Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Retellings
Publication Date: March 12th, 2013
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Summary from Gooodreads: 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.
Review: The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover and then when I realized it was a retelling of the Bluebeard tale from the Brothers Grimm there was no stopping me from devouring this one. This tale, like many of the Grimm tales, is more dark, gritty mystery and less princess story. We begin the novel with the newly orphaned Sophie who leaves her siblings behind to move in with her godfather M.Bernard. M.Bernard is a widower who has no qualms about lavishing Sophie with ridiculously expensive and Sophie is quite content to have these gifts rained down upon her. Soon, though, M.Bernard begins to show his true colors and becomes possessive, jealous, and often times scary. As M.Bernard’s personality begins to unfold so does the mystery in the novel until we are left on the edge of our seats wondering what is going to happen next.
The setting of this novel was scrumptious. Nickerson stayed true to the time period and location to the point where I myself could feel the heat of July in the south. The way she described the abbey made the rambling old building come alive for me. The characters acted true to time period and acknowledge when what their or another character’s actions were considered a faux pas.
I am not ashamed to admit that my favorite characters in this novel were the devilish M.Bernard and the sweet, earnest Gideon. M.Bernard was both charming and terrifying and I never knew exactly how I felt about it, which just made me want to read more about him. Gideon was a sweetheart and a true southern gentleman who cared more about making sure Sophie’s reputation was left untarnished than his own feelings. There was no love triangle as Sophie was aware of her own feelings for both men at different times in the novel. Another fun facet of the novel was the involvement of the characters’ opinions on slavery and Gideon’s involvement in the Underground Railroad.
Overall Strands of Bronze and Gold was a fun retelling that had a great setting, intriguing characters, and random fun surprises.
Interested in winning a copy of this novel? Why not enter my giveaway: