Monday, January 20, 2014
Strands of Bronze and Gold
As seventeen year old Sophie enters Wyndriven Abbey in 1855 Mississippi, she is awestruck.
Throughout her life she has always received expensive, special trinkets from her godfather Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, but for the first time she has now become his ward – now that her father has died.
It’s an opportunity for her to hopefully help provide for her brothers and sisters, who are at home struggling to look for work and livelihood.
Adjusting to the new lavish lifestyle at Wyndriven Abbey is not so much difficult as hard to believe. Her enigmatic, handsome godfather is generous with his affection and his wealth – when it comes to her.
She cannot deny she is charmed by his charismatic personality and admiration for her.
Yet as time passes… she begins to feel as though the mysteries of the past, the whispers of stories of her godfather and his numerous former wives – all with red hair like hers – are beginning to suffocate her.
Despite the affluence around her and the illusion of being given anything her heart desires, there is an isolation that Sophie is starting to see – and perhaps a trap.
Strands of Bronze and Gold is an atmospheric gothic mystery that crackles with the Southern heat from very early on. There’s a creepy, captivating, and delicately suspenseful air to it.
I’ve seen quite a few mixed reviews on this novel, but I have to say I felt it was truly an effective chiller and a realistic spin on the Bluebeard fairy tale – which in my opinion makes it more frightening.
Occasionally Sophie frustrated me as she forewent her principles or turned a blind eye to signs of her godfather’s less than kind true personality, yet I felt I could understand her position. Desperate to make a better life for her family, she continued to deny what was in front of her, hoping for the best.
Strands of Bronze and Gold was very intriguing – and pretty nerve wracking!
As in many horror/suspense stories, a horrifying turn of events causes one of the most innocent to suffer. I’ll just say that animal lovers go through this pain when reading all too often, and leave it at that.
Truly, this retelling was quite disturbing, reaching an unnerving peak in the last fifty pages that was very well done, I believe. In some ways it seemed to wrap up too quickly, but really I can’t say that Strands of Bronze and Gold was not an effective, scary retelling!
I turned pages with interest and apprehension, which is what needed to happen in a novel such as this. So, I definitely recommend it and find myself interested in future works from Jane Nickerson.