Book: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Genre: YA Historical Fiction with a gothic twist
I had no idea when I requested this book from NetGalley what it was about. Turns out, it's a retelling of the Bluebeard tale, a story with which I'm totally not familiar. Like, at all. So, even though it's a retelling, it was all new to me! (Which may actually be a good thing in the end.)
Our main character, Sophie, is moving in with her godfather after her father dies and leaves the family in financial distress. When she arrives, she is swept off her feet by the whole glamour of it all. He lives in a restored English abbey (that he had moved brick by brick over the ocean) on a plantation in Mississippi. This all takes place just before the Civil War, so we have the slave issue and the Underground Railroad as side stories also.
So Sophie is wooed and pampered by this guy who at first she is attracted to even though it creeps her out because he is supposed to be a father figure. But then, things change and she starts to get a feeling that all is not right.
Wow, not right indeed! Understatement! As she pokes around and discovers things, she starts to be "haunted" by the four former wives (all with red hair just like Sophie) who seem to be warning her to get out. Meanwhile, this guy's hold on her gets tighter and tighter. It begins to look very bleak indeed that she will ever be able to leave the house again.
Since I had no idea what to expect with this one, it felt like I was waiting and waiting for something to happen. It was slow for me in the beginning. There was a lot of building up the atmosphere. At first everything seemed cool, but it wasn't long before I could feel the sinister vibes. But those sinister vibes and foreshadowing and all that creepy feeling stuff went on and on and on and I was thinking, okay! I get it that something is not right! So, what happens next? Let's have it!
Finally, stuff did start to happen and by the end, I was totally caught up in the extreme creepiness that abounded here. So I loved that, and I loved the historical backdrop of a Southern plantation. That was an awesome touch. The writing was beautiful, if just a touch over the top descriptive.
And if I'm not mistaken, this is a stand alone "told in ONE book" book! That's something! (Scratch that, now I'm seeing that maybe there'll be a companion book? Of course.)
Bottom line: First half was okay, second half was quite exciting.
If it wasn’t so darn boring, I feel like this could have been a great book. From Book Nook
All in all, Strands of Bronze and Gold is a satisfying story that I will happily recommend to teens who enjoy a twisted, sinister tale. From Annette's Book Spot
If you don't know the tale of "Bluebeard," maybe don't read it beforehand. From Bookworm1858
The tension in this story is quite incredible. As mentioned, you do want Sophia to do something at times but it's also understandable why she is not. From Book Splot Reviews