Arthur A. Levine Books, 2008
YA; Fairy Tale Adaptations
Summary: A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Charlotte Miller, along with her younger sister, is the last of the Millers and she is desperate to protect the mill which is the lifeblood of their small town. She figures out one way out of debt by taking gold thread from the mysterious Jack Spinner. She falls in love and marries but later makes an awful bargain with Jack Spinner, her son or her mill? Does Charlotte have the courage to save all she loves?
Thoughts: I love retellings of fairy tales so I thought I would check this out. I especially enjoyed the author's note at the end mentioning how Rumpelstiltskin's name has become so well-known and powerful while the heroine is anonymous. That was the starting point for this version. Admittedly Rumpelstiltskin is not my favorite fairy tale but I mostly enjoyed this version.
Charlotte is a very determined main character; in some ways she reminded me of Jena in Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier. They both are bent on saving their homes and are working in their father's male-dominated business despite being female. I definitely admire her. I also really liked the supporting characters especially Charlotte's husband and Jack Spinner (the Rumpelstiltskin character) who receives a back story.
I also found the story somewhat scary. Now I may be a wimp or it may be genuinely terrifying that the mill seems to have a mind of its own. Additionally there is all sorts of magic flying around. But this terror I felt made the book even more gripping despite its length (Am I correct in stating that 400 pages is rather long for a YA novel?)
My biggest problem was Charlotte and her inability to trust her husband. She kept secrets from him, lied to him, and seemed to be trying to drive him away. *NOT SURE IF THIS IS A SPOILER BUT BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY* And when she does tell him about the curse and how she needs to fix it, he is totally supportive making her seem completely crazy for not confiding in him earlier. What is wrong with her?! *END SPOILER* .
Overall: 4/5. Good; I would definitely recommend it to people who like fairy tale retellings and I want to read more of Bunce.
Cover: I'm not sure about the girl's outfit but I love the font and I like her hands tangled up in gold thread.