Strands of Bronze and Gold
NEW this week!
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
4 of 5 stars
When Sophia Petheram goes to live with her godfather after her father’s death, she gradually becomes uneasy with his attentions to her and begins to question the circumstances around his prior wives’ mysterious deaths.
“In town, he’s considered a romantic figure, shrouded in mystery… The ladies admire him from afar, of course — or so my housekeeper tells me — the gentlemen, not so much. They call him Bluebeard.”
I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first started researching the tale of Bluebeard for Project Fairy Tale. Of all of the fairy-tale retellings, this one stood out to me as one that really told the story in a way that kept me up late at night flipping pages.
Aside from its new-take-on-an-old story quality, the setting of this story also drew me in — the pre-Civil War Mississippi plantation of Sophia’s charming godfather was a great way historical tie-in to show this Bluebeard’s wealth, influence, power, and — later on — to reveal his sinister nature. Although I normally don’t like ‘love triangles,’ the romantic aspect of this story is somewhat triangular in nature, though Sophia’s love interest really serves well as a foil to the villain, and has substance, character, and convictions of his own, instead of simply being a perfect, pretty-boy “rescuer” for Sophia.
I did, however, struggle through the first part of this book, since the initial Sophia that we meet is rather shallow, naive, easily flattered, and has no backbone of her own. This ends up serving well as we witness her growth, but for those first hundred pages or so, she irritated me quite a bit.
Overall: A compelling story that takes the two-dimensional characters of the Bluebeard story and makes them come alive.