Friday, April 19, 2013

Book Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Title:  Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author:  Jane Nickerson
Series:  Strands #1
Genre:  YA folklore retelling/historical fiction
Pages:  352

Rating:  B+

Synopsis from  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.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Creepy, suspenseful, and mysterious, Strands of Bronze and Gold is an interesting retelling of the Bluebeard folktale.  Instead of the story being set in France, where the tale originated, it now takes place in Mississippi, on a Southern plantation.  It's told from the POV of Sophie, the newest conquest of Monsieur de Cressac, as she leaves her home in the Northeast to join him.

While the writing is good and the setting beautiful, the story, specifically the ending, could have been better.  I felt like the book excelled at building the tension and the suspense.  I couldn't go to sleep without seeing how everything ended.  But the final climax and following conclusion don't live up to the rest of the book.  I guess I was expecting something way more spectacular and well-written, but it all happens so quickly that it just feels rushed and thrown-together.

It also would have been nice if the story didn't stick so closely to the original tale.  The biggest difference is the plantation setting and the anti-slavery subplot.  Other than that, the story is pretty much the same, just drawn out.

I still enjoyed Strands of Bronze and Gold though, because the characters have depth, the writing itself is good, and the tension is spine-tingling.  And I intend to read the next book in Nickerson's series (which is based on the Scottish "Ballad of Tam Lin") because it sounds cool, and I do love her writing style.  B+

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for commenting! I always appreciate reading what you have to say.