A Curse As Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
In a tight spot, in an end of the road absolutely everything will be lost tight spot, who among us would not turn to the supernatural for help, even at an extreme cost? And if it works, would we not turn to it again if misfortune pushed us again to the wall? This is such a common experience it is no wonder it is a theme of stories in many cultures over the centuries. In the story of Rumplestiltskin, a miller’s daughter must spin straw into gold or her father will die. Talk about a tight spot. But a little man appears and spins the straw into gold for her. He asks for a necklace at first but eventually it is her child he wants. She saves the child by finding out the little man’s true name.
Elizabeth Bunce has taken the hapless miller’s daughter and made her into a real force. Strong, sensible Charlotte takes over the mill when her father dies and throws herself into the impossible challenge of overcoming adversity on every side. When all her options vanish, she turns to the mysterious little man who can spin straw into gold. But it is not only his name she must discover to save everything she holds dear; she must use all her courage to discover where her forebearers went wrong and she must make it right.
This is storytelling at its best and a wonderfully rich version of a very old tale. The spells, the magic, and the curse from the dead are skillfully woven into a warmly realistic tale of millers of cloth in the years before the Industrial transformation. As I was reading this book, I heard mysterious noises in my house differently and experienced fleeting moments where I thought I might be in the presence of spirits. No wonder I liked fairy tales so much when I was a child. They break open thin windows onto alternate worlds.
Girls from age ten to ninetly will love this book. It is an advanced read for younger girls and though fairly scarey, has nothing that would be inappropriate for younger readers.