Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold

Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson

Publication: March 12, 2013

Source: NetGalley

Publisher Summary:

A sweeping Gothic thriller based on the spine-chilling "Bluebeard" fairytale

17-year-old Sophia Petheram has been sheltered by her doting family all her life, until the day her father dies. It's 1855, and with no money and few options, she goes to live with her guardian, the mysterious Bernard de Cressac, at the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey in 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 woven around her. And when she begins glimpsing the ghosts of his former wives (all with hair as red as her own) in the forgotten corners and dark hallways of the Abbey, Sophie knows she's in de Cressac's trap.
With enchanting romance, chilling suspense, and dashes of the supernatural, Strands of Bronze and Gold is a compulsively-readable debut.
My Thoughts:  I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson.  Let me just say that I LOVE 19th century literature...I gobbled up the Romantic novels of that period when I was younger.  Gothic novels were so popular during this time period in literature and I have read every last one I could get my hands on.  Had I gone on to get a PhD in English, this would have been my focus for research and publication.  Jane Nickerson wrote a book that could fit right in with the classics such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights for the Gothic elements included.  This book is a retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale and is told in such a way that it made me immediately want to dig out my copy of Jane Eyre to reread that classic.  Not everybody is going to love this book as much as I did, nor will everyone appreciate the gothic elements as I did when reading, but I think this author deserves recognition for what had to be a very intentional decision to write using these elements.  I will absolutely be buying this one when it comes out and sharing it with everyone I know.

What I really appreciated about this book is how quickly I empathized with Sophie, and how desperate her situation became.  It would not be difficult to isolate someone like this even today if someone wanted to hold them captive.  The mind games that Bernard de Cressac plays throughout the book are stunning.  I have to admit that I am not familiar with the fairy tale so I am unsure about which details the author might have embellished, but this book is fabulous and not to be missed!

I would recommend this one to teens and adults alike, but especially to fans of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and other Gothic classics.

5 out of 5 Stars

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