Strands of Bronze and Gold

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The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. 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. The writing is excellent, and the setting is very Gothic and dark. Just my style!

All of which makes her luck, determination, and eventual triumph all the more rewarding. With headstrong Sophia, handsome rake Monsieur de Cressac, and sweet, courageous Reverend Stone wrapped in a romantic love triangle; the glamorous Mississippi plantation as a cover for the somewhat sanitized horrors of slavery; and the increasingly obvious murder mystery; this will beckon readers of historical fiction, romance, and mystery alike. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer.

Ebook —. Also by Jane Nickerson. See all books by Jane Nickerson. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. I Am Still Alive. Kate Alice Marshall. Blood Will Out. Jo Treggiari. Twice Dead.


Caitlin Seal. This Story Is a Lie. Tom Pollock. We Walked the Sky. Lisa Fiedler. Girl Upside Down. Nicole Williams. Song of the Dark Crystal 2. Tides of the Dark Crystal 3. Lee and J. Jay Kristoff. The Virtue of Sin. Shannon Schuren. Karol Ruth Silverstein. The thing about Sophie and Sophia, though - you're not the first person to mention this, so I'm commenting.

I thought it was obvious but I guess not that her name was Sophia, and her nickname was Sophie back then, no way would they shorten it to Soph. Note: comments on posts older than 90 days are automatically moderated, so they won't show up here immediately. Thanks for commenting! Pages Home Contact. Page upon page of endless gorgeous, ornate description. A heroine who can be a bit of a twit, though I did enjoy the way she matures and strengthens. This book is so visually beautiful, but there simply wasn't enough to grab me.

I so wanted to love this one, and I'm kind of heartbroken that I didn't. The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. 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.

Love, love, love. Her beautiful hair, her delicate profile, the swirly, embellished bits, the antique coloring, the abbey in the background I mean, you get the whole mood of the book. This is serious cover lust here. I'm drooling. The story: I adore fairy tales. I will pretty much pick up anything that's a fairy tale retelling, particularly one that appears to have a darker, more twisted viewpoint, even on a fairy tale already as dark and twisted as Bluebeard , a personal favorite of mine. Strands of Bronze and Gold has been on my radar for a while , and I was so excited for it, which is partly why I was so disappointed by it.

Don't get me wrong; this is not a bad book. Jane Nickerson seriously has a way with words. The mood, the setting, and even the concept were wonderful. But it took me weeks to read this book. I never take that long to read things. I simply couldn't get into this one. I wanted to like Sophia, the main character, who claims to be dreamy and imaginative. But she never felt like a coherent character to me. She was dreamy when required, prudish when necessary, and so on. Sometimes she was naive to the point of eye-rolling.

I don't require my heroines to be perfect, and I preferred her when her own imagination got the best of her, and she got caught up in her fairy tale surroundings, but I never felt connected to her emotions. In first person, this is particularly problematic. I mean, you're living in the main character's head. In Sophia's case, it was a pretty head, but it seriously got on my nerves.

The largest problem I had with SoBaG was the abysmal pacing. How many chapters can I be expected to handle that do nothing but describe jewels, gowns, fabrics, armchairs, wallpaper, ceilings, floor tiles, armoires, twelve course dinners, horse rides, and on and on and on? I was going stir-crazy, I swear. I was enchanted by the descriptions in the beginning. Nickerson has a way with evoking luxury and beauty and implanting a vision in your mind's eye. There's setting the mood, and then there's drowning in it. I was like, "Can we get to the murdering and haunting and suffering, please?

I do not need to know the color and fabric and cut and life story of all twenty-seven of her dresses. Thank you. Also, that amount of sheer over-the-top luxury hanging out in the middle of Chicataw, Mississippi in just strained my credulity. The level of luxury present in Wyndriven Abbey, which is itself a monastery transplanted in full all the way from England, was really kind of absurd. A lot of it I just straight up couldn't believe.

