Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Summary: 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.
I had some many mixed feelings about this book, I’m not really sure where to begin. I actually kind of liked Sophie, which normally I don’t really do the simpering female characters. But she had a lot of hidden strength and it came out when she really needed it. I liked that she actually used her brain and played it smart after a while, and it was a breath of fresh air to have her actually sit down and rationalize about everything that was happening and logically come to the conclusion that something bad was happening, no matter how much she didn’t want to. She was honest to herself.
However, in books like these, I can’t help but put myself in Sophie’s shoes, and as I’m reading, I just always think that I would leave. I would just run away immediately. So it always bothers me when they come up with some reason to stay, and I can’t stop thinking that she must be an idiot for not running. Now that being said, I’ve obviously never been in some horrible situation even remotely similar to hers, so my opinion doesn’t really hold much weight.
Now the romance. Right off the bat, I was never wooed by her godfather. Not for one second. Even if I hadn’t read the description and realized something sinister was going on with him, he still would have given me the creepy crawlies. So it was honestly hard for me to read all of Sophie’s romantic gushing thoughts about this creepy old guy. Then the second love interest guy just pops right out of no where. I felt like Sophie was just desperate at this point to prove she could love someone young and not creepy and rage filled who possibly murdered women in his spare time. I mean, she jumped all over that new guy and was head over heels for him in like three seconds. Eh.
I did really enjoy the story though and this time period and the writing and the undertones about slavery and the Underground Railroad was a nice touch. I liked the big old mansion she lived in and all the dusty rooms and secrets they held. The end was a little too anti-climactic for me though, and it felt like it was nicely wrapped up and topped with a big glittery bow.