A Curse Dark as Gold

LOTS of people have read and loved Elizabeth Bunce’s first novel, A Curse Dark as Gold. So I feel a bit like this is a “Me too! Me too!” type of review. No matter. I’ve read it. I liked it. I’m saying my piece. (I’ll keep it short).

Bunce offers a glorious remake of one of the creepiest fairy tales around: Rumplestiltskin. She sets the story in the period just before the Industrial Revolution, in a struggling mill called Stirwaters, which has been under the ownership of Miller & Sons for many years. However, there are no sons in the Miller family, just two daughters, Charlotte and Rosie, who’ve been left to sink or swim in the family business after their father’s death. Charlotte is the elder sister, and she feels the burden of this new responsibility keenly. To add to matters, there are whisperings that the mill is cursed and events seem to bear this suspicion out, as things start to go wrong at every turn. It isn’t long before the practical Charlotte finds herself caught up with her sister in mysterious, dark deeds and risky bargains.

I could say so many positive things about this book. Every character in the story changes and grows, and so every character is wonderfully interesting and real. The setting is evocative, and life in the mill and in the town is beautifully described. And if you’re in the mood for a few twists, you’re in luck, since Bunce is the twist-master. The best part of it all is that she uses the original fairy tale as a starting place only, building around the basic plot we all know to create a story that reads as a completely natural extension of the original. That can’t be easy.

This one belongs on the shelf with Shannon Hale’s fairy tale retellings. I for one hope that Elizabeth Bunce is planning to give us another historical-fantasy like this one. Highly recommended.

Read lots more gushing here:

Sarah Miller
Miss Erin
Bookwyrm Chrysalis
bookshelves of doom

And check out this creepifying book trailer:

(Can you believe that freaky carriage? Love it).

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7 thoughts on “A Curse Dark as Gold

  1. Cassie

    Darn it, like all YouTube videos, that one is no longer avaliable ;_; I’m really curious to see a trailer for this book. Glad you liked the book as well! I can’t wait to see what else Bunce comes out with.

  2. Cassie

    Oops, huh, when I tried clicking on it agian from your main page, it worked just fine.
    Nice trailer. Not sure if it would have sold me on the book though, it comes off as a bit more creepy and less fairytale than I usually like my books. But I can see a fan of any of Libba Bray’s books or victorian horror being immediatly attracted by that trailer.

  3. Em

    I liked parts of A Curse Dark As Gold but couldn’t get into the story as a whole. It’s fun to see what other people think about books though. That’s why I love blogging. :-)

  4. shelfelf Post author

    I agree that part of the pleasure of blogging is hearing all of the different takes on what you’re reading. It really makes reading a richer experience for me.

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