A Curse Dark as Gold
Elizabeth C. Bunce
Arthur A. Levine Books
Rumpelstiltskin was never one of my favorite fairy tales. It never struck me as fair. Yes, the miller's daughter got to keep her baby, but she was still stuck married to that greedy, merciless king! A Curse Dark as Gold solves the problems I had with the original story, but unfortunately comes will a whole host of new ones.
I never really thought of Rumpelstiltskin as a "magical" fairy tale. True, the little man turns straw into gold, but in an age when it was commonly thought the right mixture of metal could produce gold, people turning straw into the precious material wouldn't seem like as much of a stretch. The only magical element to me was Rumpelstiltskin riding in on a flying wooden spoon.
Not so with A Curse Dark as Gold. Talk about curses, charms and spells- I was really quite surprised. The people of the town that the story takes place in are very superstitious, something the main character, Charlotte, shrugs off as foolish and silly. That, of course, did not bother me. What did was the fact that at the end of the book Charlotte discovers the magic and superstition to be real. The last few chapters are full of ghosts and magic and hexes and charms. Quite honestly, if all this magic had been at the beginning of the book I never would have read it.
This wasn't the only problem, however. The first half, while not offending my personal convictions or morals in any way, was just...boring. It was mostly about Charlotte striving to save her mill, and there was much talk about how the mill worked. Somewhat educational, but not something I found particularly interesting. I just couldn't get into this book at all. I wanted to like it...but sadly, this is not a book I can recommend.