Both she and I really thoroughly enjoyed it, and my review follows beneath the cut.
Review of A CURSE DARK AS GOLD by Elizabeth C. Bunce
The old mill at Stirwaters is rumoured to be cursed, but Charlotte Miller is of a more pragmatic mind. However, when Charlotte’s father dies, leaving behind nothing but debts and a failing business, it’s up to the last of the Miller girls to prevent their livelihood and their way of life from falling into the hands of unscrupulous businessmen. But one thing after another goes wrong and when Charlotte is at her most desperate, a mysterious figure called Jack Spinner arrives to help them weather their crises—but at what cost?
I’m a huge fan of fairy tale retellings: Robin McKinley’s BEAUTY and ROSE DAUGHTER, Malinda Lo’s ASH, Donna Jo Napoli’s ZEL, Gail Carson Levine’s ELLA ENCHANTED, etc. A CURSE DARK AS GOLD is the latest addition to the list, and the first retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
A CURSE DARK AS GOLD is a less literal version of Rumpelstiltskin than the likes of Robin McKinley or Donna Jo Napoli’s stories, but the elements are all there: the miller’s daughter, spinning straw into gold, the impossible price. But Bunce ties this up so elegantly that it stands as a work in its own right and can be read separately from the fairy tale. It’s dark and haunting and absolutely unputdownable (according to Safari, “unputdownable” is an actual word). Pacing, mood, themes—they’re all pitch-perfect.
My quibbles are few and far between, therefore I will rest with the simple recommendation of READ, READ, READ.