Happily drowning in books

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” -Logan Pearsall Smith

Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold

on May 5, 2013

Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson
Rating: threestars


“Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero”
Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.

In this retelling of the classic fairytale of Bluebeard, seventeen year old Sophia Petheram finds herself moving to Wyndriven Abbey to live with her godfather after the death of her father. He is a generous man; showering her with clothes, opulent gifts, and exotic foods, as well as sending money to her impoverished siblings back home. But Wyndriven Abbey hides a host of secrets. And Sophia’s godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, is more than he appears to be. As Sophia feels the oppressive fingers of the Abbey closing in on her, she struggles to piece together the mystery of her godfather’s previous four wives…especially once he offers her a proposal of her own.

What first drew me to this novel was the gorgeous cover. Even now I can’t help but stare at it! My emotions were really up and down with this book. The first eighty pages or so seemed to move at a snails pace, which left me feeling a tad bored. In fact I was almost loathe to finish it because I really couldn’t get into the story. But. After completing the novel I reached a different conclusion about this pacing structure. It really helped to detail the lavishness of Wyndriven Abbey and also Bernard as well. About halfway through the book the pace picked up considerably, to the point where I felt breathless with anticipation. I felt as if I were experiencing the story the same way Sophia did; amazed and astounded at the beauty of the Abbey and the generosity of Bernard, but with a sinking feeling of dread realized that there was a lot more going on beneath the surface. I felt like I was drowning under the seclusion and isolation that Bernard placed on Sophia. And complete horror and desperation once I realized what the secret was.

Only, it wasn’t much of a secret, as I am quite familiar with the Bluebeard fairytale. I almost wish I wasn’t because I think I may have enjoyed this story a lot more if that were the case. But I did enjoy the story nonetheless. The writing was good, no real complaints there, and the characters were really well fleshed out, especially Bernard. And the descriptions of Wyndriven Abbey were excellent! I really wished I could have lived there (without all the craziness of course). I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairytale retellings, particularly if they have never heard the tale of Bluebeard before. You are in for quite a treat!


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