Strands of Bronze and Gold

Strands of Bronze and Gold

by Jane Nickerson


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307975980
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 03/12/2013
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

For many years, JANE NICKERSON and her family lived in a big old house in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where she worked as the children's librarian at the local public library. She has always loved the South, "the olden days," gothic tales, houses, kids, writing, and interesting villains. She and her husband now make their home in Ontario, Canada.

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Strands of Bronze and Gold 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Steph-Marie More than 1 year ago
Background: Seventeen year old Sophia is used to being spoiled by her mysterious godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac. However when her father passes away she is given an offer she cannot refuse, to live with her godfather in his very lavish estate in Mississippi. He is a very mysterious and dark man and Sophia soon learns that her godfather may have more secrets than she bargained for. Nickerson creates a beautiful and exciting retelling of the famous tale of 'Bluebeard'. Review: I received this book in various formats, which was great. I could experience it in a variety of media formats. I started with an e-book, then received ARCs and an audiobook. I dabbled in all of them. I really enjoyed this story and had to put it down only to try to slow down my reading, I didn't want to miss anything or take any detail for granted. The plot is full of suspense, intermingled with spine chilling realizations and blood curdling non-gentlemanly actions. I found that Jane Nickerson's writing was a delight. It was beautifully composed and the historical elements only added to the ambiance of the plot. Sophia, our heroine, is a bit naive and stubborn, but soon realizes her folly and tries to assert herself within the household of M. de Cressac. Sadly, she finds out very horrible things about her, now, captor. The whole time there is a feeling of disgust with everything M. de Cressac does and it is NOT wrong to feel that way. I was not disappointed with his horrific character or the part he played, only that he did send shivers up my spine on many occasions. This may be a slow moving book for some, most of the suspense is in emotions and psychological rather than running, chasing, and such. I did not feel this way but was a little taken aback by the time it took to get to the plots apex, and when it finally did, I felt the book was immediately over... Overall I felt this was a beautiful retelling of a horrifying fairy tale.
Ray_Girl_the_Amazing More than 1 year ago
Strands of Bronze and Gold was a very enjoyable book. I felt that the main character, Sophia Petheram, was believable and entertaining, as was the story line. Unfortunately, I didn't really get into this book unil about the last hundred pages. The beginning of the book really seemed to drag for me, and in the beginning I found Sophia to be shallow and inconsistent. However, as the story grew I really felt like Sophia was growing as a character and she started to seem more real to me. In this story, Bernard was a character that was extremely easy to be sympathetic too, which made it easier to be sympathertic to Sophia's plight also. I was very glad that became Sophia such a strong woman later in the book--she really stayed true to her morals and her standards and she didn't let her situation ruin her spirit. She is a great example for young girls. This book had a perfect ending--it was a little predictable, but I was really surprised by how everything came about. Jane Nickerson took inspiration from the original Bluebeard story, but gave it a twist ending that I didn't see coming. Even though the book started off slow for me, I think the ending was worth the wait.
