When I was little, I really enjoyed the “Rumplestiltskin” story. I kind of worried about the baby – what would somebody like Rumplestiltskin DO with or to a baby?
A Curse Darks as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce takes the Rumplestiltskin, expands on it, and makes it more fantastic. The story is mainly about Charlotte Miller (“the miller’s daughter” gets a name!). Her family has, for generations, owned Stirwaters Mill.
Unfortunately, when Charlotte’s father dies, the mill is in financial ruins. Charlotte and her sister try to keep the mill from going under, but Charlotte is definitely struggling with it. To make matters worse, the girls’ Uncle Wheeler (their mother’s half-brother) shows up to “help care for” the girls – both of whom are young adults – and is pressuring them to sell the mill. Then, a man from the bank shows up and tells Charlotte that her father took out a loan, that it’s in default, and if she doesn’t pay up, the bank will take the mill.
Just when things seem at their worst, a mysterious man named Jack Spinner shows up and offers to help – he spins gold thread from straw. For this, Charlotte pays him her ring. The next time she really needs help, he makes cloth for her to sell, at the price of a very important piece of jewelry given to her by her husband.
The third time Charlotte needs help – and they are truly about to lose the mill this time – Jack Spinner agrees to help her. She says she’ll give him anything. He agrees, with the promise that he’ll be back for the payment at a time of his choosing.
Fast forward a while, and Charlotte has a son. Jack Spinner arrives to take her son. He agrees to give her three days to choose: give him her son or the mill. The entire town depends on the mill but her son… is her son.
This is where the book departs drastically from the story. I would tell you more, but it would spoil the book. Suffice it to say that the book is fantastic and I’d recommend it to anybody who likes historical fiction or fairy tales.
If you have reviewed this book as well, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the link to your review and I will add the link to this post.