A Simple Spinner, A Tangled Web

This book is a 2008 Cybils Finalist for Fantasy and Science Fiction.
All Charlotte Miller needs is a break — just one little break which will allow her to get ahead, to put the mistakes of her dreamy father behind her. He’s run the mill into the ground, with his wild inventions and inattention to the day to day business of wool buying and spinning, and it’s up to the last of his line — his two daughters, Charlotte and Rosellen — to see that the village still has its mill, the millwrights still have their jobs, and that they can keep their land, their lives and their livelihood intact.

All Charlotte and Rosie need is a little break… and Jack Spinner gives them one. He’s just there… so helpful. So handy with a little piece of straw. But what does he really want, in return for all of that gold thread? Surely not just Charlotte’s ring?

It’s not just Jack who’s willing to help the Miller girls, however. Mr. Mordant, the dyeman, has words of advice — silly, superstitious stuff — that he’s always dispensing. Biddy Tom, the wise woman, makes terse comments that make Charlotte roll her eyes. Even the banker who came to collect on her loan turned out to be helpful — a lovely man with lovely eyes who finds he loves Charlotte and wants to help her forever.

So, how come things at Miller & Sons are still so… horrible? Signs fall from posts and smack people in the head, the mill wheel freezes and the axle snaps, workmen fall from ladders, and someone ruins a dye lot, then burns down the wool shed. Is the mill really cursed? And if so, what can anybody do?

Readers who love fairytale re-tellings will be pleased with the author’s ability to sketch sinister shadows and create mystery out of a familiar story. If you’ve ever wondered “what if” or “why” about this particular fairytale, this book might provide answers.

At times the reader may wish that Charlotte would listen to her instincts, take advice or, at the very least, confide in her husband or her sister or the village wise-woman, all of whom make themselves available to her. However, the much-described Miller pride prevents her. Still, as the familiar story also ends with a “happily ever after,” once Charlotte is dragged backwards through many a painful and unnecessary place, peace is restored to her life as well.

The gorgeous cover, designed by Alison Klapthor, is the perfect fairytale touch.

Buy A Curse As Dark As Gold from an independent bookstore near you!

About the author

tanita s. davis is a writer and avid reader who prefers books to most things in the world, including people. That's ...pretty much it, she's very boring and she can't even tell jokes. She is, however, the author of nine books, including Serena Says, Partly Cloudy, Go Figure, Henri Weldon, and the Coretta Scott King honored Mare's War. Look for her new MG, The Science of Friendship in 1/2024 from Katherine Tegen Books.

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