Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Strands of Bronze and Gold (Strands of Bronze and Gold, #1)Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold 
Author: Jane Nickerson
 Random House Children's Books
Publishing Date: March 12th 2013
Pages: 352
Genre:  YA Fairytale Retelling, Gothic Horror
Series: Strands of Bronze and Gold #1
Source: Audio


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...

This is one of the few books this year I wanted right away. I was so happy to see it on audio and WOW is all I can say. I didn’t go into this book with any expectations because I really wasn’t familiar with the Bluebeard folktale. I started the book without any inkling what was to come. Part way through the book I did get curious and looked up the folk tale and it only excited me more for the book. If you don’t know the folktale you will need to look it up. It’s just creepy very creepy and so was this book. From the very beginning my skin prickled with creepiness knowing that Sophie was in a very bad situation. I loved this book. It was everything and more for me. 

Sophie is a part of a family with 4 children. Two boys and two girls. When her father dies, her godfather (just saying that word gives me the creeps) takes her in. An older gentleman who has a huge house, plantation and abbey. He lives alone with his help and his slaves. He lives in Mississippi but he is French and he is “looser” with his manners than American gentleman. Sophie feels very honored and thankful at first, her godfather gives her lavish gifts and spoils her, but as time goes by she starts to feel things are very strange. He doesn’t let her leave the grounds, most of the doors in the abbey are locked, and she learns he has been married several times. As she starts to investigate she learns a terrible truth about her godfather and finds herself in danger.

This book was amazing. It was a little slow in the beginning but even at the slow place I was involved right away. The narrator did an excellent job for this story. The entire tone, voice, world building, everything about this book felt eerie with a bit of flair. I was taken in by the abbey, the elegance of the characters, the ambiance that seemed to flow from the pages. I was entrapped and didn’t want to escape. The writing was just beautiful, dark, and mesmerizing.

The world building alone is worth talking about. I am not a big fan of world building. I like it just enough to make me know where the story takes place. Overdoing it kind of bores me a bit, but the world building in this story blew me away. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the book nearly as much if the world building had been less. The author didn’t take a lot of time explaining little details or going overboard, but what she was able to do in just bits and pieces was fill my head with dark shadows lurking, creepy feelings, and things that go bump in the night to make me feel alive in the story. What the author did was truly amazing for me.

The world building was beautiful, but that alone would not keep me entranced… the characters were superb too. I loved the heroine and hated the villain. It was so easy to do. I want to talk about the villain, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, first. The way this character had my head spinning was incredible. From the very beginning he gave me the creeps. Before I even know the tale this book was retelling. He was so obvious creepy, but I still wanted to like him, then hate him, then I wanted to stab him in the eyeball a couple hundred times. He was the perfect villain… Controlling, smooth, manipulative, evil, crazy, charming, and even good looking… all rolled into a creeper. I just loved/despised him through the entire book.

The heroine was awesome. Sophie (love the name) arrived innocent, naive, hopeful, and a little nervous with her new living arrangements. Just 17 years old she was thrown into a life of elegance, glamour, and beauty in a very short time. She was taken by it all and yes she did miss some of the obvious clues that told of the demented mind her godfather possessed, but it was forgivable. For two reasons I looked past her lack of brains… she was new to this world and it overtook her and she did wise up and really she even tormented herself for being so clueless. Once she gets it, she becomes determined and fights with all she has. She had fire and even though her godfather tried to stomp it out, she held on to the very last spark and started a bonfire.

There is a bit of romance, but it is not focused on. I like the romance as it was presented. It was sweet and of course couldn't be, so it was also sad. The love interest is a very sweet, respectful, honest man and I liked his character. Unfortunately he wasn't in much of the book. The part he was in, I enjoyed.

So yes I liked the book. I liked the book very much and I will not so patiently anticipate the next installment.

It’s a great retelling,.. if you don’t know the original tale, look it up or don’t… it won’t make effect your enjoyment of the book. Its got mystery, horror, and bit of romance. Its good really so go pick up a copy, I don’t think you will regret it.


  1. Gothic horror fairytale retelling? I like the sound of that. Love and hate and eyeball stabbing - lol! I'm not familiar with this fairytale either, but it sounds very intriguing.

  2. Sounds like I need to pick it up. I've been craving something creepy. And what a great retelling. Something that isn't popularly known.

  3. Oooo. Excellent review. I agree completely. The very slow build up of tension and danger was great. I guess I didn't realize there's going to be more books. I'm all for that!

  4. I'm wondering if I might have enjoyed this one more as audio. The story kind of fell flat for me until about the last 20% or so. I'm still hopeful for the other books in the series, though. Great review...glad you enjoyed it.

  5. AWESOME review!! I know of the Bluebeard tale, believe I have read it some years back but can't be sure. But I do remember it!

    Cannot wait to read this one! I thought I won it in a contest a few weeks back, but the contest host has yet to get back to my emails asking if she ordered it or not. Starting to bonk myself on the head for asking for this one since I really want to read it! But I can't even get ahold of the contest host to see what's going on. A little irritating, but I understand things happen.

    But yeah, sooo cannot wait! This one sounds uber exciting! Although I keep getting weirded out that her godfather is so creepy and wants her for himself. I guess because in my family, our godparents are our family. Like one set of my aunts and uncles are my godparents, so thinking that a godfather wants to marry his goddaughter gives me the willies! But obviously I know it's not like that with all families!

    Still, great review! Really enjoyed reading it and really really hope my contest holder gets back to me so I will know if this book is coming or not.


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