Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Lavish, romantic and filled with Gothic flair, Strands of Bronze and Gold captivates its readers with a supernatural infused, fairy-tale story and a spirited heroine.

STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD is an inspired retelling of the classic fairy tale Bluebeard. Jane Nickerson has put a creative twist on the traditional story by changing the setting to historic Mississippi in the late 1800’s at the Wyndriven Abbey. It combines elements of romance, suspense, and lush Gothic descriptions and vivid imagery.

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Can Sophia solve the mystery to what happened to Monsieur Bernard’s former wives before it’s too late to save herself?

After the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram receives a letter from her godfather, the dark, and mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, inviting her to stay at Wyndriven Abbey as her new guardian. With her family in financial trouble, Sophia agrees to travel to Mississippi, unknowingly becoming a part of Monsieur Bernard’s mysterious plans for her.  Although Bernard is charming and debonair, Sophia can’t help but be shocked by some of his actions and fearful of the rumors of his previous wives, all with hair as red as her own.

An opulent setting, dark secrets, locked doors, and hidden objects.

One of the best features of Strands of Bronze and Gold is its lush setting and Gothic feel. Although the book’s setting is historic Mississippi during late 1800's, where large plantations and slavery were prevalent, its concept felt much more like a Gothic novel to me. The setting of the Wyndriven Abbey is a character in itself. It is full of dark secrets, locked doors, and hidden objects left behind by the deceased women of Wyndriven Abbey. The ground’s landscape contains hidden buildings and dark forests. Behind this beautiful and opulent setting, there is a feeling of foreboding and doom, not to mention ghosts.

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.
— Jane Nickerson, Strands of Bronze and Gold
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.
Jane Nickerson, Strands of Bronze and Gold
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Behind this beautiful and opulent setting, there is a feeling of foreboding and doom, not to mention ghosts.

Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, also known as Bluebeard, is darkly handsome, charming, and arrogant. He presented himself as such a strong and willful character, that I felt he was pulling me into the story. Knowing the story of Bluebeard, I was on edge wondering if his charm towards Sophia would change.

“Lucky Beauty. Her beast was a man in beast trappings. Far scarier is a beast in the trappings of a man.”
Jane Nickerson, Strands of Bronze and Gold

Sophia Petheram is the goddaughter to Monsieur Bernard and is sweet and naive at the beginning of the story but quickly realizes that not all is what it first seems. I enjoyed her character the most when she begins to piece together the mystery of Monsieur Bernard's past.

Jane Nickerson brilliantly weaves in plenty of doubt and suspension into this tale.

I don’t want to give too much away, especially if you’re not familiar with the Bluebeard fairy-tale, but I will say that in the beginning there is definitely some romantic tension between Monsieur Bernard and Sophia.  Bernard is a man of many faces and beneath his handsome veneer lies something we can't help but feel is sinister. There is also the presence of a certain gentleman that holds some of Sophia's attentions as well, making the romance, even more, tension filled.

Quisque iaculis facilisis lacinia. Mauris euismod pellentesque tellus sit amet mollis.
— Hope K.
“He rose, laid down his bow, and leaned the cello against the chair. He strode toward me, full of purpose. He took me by my shoulders, raised me up, and leaned my head back. He lowered his face to mine, and his mouth came down on my lips, hard, ardent, deep, his hands buried in my hair.”
Jane Nickerson, Strands of Bronze and Gold

I enjoyed the ending and thought it was an exciting, tension-filled, and a dramatic conclusion to Strands of Bronze and Gold.

Even though I was familiar with the Bluebeard fairy-tale, the novel's suspense kept me turning the pages wondering what was going to happen next. I enjoyed reading Jane Nickerson's debut novel, and look forward to reading more of her writing style.


Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Sale Date: March 12, 2013
Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Fairy Tales and Folklore
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 352 pages
Source: Bought
My Rating: 4 Stars

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.
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