My Rating: 4 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: Even though Jane Nickerson’s Strands of Bronze and Gold was a retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale, I wish the synopsis hadn’t stated so because let’s face it: if you know what the fairy tale is about, it definitely ruins the climax. Assuming you don’t know the gist of the original fairy tale, let’s just say that Strands of Bronze and Gold is a slow-paced, creepy (beware, it does take some time to become that!) tale with gothic elements, set in the South before the Civil War. Although its secondary characters were forgettable (which is too bad because most of them were POC characters), Strands of Bronze and Gold features a sympathetic protagonist, a well-developed villain, and a realistic depiction of abuse.
Sophie was a character that I found pretty easy to relate to. Having her father die, she leaves her siblings to go live with her godfather who she hopes will provide her with a better life and eventually help her siblings as well. Once at Wyndriven Abbey, Sophie forgets her beliefs for a bit as she adjusts to now living a life of luxury. Fortunately, Sophie is able to see past the glitz later on and realize that perhaps she doesn’t want the exact life that her guardian is living. Nowhere is this more evident than in Sophie’s treatment of the slaves employed by Monsieur Bernard.
Poor Sophie is unable to handle her situation with Monsieur Bernard so easily however. At first, things appear great, with Monsieur Bernard providing her with ample gifts. But, she soon starts feeling slightly uncomfortable as Monsieur Bernard occasionally begins hitting on her. Having developed a minor crush on her godfather, Sophie initially brushes this off and makes excuses for her godfather’s behaviour, but the reader quickly becomes alert to more troublesome signs in their relationship like Monsieur Bernard’s temper and Sophie’s increasing isolation. Luckily, Sophie realizes that her godfather may not be as charming as he appears to be and quickly outgrows her crush, especially once she meets the local preacher, Reverend Gideon Stone.
The romance between Sophie and Gideon was very much insta-love, and I couldn’t buy it because I think Sophie would have fallen for anybody that gave her some attention and treated her decently. As a character, Gideon paled in comparison to Monsieur Bernard, who could be charismatic in one moment and furious, dismissive and manipulative in other. You just never knew which side of his you’d see!
Strands of Bronze and Gold was released on March 12, 2013 by Random House Children's Books.
Comments About the Cover: It’s so pretty!
In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.
|original image from thegate.ca|