{Review} Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
 Blurb: 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 review} 

First off, such a pretty cover! And I adore the title. It sounds very fairy-taleish. 

Bronze and Gold is supposed to be a retelling of Bluebeard, and it was, but it also resonated very well with Beauty and the Beast (but in this version, the beast is hidden beneath charisma and good looks). 

I really enjoyed the imagery of this book. The MC finds hair from the four dead wives of her current guardian (all in varying tones of red) and uses them to create the fire in her tapestry. A very apt metaphor that weaves throughout the novel (I let you discover exactly how yourself). 

It doesn't take long for our heroine to catch glimpses of the monster lurking beneath her Guardian's charisma. But she consistently ignores and explains them away. Then the ghosts of his former wives warn her. 

Just as she determines that she must leave, she finds herself even more indebted to her guardian--to the point that she feels she can never escape. 

I enjoyed how the escalating abuse is so realistically portrayed. The mask that an abuser can wear in public, making him/her appear charismatic. They isolate and erode the credibility of their victim until they feel they have no other option but to continue to endure the abuse. 

Another aspect I enjoyed was that our villain didn't start out that way. The death of his son and the betrayal of his first wife unlocked the madness lurking inside all of us. What emerged was a monster hidden beneath a veneer of genteel ways. 

I struggled a bit with how blind Sophie was. I would have liked her to be a bit more proactive and work to discover the truth. But she's actually a very well written waif archetype. 

Also, the ending was rather abrupt. 

Fans of historical fiction and fairytale retellings who don't mind a waif archetype will enjoy this foray into the life of a very sheltered girl and a very powerful, very twisted man.

Add to your Goodreads TBR pile: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13721341-strands-of-bronze-and-gold


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