Book Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold

Book Review: Strands of Bronze and GoldStrands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Series: Strands of Bronze and Gold #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on March 12, 2013
Pages: 352 pages
Goodreads

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

You can call me morbid, but my favorite fairy tale of all time is the various Bluebeard tales. I have read the Grimm version several times and love when I find a novel rendition of the tale. As I started reading this one, I simply fell in love with the setting and the characters. Sophia is an innocent girl who is taken in by her godfather after her own father passes. He's a rich man and she does not want for anything, but she is nervous about the fact that he is a widower several times over and is unsure of his intentions at times. Her innocence really shines through right away, thinking the best of him until he starts showing his anger.

Set in Mississippi during the late 1800s, Sophia comes from a family that abhors slavery and she is appalled by the way Bernard keeps and treats his slaves at times. I thought this put an interesting twist on the story, making Sophia uncomfortable and at times angers Bernard with her views. When she starts to learn more about his past wives, she becomes suspicious and finds that Bernard may be someone to fear after all. But his wealth could do her family good, so when he proposes marriage, she's not sure that she can refuse.

I really loved the way this story played out. Many characters within the story have more significance than I would have thought at first and Nickerson does a fantastic job of interweaving the side plots into the main story. I also love Bernard, a charismatic and beautiful man who knows that he will get what he wants in the end.

Final Verdict:
A fantastic rendition of the Bluebeard tale, full of cleverness and passion that really draws the reader into the characters' world.

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8 responses to “Book Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold

  1. I am not familiar with Bluebeard’s tale, but I really enjoyed this book. The slowly building feeling of “Uh Oh, something isn’t right” was brilliantly executed.

  2. I’ve always been so freaked out by the Bluebeard story (Cinderella is my fave fairy tale) but I’m liking what I’ve read so far. The atmosphere is VERY creepy.

  3. I’m going to have to hunt up the Bluebeard story since, while I feel like I have a sense of the outline of the story, I can’t recall ever having read it! I’m intrigued by the 1800s setting as well; I hadn’t noticed that before, so I’m interested to see how it plays out. Great review!

  4. I’m glad you liked this! I had never heard of the Bluebeard tale before, so I went into this blind and I think I enjoyed it even more because of it! I loved how creepy and dark the atmosphere got when Bernard got upset, and I was constantly on edge, just waiting for him to snap!

  5. I recently finished this book on audio and need to get my review up. Great review. I really never knew the Bluebeard Fairytal so when I heard this was a retelling, I looked it up. it is very creepy and this book did an excellent job of bring it to life for me. 

  6. I don't actually know the tale of Bluebeard but this really makes me want to go read it, because so many love this book. I really like the way it sounds as well. I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'm going to have to pick this one up some time soon!

  7. Wonderful review!  You really convey what worked for you — the slow buildup of suspense, the suspicions, the atmosphere.  I've been wanting to read this book (despite the fact that Bluebeard is one of my LEAST favorite fairy tales!) and now I'm sure of it.

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