Charlotte Miller's father has just passed away, leaving the wool mill that has been in her family for generations in her hands. Despite a staggering debt and talk of an ancient curse, the seventeen-year-old and her younger sister, Rosie, are determined to keep the establishment running--providing employment for many residents of the village of Shearing.
However, sinister forces at work are thwarting the sisters' efforts: a powerful competitor whose offer to buy their mill Charlotte refused, a mysterious vandal, an uncle with evil designs. When, despite her best efforts, it appears that all might be lost, a mysterious stranger who calls himself Jack Spinner enters the scene and offers Charlotte a solution to her dilemma. She accepts his proposal, only to discover that doing so requires her to pay an unacceptable price. Charlotte realizes that to save not only the mill but those she loves, she must accept the validity of the curse and act decisively to end it.
17th-century England, from common cuisine to figures of speech, comes to life in Elizabeth Bunce's debut novel. This imaginative rendering of the Rumpelstiltskin tale will keep readers on the edges of their seats until the last page has been turned. The story has all the right elements: beautiful language, a perfect blend of action and reflection, memorable characters, well-defined setting, and a satisfying conclusion. (Warning: once you begin this novel, you will find it difficult to stop.) Ages 14 up - Recommended by Basya Karp, Librarian, New York, USA