And none of the luxury was disquieting enough. It felt like Nickerson was attempting that, but it didn't play that way to me. It was all too pretty, and Sophia was too enraptured by it all. Speaking of too enraptured Bernard, you are so eggregiously inappropriate, I can't even. On the one hand, I loved it.

I thought his character worked as a Bluebeard-esque villian, beguiling at first, but secretly Patrick Bateman on the inside. And so gross and touchy. Don't get me wrong-- I loved how wrong that all was. It was supposed to be. He was giving me all the squicky shivers, just as he should have. But Sophia was all, "Oh, my, he's so enchanting! Perhaps I ought to Carpe Diem, as my dearest godfather, who is always so fond of touching me, always says!

Why, I do believe I am in love with him, even though he's over forty, is my legal guardian, and has four dead wives all with my red hair. That's normal. It's all so magical! It's like sexual harassment, actually. Things really picked up once the creep factor got turned up. Once Sophia started to clue in on the fact that things weren't right, that's when I started to get invested in her. I expected creepiness out of Bernard, so I watched him mega closely for the slightest signs of psychopathy.

Which is why it is really frustrating when Sophia, an intelligent and articulate girl, doesn't see it at all. The thing is, we know right away that he's super shady, because we've read the back of the book and the fairy tale and he's got a hoop earring, for God's sake, and he for damn sure ain't no Jack Sparrow. My apologies.

Mild spoilers for those not familiar with the original Bluebeard tale. Nickerson doesn't actually expand the tale so much as deepen it, really, providing no new twist on the story but a lot more information. While I understand that the author was trying to build up the scene and the suspense, and that the overkill on the words and lists of things followed the opulence and too-much-ness of the place itself, I was like, "Please, something just HAPPEN.

That said, once I did get into it and the story started to move, I was quite engrossed. Sophie is a little bit too much of a swoony, fainty girl at the beginning, but she ends up being pretty sassy for a girl in the s, and I appreciated that her "feminine curiosity" M. Bernard's words kept uncovering cool things about de Cressac's history. I liked that de Cressac was a complex character who really made Sophie question her own ideas of what was right, and that the secondary characters were all questioning that as well.

View all 3 comments. I'm always on the lookout for fairy tale retellings that take on lesser-known and lesser-used tales, so of course when I heard there was a Bluebeard retelling, I was all over that. Jane Nickerson has placed the "Bluebeard" tale in antebellum South, using a Southern Gothic style to create a retelling that is gorgeously atmospheric and lush. View all 16 comments. Mar 30, Trina Between Chapters marked it as did-not-finish. View 1 comment. Feb 11, Madeleine rated it it was ok Shelves: read-gothic-novels , we-could-have-had-it-allllllll , read-fantasy.

Oh man. This fucking book. This thing. It was supposed to be so awesome. How do you fuck this up? A gothic fairy tale set in antebellum Mississippi? Oh my god. This concept could have made for my favorite book of the year. But no. I just got this. The most intense feeling this book inspired was disappointment. This should have been so awesome. So this is based on a very short and vague fairy tale with the biggest Mary Sue ending ever.

And short and stupid. No real moral. Just kinda weird. So it was based on what was already not a strong work. A major problem in this book what the setting, because clearly the author could not decide which one she wanted. So you have the Frenchmen, the English architecture, and slavery. This decision was so confused and convoluted, and you offer up potential source material that could have been amazing, yet the author un-wrote it out of the book.

None of the characters are southern other than the slaves, who get little presence other than this huge abolitionist subplot that kinda has to be there to make our protagonist likeable. We will get that that little bitch later. The setting should have been consistent. Just make the bastard southern. No way. We gotta outsource that shit. Rebuild an English Abbey in Mississippi, brick by brick. And so much of this book was description of the setting. Setting that had nothing to do with location.