Emily_JVY More than 1 year ago
Just creepy enough.  Great historical setting.  Overall a lovely tale.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
Prior to reading Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson, I will admit that although I have heard little tidbits here and there about the story of Bluebeard, I never really took the time to sit down and read the actual fairytale.  So it was an absolute delight to be able to dive into this story with little to no experience in what to expect. Strands of Bronze and Gold tells the tale of seventeen year old Sophia Petheram who goes to live with her much older godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, after the unfortunate death of her father.  Thrust into the life of luxury, Sophia can’t believe the change that her life has taken, and how lucky she is to have acquired the affections of M. de Cressac, a man who has married four times in the past, and who seems to only have eyes for ladies who have red hair. But the sudden crush she develops for him suddenly changes after she sees the true persona of M. de Cressac.  His once kind and sweet demeanor changes to that of rage and fury and Sophia fears not only for her life, for the lives of those that she has touched. I will tell you right now, I have found a new favorite author in Jane Nickerson.  Her writing in Strands of Bronze and Gold were so completely addicting that I had a difficult time putting the book down.  I was easily able to experience the emotional highs and lows of main character, Sophie Petheram.  I was giddy and found myself also beginning to develop a little crush on one Bernard de Cressac. With his sweet words and gentle ways in the beginning, how could one not help but get caught up in his actions.  But after witnessing the way in which his moods would switch instantly, I also felt the apprehension and fear that Sophia would begin to experience while being around Bernard.  I found myself constantly fearing for Sophia’s life.  I was hoping against all hope that Bernard would never find out about Sophia’s secret meetings in the forest, or her nosing ways in the house. I found myself pleading alongside Sophia when she would beg her sister Anne to keep her mouth shut when she speaks up to Bernard, or when Gideon Stone came calling to the house while Bernard is away.  But I also found myself yelling at Sophia to get the heck out of dodge while you still have the chance.  That the signs are everywhere, and that she is being told by ghosts of the past to flee for her life.  I understand the need to provide for your family, but I couldn’t quite grasp the reasoning when even her family tells her to leave, that she does not. I also found myself rolling my eyes when Sophia, after being so careful so as not to be found out, leaves the keys in the door…I’m not going to say any more about that, but once you get to that part in the book, I know you will also be shaking your head.  Why Sophia? Whyyyyy? I found the book to be a thrilling read that had me glued to the edge of my seat, and had my emotions jumping all over the place.  I loved that the book had me constantly fearful for Sophia’s safety, and had a villain that I couldn’t help but crush (in the beginning of course…).  I also loved the incorporation of the Underground Railroad and the need to stop slavery.  I also enjoyed how there were many aspects in the book where things are not what they seem, and that those that you feel you can’t trust, are the ones that you can trust the most.  I loved the constant guessing game of which individuals amongst Bernard’s staff were ones that Sophia could trust. Fans of fairytale re-tellings and thrilling reads that will keep you up at night will completely devour Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson.
BethanyL More than 1 year ago
For some reason, I always forget how intensely creepy the story of Bluebeard is. However, I was very intrigued by Strands of Bronze and Gold even though it’s packaged as a retelling of a story I know resides in the scarier region of the fairy tale strata. Luckily, I enjoyed the book. Jane Nickerson does a fantastic job of creating atmosphere and setting, and her historical research into the time period of on-the-brink of Civil War Mississippi is fantastic. Her writing is rich with detail, from descriptions of fashion to food (but not in a George R. R. Martin way) to depression and loneliness to natural surroundings, and I found myself often impressed with her ability to write in a way that evoked the tone of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre—a book that the main character, Sophie, actually eludes to when she first arrives at Wyndriven Abbey—without it feeling like a retelling of Jane Eyre. A big reason why I enjoyed reading this despite my reservations is because Sophie is a nice mix of Jane Austen’s Emma and Louisa May Alcott’s Jo from Little Women. Sophie is young and naive with a flair for fashion and sumptuous fabrics, but she’s also smart, observant, and moral. As the plot moves forward and she realizes that her godfather is not exactly who she thought he was, she began to remind me of Sansa in the A Song of Ice and Fire series in how she comported herself—she realized she was trapped in her situation and that the only way to survive it was to patiently, politically play along until a decent opportunity to escape presents itself. Overall, Strands of Bronze and Gold is a beautifully, richly written retelling of Bluebeard that is well-plotted and well-paced. If you’re in the mood for something like Northanger Abbey or Jane Eyre, Strands of Bronze and Gold will definitely satisfy you.
book4children More than 1 year ago
If I was given only one word to describe this book, this would be it: captivating. From the moment I picked this book up, I could not set it down. I dragged it around with me for an entire day, reading while I cooked dinner and pretended to vacuum. I must admit that I didn't get much sleep in that 24 hours because I was glued to the page. I loved this book! It was beautiful and mysterious and dark and thrilling all at the same time. Bernard is so seductive and so creepy. He was fantastic. I found Sophia to be a very believable teenage girl. She chose to ignore the signs and feelings she had as she continued to make excuses for Bernard's wacky behavior. I'm giving this book 4 stars. The only drawback for me was that some of the descriptions got a little too long. Seriously though, if you are looking for a good young adult novel, I would recommend this! Parents: Some innuendo throughout the book, a bit of kissing, and one instance of attempted rape. It is pretty dark, but not over the top. The Cover: Love this cover! It caught my eye immediately and I was instantly intrigued. I have to admit that I am a sucker for a pretty cover.
