A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Let me start by saying I haven’t really been keeping up with my reading lately. I do have to read my usual English Lit books, but, apart from them, I haven’t gone out of my way to a library or bookstore to take a look at what sort of books are out there lately. I used to be the biggest bookworm, with some book tucked under my arm wherever I went and a booklist I proudly wrote in every day. Stories were my life! But, I’ve been much too busy with the science half of my life these past few months (years more like) to pick up something to read just for the simple pleasure of it.

A Curse as Dark as Gold was quite good. I read it all in one day, mostly because I was afraid that if I didn’t, I’d be reading it while I was supposed to be writing an essay or doing a chemistry problem set.  I absolutely absolutely love fairy tale re-tellings and folklore or any sorts. And I’ve read my fair share of Rumpelstiltskin ones ~ all of them quite good.  A Curse as Dark as Gold seems to be set in the Victorian Age, where the Industrial Revolution was just kicking in. The main character, Charlotte, is from the Miller family, and she and her sister take care of the Stirwaters Mill, whose existence is the very centre of the entire town. The livelihoods of everyone, the Bakers, the Weavers, the Pennys, all depend on the the mill in some way. Charlotte and her sister have newly become orphans, as their absentminded father had just passed away. They have no brothers to take care of the family mill, and so they have to do it themselves.  Their challenges get harder as the story progresses, and along the way a dark mystery that surrounds the “curse” of their family line is resolved. There are really neat things like the eerie idea that the Mill was, in a way, alive – or haunted and all the country folklore about protecting against curses and faerie folk. The idea of a house whose every sigh and creak seems alive is not new, but it’s such a tantalizing idea anyway. I kept thinking of the movie “Monster House” every time Elizabeth Bunce wrote about how the house refused to open the doors or be fixed up.

I picked this book up at the library. The Library. It was like visiting an old friend. You see, I almost never go to the library anymore. I get all my resource materials from on-line sources, and I don’t need to go to the library to study since I live on campus and it’s not far away from the main campus at all. But that Friday, I had to go for a dentist appointment (to get my teeth drilled incidentally), and after that, I needed comfort (it’s depressing to have to pay to get your cavities taken out, when you haven’t had cavities for years) and I was near a library so I thought I’d pop in for a few minutes. Of course, a few minutes turned into a few hours (five hours). I raided and pillaged the bookshelves with greedy delight, and ended up with over ten books in my lap. Of course, I didn’t have enough space in my bag to carry them all, so I had to drop a few (promising to myself that I’d read it one day). I read this particular book  sitting on the stairs at home, where the sun shines right through the big window.  And then, the day slowly waned away. I started this book late yesterday morning and finished this morning.  I feel a little guilty about that, not because my sleeping very late would impede my functioning the next day, but rather because I hate rushing through books. I like to read them somewhat slowly and relish the author’s writing style and images. But, like I said in some other paragraph, I wanted to be done by today so that I could  move on in my life. I’m sure this happens to everyone. I purposely didn’t bring the other books I borrowed with me so that I wouldn’t be tempted. Some people are addicted to drugs. Some to alcohol. Or even shopping. It’s stories for me.

Anyway, this blog entry doesn’t really have much about the actual book, just my happiness at remembering how it feels to read for pure enjoyment.  All in all, I think this was a good debut for Elizabeth Bunce.

Rating: 4/5 golden spools

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