Except slaves. That was the only thing that made Mississippi relevant. Why was this set in the south? The south played no role here. But chapter after chapter was dedicated to describing the house, the gowns, the furniture… and none of it fit the tone or setting. Italian frescoes everywhere. It wasn't charming or artistic, it was jarring.

Stick to the look of the setting you choose. Hang some creepy portraits. Give it a big-ass wraparound porch. Make Bernard southern. Speaking of creepy Frenchman, the fact Sophie did not high-tail it out of there within the first week speaks volumes of her intelligence. Oh my god, he stopped being redeemably charming immediately. I knew within the first hundred pages, even without being familiar with the source material, that he was a disgusting person.

I stopped liking him nearly immediately after he started getting pushy. So yeah, he definitely spirals downward, but he sucked to begin with. And four wives? Of course he murdered them! Why does this surprise anyone? Sophie, or Sophia- the author was indecisive on this one- is a flat, boring, stupid teenage girl who does not get the gravity and danger of her situation.

She had plenty of time to leave before it reached the point of no return. I could not sympathize with her, she was just too thickheaded and the author was trying so hard to make her be this strong heroine. Her love interest is boring. You need someone who poses no sexual threat when you have de Cressac licking wine off of your cleavage. I know the author was going for not your typical love interest, and maybe he had something more to him, but he is present in about five scenes of this book, and very little of it is discussing his true feelings.

And her family. Her fucking family. I was gagging. Not because I hated this choice but Sophie-Sophia just beats you over the head with how happy and wonderful it was to be poor. Then her family shows up and you wonder; how on earth was she happy with these complete selfish assholes? Could you ask your guardian to cover his ass? Can you ask him again? Ask him. Awful, awful people. Because he has money. So you could do a lot worse Sophie, suck it up bitch.

Then Anne starts picking fights with him once she realizes his controlling behavior is dangerous, and her sister winds up in even more trouble for it. And they abandon her on the other side of the country, still asking for money over their shoulders as Bernard forces them out of the house, leaving her alone with this threat. The only, only tension was caused by just how crazy de Cressac was. Because there were no holds barred there. You knew Sophie was safe, but everyone else?

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson | Books

And I liked that threat. That was the only thing that kept me interested. I had to force my way through this book. This book is a failed idea. And of course the setting is a nightmare of lost potential. I could not shake that image so then I had a German Frenchman stuck in my head which further confused everything.

I blame Django Unchained for the head-canon of misplaced German in the south. I cared so little about the character I had to amuse myself somehow. View 2 comments. Rather mediocre, all in all. Jun 03, Katherine rated it really liked it Shelves: owned , instalove-express , love-triangle , romance , coverly-love , young-adult , fairytale-retelling , mystery-thriller , historical-fiction. And I mean that in the best possible way. I love retellings, but they are often hit or miss with me. And with this sumptuous book, Jane Nickerson has masterfully been able to retell the Bluebeard fairy-tale while maintaining both the original story and its elements and make it all her own as well.

Sophia Petheram is a seventeen-year-old orphan living in Boston with her happy but recently impoverished family.

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Until one day she receives a letter from her godfather, Bernard de Cressac. One she arrives, Sophie is soon swept up in a world of luxury, excess, greed and deception as she soon comes to realize that her devastatingly handsome and exceedingly charismatic godfather is not what he appears to be. My God, is she good in that regard. Every time she described the interior and exterior of Wyndriven Abbey, I wanted to drop everything, pack my bags, and take a trip to the Antebellum South so I could find that magical abbey that she all but convinced me was real.

In the beginning, everything seems just a little too perfect; a little too pristine. A mirage of sorts that sounds and looks , too good to be true, just like the fairy-tale is based upon. The two main characters in the book, Sophie and Bernard, are extremely well-developed and have good character arcs. Especially a girl who worried about her complexion. Bernard does so many questionable things in our eyes, at least to Sophie that it almost seems impossible that Sophie is so damn oblivious to it. It was as if the world here was coated with glamour, as in some fairy tales, with nothing really as it seemed.