Liviania More than 1 year ago
Sophia Petheram grew up poor but happy with her three siblings. When their father dies, she is invited to live with her wealthy godfather Monsieur Bernard de Cressac. Thus she goes to live in Mississippi, far from her home in the North, to live with a man she only knew through his extravagant gifts. Sophie is initially charmed by Monsieur Bernard, who offers her a life of luxury and indolence. She loves the pretty dresses and excellent food. However, there is a darkness lurking in Wyndriven Abbey. There are Monsieur Bernard's many former wives - all redheads like Sophie. There's his need for control and his temper. There are the slaves, something the daughter of an abolitionist finds intolerable. Eventually, Sophie cannot ignore her instincts and she begins to investigate Monsieur Bernard's secrets and assert her own personality. At first, STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD didn't have much to interest me aside from the setting. I love the fairytale "Bluebeard," but it seemed like the novel was moving so slow. I loved the descriptions of Sophie's new world and how well Jan Nickerson's prose evoked the oppressive heat of Mississippi, but it felt like nothing was happening. When a visitor comes to town and helps Sophie find her resolve, STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD clicked into place for me. Suddenly, the novel was working. Shortly after that moment, I fell completely in love with STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD when something happens to make Sophie realize the difference between idly crushing on Monsieur Bernard and having him return her affections. It's a creepy, quiet evil in a novel full of more theatric, Gothic evils. I cannot praise the setting enough. Nickerson manages to make the pre-Civil War South fairytale romantic and dreamy, but the sort of romance that has edges and dreams that turn to nightmares. Fitting, since "Bluebeard" is one of the most menacing fairytales I've ever heard. Nickerson does not pave over history to make the story work, but instead weaves the two together. Sophie would free all the slaves escape if she could, but she's mostly ineffectual. She's unfamiliar with the area, has no real power at Wyndriven Abbey, and there's no reason for anyone to trust her when she claims to want to help. And her efforts for one individual often make things worse for others. For those familiar with "Bluebeard," STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD will hold few surprises. Yet it's a story that always has the power to startle because it's so macabre. And Nickerson does a wonderful job of bringing something new to the tale. Sophie is not innocently curious, but haunted by her glimpses of Monsieur Bernard's evil and her strange kinship with his wives. I'm eager to see Nickerson complete her trilogy and transform more fairytales. STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD will appeal to fans of Sarah Rees Brennan's UNSPOKEN and Donna Jo Napoli's BREATH.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover and then when I realized it was a retelling of the Bluebeard tale from the Brothers Grimm there was no stopping me from devouring this one.  This tale, like many of the Grimm tales, is more dark, gritty mystery and less princess story. We begin the novel with the newly orphaned Sophie who leaves her siblings behind to move in with her godfather M.Bernard. M.Bernard is a widower who has no qualms about lavishing Sophie with ridiculously expensive and Sophie is quite content to have these gifts rained down upon her. Soon, though, M.Bernard begins to show his true colors and becomes possessive, jealous, and often times scary. As M.Bernard’s personality begins to unfold so does the mystery in the novel until we are left on the edge of our seats wondering what is going to happen next. The setting of this novel was scrumptious. Nickerson stayed true to the time period and location to the point where I myself could feel the heat of July in the south. The way she described the abbey made the rambling old building come alive for me. The characters acted true to time period and acknowledge when what their or another character’s actions were considered a faux pas.  I am not ashamed to admit that my favorite characters in this novel were the devilish M.Bernard and the sweet, earnest Gideon. M.Bernard was both charming and terrifying and I never knew exactly how I felt about it, which just made me want to read more about him. Gideon was a sweetheart and a true southern gentleman who cared more about making sure Sophie’s reputation was left untarnished than his own feelings. There was no love triangle as Sophie was aware of her own feelings for both men at different times in the novel.  Another fun facet of the novel was the involvement of the characters’ opinions on slavery and Gideon’s involvement in the Underground Railroad.  Overall Strands of Bronze and Gold was a fun retelling that had a great setting, intriguing characters, and random fun surprises.
