On Her Family S Woolen Mill, Which Holds Her Beloved Small Town Together But After Her Father S Death, The Bad Luck Piles Up Departing Workers, Impossible Debts, An Overbearing Uncle Then A Stranger Named Jack Spinner Offers A Tempting Proposition He Can Turn Straw Into Gold Thread, For The Small Price Of Her Mother S Ring As Charlotte Is Drawn Deeper Into Her Bargains With Spinner And A Romance With The Local Banker She Must Unravel The Truth Of The Curse On The Mill And Save The Community She S Always Called Home I was hoping for a bit romance The first half 5 amazing stars view spoiler through the proposal hide spoiler Let s just make this perfectly clear I loved this book Fairy tales retold are pretty much a sure thing with me, but this one s a humdinger You think you know Rumplestiltskin Think again.Elizabeth Bunce refers to her work as historical fantasy and she s dead on One of the main strengths of A Curse Dark as Gold is the setting The mill stands firmly at the center of the plot, and Elizabeth Bunce makes the place feel very real, right down to the last creaking board But the setting is than just the place it s also the whole community, the time, and the culture, which are cleverly modeled on the years near the beginning of the Industrial Revolution The competition between tradition and technology forms a smart backdrop for the Miller sisters struggles The author also knows a thing or two about the woolen industry, that much is clear I think it s a mark of how well done the book is that I didn t realize how much research went into the story until I d read the afterword Even though the story doesn t take place in a firm time or location, the author is very clear about what elements of industry and society are factual and what s been altered, and that goes a long way with me even in a fantasy.Yes, despite the realism of the setting, this is unquestionably a fantasy Much to my delight, the author goes about introducing the fantasy elements gradually When an author gets me firmly entrenched in a seemingly normal world before unleashing the magic, I m much willing to go along for the ride In the case of Curse, it s hard to tell just when the magic starts, and that s a good thing Strange happenings abound, but they re not blatantly otherworldly at the outset Is it a curse, or isn t it Are the townsfolk onto something, or is it just country superstition Even the heroine herself shows a good deal of uncertainty and skepticism, further helping to suspend my disbelief.Because let s face it fairy tales are full of gaps All sorts of improbable things happen with little or no explanation Now, I m not looking for someone to explain every inch of a tale and give me a step by step lesson in spinning straw into gold, but a good retelling like this one will have you half believing the story is possible Fairy tale characters also seem to get pushed around like chess pieces especially the girls A good retelling will also put a little muscle on those underdeveloped characters, and give them minds of their own True to form, Charlotte Miller is no wishy washy helpless heroine This girl s got some backbone and a head for business That s not something you find a whole lot of in the Brothers Grimm.Of course, a good chunk of the fun of retellings is wondering how the author will weave in the familiar elements of the backstory What will change What stays the same Sorry, I m not telling Instead, I ll leave you with these questions, which A Curse Dark as Gold will answer for you in March What did Rumplestiltskin want that baby for Why did the miller s daughter agree to Rumplestiltskin s price And most importantly What s in a name I bought this book expecting to fall in love with it, and it did not let me down It was an incredible story, and my head is spinning with everything I want to say about it.First of all, I was touched before the story even began In Elizabeth Bunce s acknowledgements she says And lastly, to my husband, Christopher, for always being there If I wrote you into a story, no one would believe you were real I think that is lovely, and I was in love with the author from the get go.On that subject make sure you read the Author s Note at the end I thought it was a fantastic addition to the story in itself She touches on several key points of her story, and I thought the notes were fascinating.Now the story I thought it began a tad slow, although I was in love with Charlotte Miller from the beginning From the first paragraph, she easily takes on the strong female lead role There are so many lovely characters in this storyeveryone from the witchy midwife Biddy Tom to the wool dyer Mr Mordant added such rich life to the story.Usually when a book begins too fairy tale like I get annoyed, but Curse has such a great mix of reality and fairy tale that it works The things that would normally seem like quite a stretch just work in this case I love reading a book with a constant cloud of suspense Through this entire book, you get the something is just not RIGHT feeling, and it intensifies as Charlotte uncovers just exactly what it is that isn t right She falls in love with Randall At first, he seems like a knight in shining armor, then his character begins to look a bit weak I wonder if that was on purpose I hope so , then at the end he really does help save the day.AnywayI m rambling Suffice it to say that I LOVED this story, and I highly recommend it to anyone that loves YA, fantasy, or fairy tale retellings. If you, like me, are hard pressed to find truly chilling gothic fiction, then A Curse Dark as Gold is not one to pass up As a re telling of Rumplestiltskin, this novel is haunting, poetic, and most importantly whole Out of all the fairy tales in the world, Rumplestiltskin is easily my least favorite After all, who really wants to read the story of a nameless heroine who later betrays the only character who helps her and winds up marrying the man who threatened to ruin her It simply doesn t make for good literature and, over, there is something grotesque about the dark underbelly of human nature that it manages to expose With A Curse Dark as Gold, however, Bunce has taken this flawed and largely unlikable tale and crafted it into a