Charlotte Miller is my new hero.
Not because she refuses to let a man solve her problems. Not because she tries so hard to save her family’s woolen mill. Not even because she steps forward with courage in terrifying circumstances. She’s my hero because she finds herself in a situation that is, by all accounts, dire, and never once whines about it being unfair. Though her story is a take on the classic Rumpelstiltskin story, Charlotte is no typical fairy tale girl.
When her father is buried in the first pages of A CURSE DARK AS GOLD, Charlotte is plunged into a world of hard work, broken down machinery, troubled finances, and ancient curses. Does she complain? Does she say, “How come I have to answer for the mistakes of all these men?” Nope. With pluck and courage, compassion and commitment, Charlotte forges ahead to set things right – no matter whose fault it all was in the first place.
We could use more heroines like Charlotte Miller – and more authors like Elizabeth Bunce, who weaves Charlotte’s harrowing story into a rich, colorful tapestry that’s difficult to let go of when the last page is turned.
I’m giving a presentation on historical fiction at November’s NYS Reading Association Conference, and I originally borrowed this ARC to note examples of how writers of historical fantasy weave factual details into their novels. When I finished reading CURSE, though, my notepad was blank. Not because there weren’t examples. There were plenty of them – from the details of the woolen mills of the early Industrial Revolution to the country folklore of that time. It’s just that I…umm…forgot to write them down.
That, my friends, is the mark of a great story.
*sighs, picks up pen, and goes back to take those notes*