Unhappy mythic pregnancy number 3 – though the focus is only on pregnancy if you happen to be pregnant yourself, I expect. And at least the pregnancy itself is happily come by in this one.
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce A couple of years ago, I talked about the problems with the story of Rumplestiltskin. Among these problems are why a magical being who can spin straw into gold would want a poor girl’s probably cheap necklace and ring. What would he do with a baby? Why does the girl treat so badly the only person in the story who helps her? And why on earth in a story about the importance of names does the protagonist not have one? This beautifully dark and ghosty novel-length treatment is yet a different spin on making the story make sense.
In a world on the edge of the Industrial Revolution, Charlotte Miller tries to keep her family’s small water-powered mill going in the face of brutal competition, a crushing mortgage, and what seems to be a curse on the mill and the Millers who run it. Though her Uncle Wheeler, newly arrived from town, is trying to convince Charlotte and her younger sister Rosie that running a mill is a highly improper occupation for young ladies, Miller boys never live to adulthood. The mill is the only employer in the village, and Charlotte is willing to do anything to keep it going. The banker’s representative, Randall, turns out to be a handsome and encouraging young man. When Rosie works a spell to summon aid, the skeptical Charlotte is nonetheless willing to give the little man who appears, calling himself Jack Spinner, the only memento of her mother for enough gold thread to meet the season’s mortgage payment. But of course that doesn’t solve all the problems. It is only as Charlotte is married and pregnant with her first child that she begins to delve deeper into the crooked history of the mill, trying to find out just why it is that all the little Miller boys die and how Jack Spinner is connected. It’s a quest that will pit her loyalty to the mill against everything else she loves, and time is running out.