Thursday, March 7, 2013

ARC Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson
Publication: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 12, 2013)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD moves the Bluebeard fairy tale to the pre-Civil War South where it meshes nicely with the plantation lifestyle. The story is filled with gothic creepiness and a strong sense of foreboding—and ghosts

Seventeen-year-old Sophia is first pleased to be moving to rural Mississippi to live with her godfather. Her family life in Boston is uncomfortable. After the death of their father, she and her older sister and brothers are living in very reduced circumstances.

When Sophia arrives in Mississippi at Wyndriven Abbey, she is dazzled by her dashing new guardian and by the lavish gifts he showers on her. It doesn't take too long though for cracks to appear in the glittery surface. Sophia doesn't like that she is cut off from all contact with anyone outside the plantation. She doesn't like how the slaves are treated. She doesn't like the number of secrets that are being kept from her. Just how many wives has Bernard de Cressac had? She doesn't like Bernard's volatile temper and the accommodations she must make to keep from setting it off. 

When she meets a young minister in the woods by her home, she falls in love with him. However, she fears for his safety if de Cressac learns of his existence. After all, a slave who treated her kindly was taken from the house and sent it work in the fields of the plantation. De Cressac treats the slaves like animals while Sophia sees them as human beings. 

When Bernard first proposes to Sophia, she declines but he doesn't take her no for an answer. It isn't until he allows her family to visit and she sees the potential he has to ruin their lives that she agrees to marry the man she has come to fear and loathe. Sophia is much more than de Cressac ever supposes though. Beneath her young, naive appearance is a practical and courageous young woman who will fight for her safety and happiness.

This story will appeal to those who like romances, those who like ghost stories, and those who like some creepiness in their fiction. I loved the language in this one which swept me into the story.

Favorite Quote:
I learned that it wasn't just depictions of plump, puffy bare flesh that embarrassed me. I was also disturbed by spare, skinny, carved wooden African statues with exaggerated bits of their anatomy poking out. Or perhaps they weren't exaggerated? How would I know?  
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy of the book here

1 comment:

  1. OOoh nice review! I look forward to reading this one myself! Love a good fairy tale retelling! And Bluebeard was definitely a creepy one!


I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity. Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!