believable story, one full of human flaws, but also realistic virtues A Curse Dark as Gold is, as many readers will undoubtedly rush to admit, slow And yet, it is never cumbersome Bunce s writing is beautiful and as she builds for us the mythical village of Shearing, she also slowly writes the creeping tale of ill luck and curses that have followed the Miller family for ages Charlotte and Rosie, the two sisters of Stirwaters, are orphaned when this novel begins, but quickly take up the difficult mantle of running their late father s business As can be expected, a slew of new changes is in store for them, from their little seen Uncle Wheeler making an appearance to the discovery of thousands of pounds of debt their father hasn t paid and my favorite the introduction of Randall Woodstone, a banker As Bunce throws multiple hurdles at these two sisters, she also peels back the layers of rumors and superstitions that surround Stirwaters and the Miller family One of the only reasons this novel excels is because of Charlotte Not only is Charlotte a headstrong, self sufficient, and reliable heroine one who doesn t shirk responsibility and embraces hard work but she s also extremely pragmatic Charlotte refuses to believe in the Curse of Stirwaters, meeting challenge after challenge with a clear mind And yet, as this novel progresses, as misfortune presses down upon her, Charlotte slowly begins to fall back upon the hidden mysteries of her home that she has refused to acknowledge Where Bunce truly shines in her portrayal of Charlotte is in displaying the dual nature of her personality Every trait of Charlotte s that is one to be applauded her stubborn nature, her commitment to the mill, her loyalty to her family are all slowly spun in such a way to become her downfall and revealed to truly be flaws A Curse Dark as Gold is, as I mentioned earlier, a very slow, creeping read, one that builds its gothic atmosphere as the curse becomes and actualized in our minds As Bunce writes this atmosphere, though, she perfectly captures its effects upon her protagonist, rendering her a far three dimensional character than the nameless heroine she was originally based off of Bunce continues to strengthen the original tale of Rumplestiltskin through her interpretation of the dwarf himself Jack Spinner, a mysterious man who appears whenever Charlotte and Stirwaters are nearing their ends, is one of the best villains I ve come across I am relieved to announce that Bunce does, in fact, tie up all loose ends concerning Spinner s character by the end of the novel, and she does so brilliantly, instilling a level of history, sorrow, and depth to a villain we formerly may have thought to be forgettable And yet, what makes Spinner such a brilliant character is his ability to bring out the worst in the best people I love that Bunce took an innocuous device from Rumplestiltskin the dwarf s ability to prey upon helpless individuals, gradually increasing his payments and forcing their own hand at evil to stop him and brought it to life, even encompassing than before, to drive home the extent of gray matter that exists within everyone s hearts Nevertheless, A Curse Dark as Gold would fall seriously short of its mark of brilliance without its cast of secondary characters First and foremost, the village of Shearing is a force to be reckoned with Bunce makes this fictional environment come to life, with her accurate descriptions of the Industrial Age how I love a well written historical fiction novel in England and her lyrical prose More than that, though, her vision of Stirwaters a mill that provides for the livelihood of an entire village is given breath and air as these workers become just as dear to us as they are to Charlotte Stirwaters, not to be outdone by Shearing, comes with its own ghostly atmosphere, from hexes that refuse to be erased to equipment that won t work without the presence of a charm to ward off evil nearby Its owners, Charlotte and Rosie, are family that worm their way into your heart Rosie, though lacking the extent of responsibility that Charlotte faces, is no less admirable, courageous, and intelligent I particularly loved watching the relationship arc between these siblings, from their arguments to small gestures of love I would do this book an injustice, however, without mentioned my absolutely favorite character, Randall Woodstone Randall arrives in Shearing to collect the many pounds that Charlotte s father borrowed on loan from the bank Although he is easily dismissible at first glance, Randall soon continues to makes re appearances in Charlotte s life and their romance, though brief, is fitting for this time period What I truly loved about his character, though, is that he embodies the qualities that I seek in a worthy romantic interest loyal, intelligent, and respectful Randall allows Charlotte free rein of her business, never interfering and only seeking to support her Although my heart broke at the multiple hurdles they faced not always together I loved the progression of their relationship, from their realistic stumbles to their messy patch ups Bunce never allows us to view this couple through rose tinted glasses, showing us the stark reality of their relationship and the strain of both the curse and hidden secrets, but our patience and love for these two pays off by the end A Curse Dark as Gold, if it isn t already obvious, is simply not one to miss Although this novel firmly remains a re telling of Rumplestiltskin and a brilliant one, at that it goes on to encompass so much than merely that, from its history to its characters It reminded me, very much, of Jennifer Donnelly s A Northern Light. If you re a fan of strong heroines, one who can t necessarily fight to the death but ones who can stand up for what they believe in and fight in any way they know how for their families, then this book is for you If you re a fan of fairy tale re tellings, especially re imagined ones that only serve to better the original tale, then this book is for you And, most importantly, if you re a fan of courage, especially found in dark times, then this book is most definitely for you Just take my word for it Stirwaters is worth the visit very much so.