TheLifeofaBookAddict More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I went into this story not knowing very much about the fairy tale of Bluebeard. Except that he was a mean, creepy, and  a pirate. Who doesn't love pirates? I was sold.  After the death of Sophie’s father, she receives a letter from her ‘godfather’ Bernard de Cressac; requesting that she come and live  with him at his home. I was a little surprised that since Sophie had other siblings, he only requested her. She was too enamored with him and all of the gifts and trinkets she was given by him.  There were times where I wanted to tell Sophie to get the heck out of there and run as far as her legs would take her.  When she does try to leave however, her efforts appear futile. And de Cressac creates even more boundaries for her. All too quickly her seemingly wonderful home starts to feel more and more like a prison.  What I liked: Bernard de Cressac was such an interesting character. He could be sweet and charming one moment, then angry and evil the next.  He is a fun villain to read about. What I did not: I thought that there could have been more suspense and the pacing of the story was a little too slow for me. It seemed to take a while  for something really attention grabbing to happen.  Final thoughts: Strands of Bronze and Gold is an intriguing story with a nice Gothic feel to it. Even though it was slow going at first for me, the story was  in no way boring. It was a fun and delightfully creepy tale. Fans of dark historical fiction stories /fairy tales might be interested in this one.  ** I received this book from Random House / Knopf Books for Young Readers exchange for nothing, but my honest review.** 
justbeccaz More than 1 year ago
Strands of Bronze and Gold is a retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale “Bluebeard,” set in Mississippi in 1855. Recently orphaned Sophia Pethram is sent to live at Wyndriven Abbey with her godfather, the rich and mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac. Confronted with his fluctuating moods, controlling personality, and mysterious past wives (all with hair as red as her own), Sophia tries to control her feelings for him as she begins to discover the truth about M. Bernard and his mysterious, terrible past.  She hunts down his secrets, and his hold on her tightens. Eventually, something has to break. First of all, I’d like to thank Randombuzzers (a.k.a. Random House) for giving me this opportunity and awesome ARC through their Ambuzzadors program. I apologize that it’s taken me so long to write my review.   So, when I first started Strands of Bronze and Gold, I wasn’t too impressed. I felt that the writing style wasn’t quite as polished or mature as it could have been, Sophie was bland and overly naïve, and M. Bernard’s actions were just completely over the top.  There were also a few details/references that I felt were completely unnecessary: M. Bernard’s beard having a “bluish” cast to it, Sophia’s copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and maybe the constant going on and on and on about her red hair and M. Bernard’s admiration of it. To simplify, it was moving pretty slowly. As I went on, I started to like it a bit more: the writing improved a lot (or maybe I just adjusted, I’m not sure), but M. Bernard’s flirting and overly controlling attitude and Sophia’s continued naivety still had me banging my head in frustration. I wanted to scream at her for being such an idiot for not seeing the signs that this was an abusive relationship.  Then of course, she finally figured out that something was up. That was when I actually started liking the story, because things were starting to finally move. From there on, things were pretty awesome: Sophia starts listening to her eyes and using her brains, M. Bernard’s nasty side has come out, etc. I was still yelling at Sophia for being an idiot, of course, but it was out of concern for her safety now (that’s always a sign of a good book).  When everything finally ended, I was very pleased. One of things I did like consistently throughout the book, though, was the setting; Jane Nickerson did a great job creating and maintaining the southern, pre-civil war atmosphere.  She populated it with a wonderful variety of characters, and while there were one or two times where I questioned the authenticity of clothing choices, everything else was absolutely wonderful. Overall, I thought it was a pretty decent book. It may have started out really slow, but it ended up being really great, and Jane Nickerson did a great job making me love and hate the characters.  Recommend: yes
Paperback_Princess More than 1 year ago
This book was so delightful and creepy that it kept me turning the pages. At first it was a little hard to connect to the book, there were so many decisions that Sophia made that I absolutely didn't agree with, but sometimes that is what makes your main character, that they make decisions that you won't agree with, but that is who the character is and you need to accept that. I read this book as an ebook, before I decided that I wasn't a fan of ebooks. I also dove into this book not knowing the tale of Bluebeard so I was caught somewhat off guard. Of course it wasn't hard to figure out exactly what was going on. As we saw little remnants of Bernard's former wives. Like stray strands of hair and old dresses. I was annoyed that Sophia couldn't let well enough alone, and had to keep pushing and making her own situation unlivable. While it was her persistence and curiosity that did make her stronger than