I was especially intrigued by this bit:
"The first half or so of the book, it felt as though she had yet to fully engage with Jacob’s voice, but heading toward the climax to the end, the author’s presence totally fades into the characters and setting, letting them tell the story."
That's pretty perceptive, because I was aware myself of the stiltedness of the first 3-4 stories, being strung together as they were from the old short-story format, which has different pacing and demands of character development. The last third of the book, Horseflesh, was the hardest to rewrite and took the most revision, but once I quit fighting it, it settled into itself and flowed. Trace changed a lot between those first 5 stories and the end novel, because my understanding of him and the kind of story I was telling changed a lot.
This bit also made me perk up my ears, so to speak:
"it felt as though the author started, then shied away from, any romantic elements whatsoever. I realize romance is something some authors don’t want to be associated with, but this girl enjoys a great love story in any genre and at the very least a natural progression of romantic elements, even if it’s not the focus of the plot."
All reader responses to a work of fiction are to some extent a Rorschach test, but none more so than the romantic bits. All you folks who've read CURSE, I'd be curious to know what you thought of the romance in the book, or lack thereof. Did you want more? Less? Do you think Boz was right about Miss Fairweather having the hots for Trace? Comment below.