Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce

Charlotte Miller is still in her teens when she and her younger sister, Rosie, are orphaned. The wool mill that they inherit is said to be cursed, but the girls grew up there and take on the running of the place. The entire village of Shearing depends on the mill for their livelihoods. The time period is around the start of the industrial revolution, with steam-powered equipment starting to make watermills obsolete. Bad luck seems to hound the Millers and their mill. Charlotte refuses to believe in a curse, but things get stranger and harder to explain. And how can she explain away something she witnesses with her own eyes? A little man demonstrates an answer to her financial troubles by spinning straw into gold.

A creepy and satisfying retelling of the Rumplestiltskin tale. Grade 7 - up. See also other versions: The Witch's Boy (Michael Gruber); Spinners (Donna Jo Napoli); Straw into Gold (Gary Schmidt); The Rumplestiltskin Problem (Vivian Vande Velde).

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