This book was actually recommended to me by a friend who knows how much I like fairy tales and retellings of classic old stories, and I’m really glad I took her up on her suggestion. A Curse Dark as Gold follows young Charlotte and Rosie Miller as they take over for their deceased father running the local mill. But this isn’t your ordinary mill if you look close enough. The Stirwaters mill has a curse on it. A curse that goes back for generations. There have been so many incidents that the people of the town of Shearing have just learned to go with the flow. And it looks like even with Charlotte heading the helm, the curse still exists.
It begins with the appearance of Charlotte and Rosie’s uncle. Things seem to go wrong and he keeps trying to convince them to cut their losses and sell. But they refuse, even when Randall Woodstone from the bank shows up with grave news that their father took out a mortgage on the mill. With his passing the payments fall to them, but because of their gender the bank isn’t comfortable with the 10 year plan and want their money NOW. Pinning all their hopes on selling their goods at market, their hopes are dashed when it is revealed they have been banned from selling due to poor paperwork. Charlotte is desperate and Rosie seeing no other way summon a spirit to help them out. But it leads to more than they bargained for and they have to find a way out before it is too late.
I don’t run into many re-tellings of the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. The only one I have seen is on Once Upon a Time and that one is really good. So I was wary of reading this book knowing that it probably couldn’t even come close. But I was surprised. Charlotte is a very strong character and determined even with all these odds stacked against her and when a saner person would have called it quits she keeps going on. Her uncle is a nasty guy and I had a feeling that he had a hand in what was going on with the mill and trying to sell it to a competitor the whole book. I kind of wished his ending was more sticky.
As for Rumpelstiltskin himself…well, Jack Spinner is different from his counterpart. He does spin gold for the Miller sisters to help them out with their first mortgage payment, but he doesn’t do it again. Instead the next two times he helps them out, it involves weaving cloth and using money to outbid a competitor for the mill. Not his usual tricks or his usual price either. Just trinkets that really hold no value except to Charlotte for his help the first two times. The third time he doesn’t name his price until he comes to collect. Interesting.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I was thoroughly entertained. This book had it all from the mystery to the suspense even to the romance. You couldn’t help but cheer for Charlotte throughout the book and I have to admit I teared up when the workers of the mill came to help Charlotte in the last twenty pages of the book. Now that is some dedication.
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