My God, is he creepy. We all know how his story goes; he has a propensity for women, but they all mysteriously die on him one by one. He was so handsome, could be so charming. I do with that the secondary characters who played a big part in the novel were fleshed out a little more. At times, it felt like they were sidelined for the sake of the plot and the two star attractions.

And for some readers, this book can be a bit uncomfortable to read at times, particularly when it comes to the characters casual dialogue about slaves and race relations. Not to mention that some of the side characters such as Odette failed to fulfill their purpose and were just sort of fillers for the story. Far from it. But the very qualities that made him unlike most fictional love interests endeared him to me all the more. Kindness in undervalued in written romances.

  1. Book Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson |.
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Bluebeard is one of those overlooked fairytales that society tends to look over, which is such a travesty. If you like your fairytales dark, twisted, and creepy, you should definitely read the original. With a plucky heroine, evil villain and settings to make you envy, Strands is an overlooked gem in the fairytale retelling world that deserves all the attention that it should be receiving.

Dec 17, Ashley rated it it was ok Shelves: arc , e-arc. BookNook — Young Adult book reviews 2. The problem is that once Sophia arrives at the Abbey, Bernard doesn't let her go anywhere or do anything. Sophia wanders around, has dinner with Bernard, and explores a little. And pages of that just gets uninteresting really quickly. There are long, drawn out BookNook — Young Adult book reviews 2. There are long, drawn out periods where I literally felt like there was no action and no plot development.

Sophia slowly learns that Bernard has a temper, but that's the only real sense of development. To some people, Strands of Bronze and Gold might be a creepy read, but I actually wasn't that creeped out by it. Maybe because I'm not a teenager and I have read much creepier adult books?

I also feel like the fact that it's advertised as a Bluebeard retelling worked against the book. I wonder if Strands of Bronze and Gold would have been more interesting if I didn't go into it expecting Bernard to be a creepy wife-killer. If I didn't know that from the start, maybe the ending would have been somewhat of a surprise instead of something I anticipated from the very beginning. My other main problem with the book was the insta-love between Sophia and Gideon. Sophia meets another man in the woods Gideon and after like two meetings they are already "in love".

That was hard for me because Sophia began to cling onto her 'love' for Gideon like a beacon in the darkness of the Abbey, but I couldn't relate to it or appreciate it at all. On the bright side, I did think that Bernard was an interesting character. He was easily the most dynamic character in Strands of Bronze and Gold. Since he had a temper, you never quite know which side of him you were going to get.

He could be sweet, charming, flirtatious, but also creepy, forward, demanding, controlling, and temperamental. But unfortunately, the dynamic characters stop here. The others were either uninteresting or popped in and out so much that I constantly forgot about them until they temporarily reappeared.

But the biggest downside of Strands of Bronze and Gold is just the lack of action. If it wasn't so darn boring, I feel like this could have been a great book. It certainly has beautiful writing and I did like the historical elements of it. There are some connections to slavery and the Underground Railroad that I quite enjoyed reading about.

But the fact that not much actually happened in the story is what makes me feel indifferent towards the whole thing.

I just had no connection to it. It took me over a week to read it just because it couldn't hold my attention. View all 4 comments. Aug 05, Anna Enchanted by YA rated it it was ok Shelves: coverly-love , almost-dnf , cardboard-characters , meh , super-ending , insta-love-alert , saw-it-all-coming , stand-alone , major-disappointment. I found this book so underwhelming; everything that sounded great in theory Bluebeard retelling and all that ended up working against it and simply put — I was bored.

That meant interactions with people were limited the few she did have were eye roll-worthy. Particularly the insta-love where I honestly looked back to check to see if I had f I found this book so underwhelming; everything that sounded great in theory Bluebeard retelling and all that ended up working against it and simply put — I was bored. Particularly the insta-love where I honestly looked back to check to see if I had fallen asleep for pages and it lacked any kind of action. Only the ending held my attention because things happened.

