- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
- Format: Hardback | 352 pages
- Dimensions: 145mm x 211mm x 30mm | 454g
- Publication date: 12 April 2013
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0307975983
- ISBN 13: 9780307975980
- Sales rank: 275,576
"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.
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For many years, JANE NICKERSON and her family lived in a big old house in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where she worked as the children's librarian at the local public library. She has always loved the South, "the olden days," gothic tales, houses, kids, writing, and interesting villains. She and her husband now make their home in Ontario, Canada.
By Natalie 16 Apr 2013
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.
I received an ARC of this book from Random Buzzers as part of their Ambuzzador program in exchange for a fair and honest review.
By Rachel Long 04 Apr 2013
Strands of Bronze and Gold was a very enjoyable book. I felt that the main character, Sophia Petheram, was believable and entertaining, as was the story line. Unfortunately, I didn't really get into this book unil about the last hundred pages. The beginning of the book really seemed to drag for me, and in the beginning I found Sophia to be shallow and inconsistent. However, as the story grew I really felt like Sophia was growing as a character and she started to seem more real to me. In this story, Bernard was a character that was extremely easy to be sympathetic too, which made it easier to be sympathertic to Sophia's plight also. I was very glad that became Sophia such a strong woman later in the book--she really stayed true to her morals and her standards and she didn't let her situation ruin her spirit. She is a great example for young girls. This book had a perfect ending--it was a little predictable, but I was really surprised by how everything came about. Jane Nickerson took inspiration from the original Bluebeard story, but gave it a twist ending that I didn't see coming. Even though the book started off slow for me, I think the ending was worth the wait.
By Stephanie Turner 26 Mar 2013
Background: Seventeen year old Sophia is used to being spoiled by her mysterious godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac. However when her father passes away she is given an offer she cannot refuse, to live with her godfather in his very lavish estate in Mississippi. He is a very mysterious and dark man and Sophia soon learns that her godfather may have more secrets than she bargained for. Nickerson creates a beautiful and exciting retelling of the famous tale of 'Bluebeard'.
Review: I received this book in various formats, which was great. I could experience it in a variety of media formats. I started with an e-book, then received ARCs and an audiobook. I dabbled in all of them. I really enjoyed this story and had to put it down only to try to slow down my reading, I didn't want to miss anything or take any detail for granted. The plot is full of suspense, intermingled with spine chilling realizations and blood curdling non-gentlemanly actions. I found that Jane Nickerson's writing was a delight. It was beautifully composed and the historical elements only added to the ambiance of the plot. Sophia, our heroine, is a bit naive and stubborn, but soon realizes her folly and tries to assert herself within the household of M. de Cressac. Sadly, she finds out very horrible things about her, now, captor. The whole time there is a feeling of disgust with everything M. de Cressac does and it is NOT wrong to feel that way. I was not disappointed with his horrific character or the part he played, only that he did send shivers up my spine on many occasions. This may be a slow moving book for some, most of the suspense is in emotions and psychological rather than running, chasing, and such. I did not feel this way but was a little taken aback by the time it took to get to the plots apex, and when it finally did, I felt the book was immediately over... Overall I felt this was a beautiful retelling of a horrifying fairy tale.
USA Today "Happy Ever After," March 19, 2013: "Even if you've never read Blue Beard's tale, you'll enjoy "Strands of Bronze and Gold." Sophie is a very likable character, and readers will soon find themselves caught up in the intrigue and mystery right along with her...I'm glad, too, that Sophie was no shy submissive heroine. She's brave, intelligent and looks through the glamour. "The Mirk and Midnight Hour" is set to release in March 2014 and is about the legend of the Ballad of Tam Lin. The writing is excellent, and the setting is very Gothic and dark. Just my style!" Publishers Weekly, February 4, 3013: "Nickerson makes smart use of a lush, eerie antebellum Mississippi setting to add tension...Although the book moves leisurely, it effectively blends the fairytale world with the realities of Sophia's powerlessness: she's underage, impoverished, and female. All of which makes her luck, determination, and eventual triumph all the more rewarding." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2013: "Elegant prose and vivid imagery give this gothic retelling of Perrault's 'Bluebeard' an exquisite sense of place; the descriptions of the lavish rooms of the seemingly endless estate are entrancing, while the hints of unease--a name scratched in a bedpost, old paintings found in the attic, a decrepit chapel in the estate's cemetery--keep the tension mounting." Booklist, March 1, 2013: "With nods to such classics as "Rebecca "and "Gone with the Wind" and a setting that may draw "Downton Abbey "fans, first-time novelist Nickerson adds a strictly American spin to her version of the Bluebeard fairy tale. 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." School Library Journal, March 2013: "Nickerson makes a strong debut with this suspenseful reimagining of the Bluebeard legend that seamlessly weaves together elements of fairy tale, gothic romance, and pre-Civil War-era American history. Fans of Libba Bray's "Gemma Doyle" trilogy will delight in this gorgeously atmospheric page-turner." SLJ Teen, February 5, 2013: "Jane Nickerson adroitly weaves the threads of the 'Bluebeard' story into "Strands of Bronze and Gold" to create a spellbinding tapestry of mystery, romance, and suspense...A grippingly gothic tale, with a lavishly described and lushly atmospheric setting and likable heroine."