Series: Strands of Bronze and Gold #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on March 12, 2013
Pages: 352 pages
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.
A fantastic rendition of the Bluebeard tale, full of cleverness and passion that really draws the reader into the characters' world.