I ever could have been. I think I would have just shut up and done what he said after having seen what his fury would have reigned down. I adored the introduction of Gideon and how he wasn't a typical love interest since he was a priest and all that. It added a really interesting dynamic to the story since she didn't even realize that she was going marry Bernard. There were so many creepy things that happened in this book, least of all was his housekeeper who really took the cake. All in all it was very interesting and I cannot wait to see what the next book in the series is going to bring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bluebeard is an odd fairy tale that isn't as well known as the Disney tales - and for probably good reason. So I didn't really know what to expect from this YA version of the tale. I was pleasantly surprised. The suspense was well done - even though I knew the secret. In many ways it reminded me of Jane Eyre - my favorite book. A very good historical suspense. YA or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Catching up on books I either started but taking a break from. And or will eventually finish. This was one of them. Hadn't heard of the Bluebeard tale before, but found this book to be a weird read. It did remind me of something Catherine from Northanger Abbey would read. I don't know, maybe it was the gothic elements or something. Anyway, like I said, this got weird at times and creepy, wow was it creepy with the Godfather. And the mystery reveal, while a little obvious, it was still, just creepy you know? Some of the descriptions were good, from the food and setting? And other times, it seemed slow but had a good buildup I guess. Pretty good at times weird, creepy, read. And that cover.
ABs92 More than 1 year ago
Loved the character and the story very Interesting and different. You really don't expect the end you just got to love a good book . Must read!
LiederMadchen More than 1 year ago
This book is utterly bewitching. The author weaves a tapestry of magic and madness that is irresistible. Reading this book, I came to really admire her subtlety. Very little actually happens during the first third of the book, yet I was never bored and I kept getting this shivery sense of anticipation that something awful was drawing near. The story starts with Sophie. She's a trusting girl, full of excitement about going to live with her mysterious godfather. When she first arrives, it is like she has entered a magical world full of delightful things. She's just a little spoiled, but in such an innocent, young way that you can't hold it against her. Sophie is also a girl of firm opinions, and even her godfather's best efforts can't get her to fully compromise her beliefs. Into this sparkling house of wonder and beauty creep dark little shadows, slowly stripping away the glamour and leaving only unvarnished truth behind. And the truth is scary as heck. I mean, really. The story goes straight into the realm of horror, gluing your eyes to the page and removing any chance of sleeping when you're done. This book was amazing, but not for the faint of heart. I would recommend this book for lovers of Gothic romance, horror and dark fairytales. If you're looking for an easy happily-ever-after, this is not the book for you. I received an ARC of this book from Random Buzzers as part of their Ambuzzador program in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Amanda_Jane More than 1 year ago
*I received a copy of this book as part of the Random House Ambuzzador's program* My Review: I have a hard time finding fairytale retellings that I enjoy, but I'm excited to say that I did really enjoy this one. Snow White, Cinderella... there are tons of those, but this is the first Bluebeard retelling that I've come across, and so far it's my favorite! This book had a Gothic sort of feel to it, as well as the fairytale aspect and a historical aspect. That sounds very complex the way I'm explaining it, but it was done really well! The gothic feel definitely comes from the Abbey (which I loved!). It was the perfect setting for a novel like this. It was beautiful and curious and just a bit odd for being in the middle of Mississippi.  Sophie was a pretty awesome main character. She wasn't perfect through out the novel, but she was smart and quick on her feet. Monsieur Bernard... *shudder* I love the way all the aspects of the Bluebeard fairytale were incorporated. They were pretty obviously there, but not so overdone that it wasn't a good story anymore. And it wasn't the only focus of the story, which was really awesome. There are other things going on in the story completely unrelated to the fairytale but very relevant to what's going on in the time period.  This book is an awesome pick for all you fairytale junkies, and it's a good one for fans of Gothic novels and historical fiction. And you don't have to like all of those things! I only like 2/3 generally, but I really enjoyed reading this book, and I'm super excited that I got to be on the Ambuzzadors' team for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not very far in this book but it is good so far. I dont like a couple of the things in the book. One isthat the author always labels Monsiur with a M. instead of just spelling it out. The last thing is that i dont understand a lot of the vocabualry because it is writen in another language, usually french, althougth i know some due to other books i have read. Otherwise it is a good book and i encourage other people to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago