Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stand Alone and Shine - Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

This series on the blog is going to be more focused on stand alone books that were fantastic to me- four or five star books. Let's start with one of my favorites from the past month. 

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

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.

         I first picked this up at the beginning of the month, looking for a spooky read. I had noticed the beautiful cover on Goodreads and the idea of this sort of retelling interested me.This Bluebeard retelling certainly delivered! Strands of Bronze and Gold is a haunting novel set in an isolated abbey in the mid 1800s. The main character goes to live with her guardian after her father dies. Sophia is an interesting character. She undergoes some major character development as she first arrives a frivolous girl excited to see her wealthy benefactor. The relationship between these two was so complex I was amazed at how it had been developed within one novel. Sophia was an excellent narrator for her life at Wyndriven Abbey, and I loved the suspense that heightened as the story went on.
         Let's talk about Bernard for a second. He was an excellently written character, and part of what makes the drama in this story so intense. Whenever I was reading this, scenes with Bernard were always keeping me on the edge of my seat. You cannot predict this character, and he took an already fascinating and enthralling story to a whole new level.
        Some other key aspects of the book were the supporting characters. Whether they were servants or slaves within the Abbey, or those who were not a part of it, each character was unique and memorable. I appreciated the supporting characters because they really added to the atmosphere that was already eerie and strange. 
        I found this novel exceptionally well written with very interesting characters and a story that had me engrossed from the first chapter. I'd never read a Bluebeard retelling before and I enjoyed this story immensely. I gave this a 5 stars and think it is definitely a great read.

From the paper world,

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