Unfortunately it was too little too late for me. To be honest I think it would have appealed more and been memorable had lots of characters died… This shows just how much love I had for them all! Sophie is such an ignorant character, which I might have been able to move past had she not also been bland. And she had so many chances! The reason she stayed was a messed up martyr complex, for money no less. Just no. That practically sums up my thoughts to Strands of Bronze and Gold — just no.

Mar 14, Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies rated it liked it Shelves: france , mystery , fairy-tale , religious-spiritual , ghosts , ya , historical. Sophia comes from the north, her mother died at her birth, and she was raised by her beloved father, a sister, and two brothers. Over the years, as the family fades away in genteel poverty, he sends Sophia numerous gifts and essentially spoils her from a distance. When she is seventeen, Sophia's father dies, and de 3.

When she is seventeen, Sophia's father dies, and de Cressac offers to take her in.

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She travels to his lavish mansion in Mississippi, rebuilt stone by stone from the old world, and is spoiled and given her heart's desire. She meets the slaves on the plantation and feels for their plight, and learns of his former wives they keep popping up one by one. Bernard de Cressac is alternately friendly and boisterous, then glowering and angry. He is extremely temperamental, but charismatic, and Sophia can't seem to stay mad at him for long.

He is controlling and sometimes cruel, she is not allowed off the plantation, and he later on gets her a French maid who follows her everywhere. His true nature is slowly revealed, and it's rather obvious since this is a retelling of Bluebeard, after all. The good: the writing and the atmosphere. The descriptions are vivid, the characters are vibrant. The bad: the story dragged on a lot towards the second half; I realize that the author needed to build suspicion on Bernard and make his actions gradual, but I really felt the story was about pages too long towards the end.

The firs half of the book The second half, 3. It was so slow by the end, I was pushing myself to read on. It didn't help that the reader pretty much knew what was going to happen, a good author would not have slowed down the action so much, or else put a twist in the ending as to not lose the reader's attention, but no, mine was lost. I also thought it was very preachy, and overly religious. There is an underlying message in the novel against slavery which is great, I mean who's actually FOR slavery?

It felt too long right from the beginning, there were pages given to huge descriptions of where they were living and I was just not for it. There were some exciting moments but those were few and far in between the creepy stuff and the generally boring stuff. It was just not for me.


Writing Style — 2 out of 5 stars I think this was the biggest problem for me. There was too much description and it was a little bit disjointed. It was simple but in the negative way where it feels like it lacked substance and excitement. It was just boring and it made it really hard for me to get through the book.

Our main character Sophie annoyed me right off the bat. There were some moments where I liked her but the majority of the time she was just stupid to be honest. There were so many huge warning signs flashing at her the whole time and she still had no clue and was just very passive and submissive. Bernard was just plain crazy. It was an obvious thing though, not only for me but for everyone else, except for Sophie.

I just wanted to shake her and yell at her. Emotionally view spoiler [I knew from the first chapter of this book that I was not going to like it. Why did I keep reading? So I could feel capable of rating this book appropriately and writing this review coherently. The plot was boring. We follow a young girl named Sophie who after the death of her father, moves from Boston to Mississippi to live with her godfather. Pretty simple in context but this is supposed to be a retelling of the fairytale Bluebeard.

So on and so forth, until a smart woman comes and manages to get help and kill him before he can kill her. That sounds really exciting and it leaves space open for interpretation but this retelling had nothing suspenseful about it. There was more time spent on describing the giant mansion and all the different dead wives, than on the actual retelling of the tale. There were a few subplots, dealing with the Underground Railroad and a minor romance, but there were more bothersome than helpful. I just wanted to get on with it.

Such an interesting fairytale but the execution of the book made it boring and annoying. Sophie was an idiot.

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