Strands of Bronze and Gold
by Jane Nickerson
Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance / Fairytale Re-telling / Horror
Ages: 14 and up
I received an ARC of this book from Random Buzzers as part of their Ambuzzador program in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Note: I shared an interview with the heroine, Sophie Petheram, here.
The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .
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.
strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this
breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.
This book is utterly bewitching. The author weaves a tapestry of magic and madness that is irresistible. Reading this book, I came to really admire her subtlety. Very little actually happens during the first third of the book, yet I was never bored and I kept getting this shivery sense of anticipation that something awful was drawing near.
The story starts with Sophie. She's a trusting girl, full of excitement about going to live with her mysterious godfather. When she first arrives, it is like she has entered a magical world full of delightful things. She's just a little spoiled, but in such an innocent, young way that you can't hold it against her. Sophie is also a girl of firm opinions, and even her godfather's best efforts can't get her to fully compromise her beliefs.
Into this sparkling house of wonder and beauty creep dark little shadows, slowly stripping away the glamour and leaving only unvarnished truth behind. And the truth is scary as heck. I mean, really. The story goes straight into the realm of horror, gluing your eyes to the page and removing any chance of sleeping when you're done. This book was amazing, but not for the faint of heart.
I would recommend this book for lovers of Gothic romance, horror and dark fairytales. If you're looking for an easy happily-ever-after, this is not the book for you.
Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).
I give it a 1.10 for some swearing, though no actual swearwords were used.
I give it a 4.10 for several references, an attempted rape and references to past rape.
I rate it a 6.10 for murder, attempted rape and other scenes of assorted violence as well as some gruesomeness.