Saturday, March 9, 2013

ARC Review: Strands of Bronze and Gold (Strands of Bronze and Gold #1) by Jane Nickerson

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
352 Pages

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.


Do you see this cover? It's eye-catching and absolutely gorgeous. The coloring and the font? Sold. I immediately signed on for Strands of Bronze and Gold. I had extremely high expectations. After finishing, I'd have to say they were too high. Strands of Bronze and Gold has the makings of a horrifying thriller, but ended up being more like a festival of boring.

Sophia Petheram has been asked to join her godfather, a Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, at his home in Mississippi after the death of her father. She's always been fascinated with the man and accepts his invitation willingly. The longer she spends in Wyndriven Abbey, the more of Cressac's past appears. She hears rumors of several wives and red hair, just like her own. Though he charms and attracts her, Sophie knows that Cressac's secrets may just lead her to destruction.

Strands of Bronze and Gold is a reimagination of the classic tale of Bluebeard. Excuse me while I had in shame because I'm never read the original. I honestly picked the book up because of the cover. I know, I know. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover… BUT LOOK HOW PRETTY. Too bad the content doesn't fit with it. A book that begins with a quote from The Brothers Grimm should be fantastically creepy and that was just what I was looking for. Too bad only the last eighty percent (minus the ridiculous epilogue) was creepy. The rest was the idiotic laments of Sophie. Honestly, most of the book was just main character complaining about her love life. The plot moved slowly, at a pace I probably would've enjoyed had I connected with the main character. 

It doesn't help that I can't figure out the time span of the story. The timeline is pretty sketchy--as is the era being written about. Half the time, I felt like I was reading about the Victorian age, but then we're told that we are in the South before the Civil War. There was a lot of head-scratching, though I did approve of Sophie and her family's belief in equality. That may have been the only thing I liked about them…

The main character is too insecure, too dim and too naive for my taste. I, more often than not, was annoyed by her. Sophie is a character that was written with the best intentions, but is extremely cringe-worthy. She acted rashly, irrationally and didn't seem to have a smart bone in her body. The book would've been much better had it been written from the perspective of Bernard, or Bernie as Jen and I so lovingly call him. He is the only reason the story had some elements of eery suspense. Sophie's siblings did little to enhance the story. In fact, I loathed them almost immediately. I can understand needing help, but they way they push her around just angered me. And she let them! ARGH! Sophie lacked a figurative backbone.

Strands of Bronze and Gold was a real disappointment. I especially cannot get over the last chapter. Just when things were looking up, the finale ruined it. I don't believe I will be finishing this series--as much as it kills me to walk away. The frustration just isn't worth it.

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Netgalley.

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