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Strands of Bronze and Gold

(Strands #1)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  6,082 ratings  ·  945 reviews
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 Wy
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Random House Children's Books (first published March 6th 2013)
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Kathleen Not at all =) There are some descriptions of skeletons but no waxing poetic about blood and gore. I don't like horror but this was just fine for me =D…moreNot at all =) There are some descriptions of skeletons but no waxing poetic about blood and gore. I don't like horror but this was just fine for me =D(less)
Julia It seems that it is the first book but I think it can be read as a standalone novel.
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Bluebeard has always been hands-down the creepiest fairy tale to me. I mean, the guy had an entire room chock full of dead wives! And they didn't pass away from old age or disease.
Then there was the new wife...
She's given a key to the room and told not to use it. Well, duh, of course she's gonna look!
And since she broke her promise to him... She must die!!!!
Alright, that's the really condensed version of the original, but you get the gist.

So, Strands of Bronze and Gold is a retelling
(This was supposed to be a joint review but Thea refused to finish the book. Yes. It is that bad.)

After the death of her father, Northern Sophie Petheram receives an invitation to go live with her godfather, the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, in his plantation in Mississippi. Sophie has always longed for a more comfortable life and for spending more time with her godfather – whom she has always admired in a secretive, furtive way – and is at first, elated at the prospect. And to begin w
Wendy Darling
I was fully prepared to love this book, but alas, I ended up with more of a mild liking instead. The idea of the Bluebeard fairy tale retold tugged at my imagination, and it's true that the writing is quite lovely in parts, as well as a bit startling in others once the story finally got going in the second half.

But overall, I was disappointed to find that this ended up being a more gentle fairy tale than I would have liked. The dark story of Bluebeard is full of seductive promise, danger, and h
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-e-book
4.5 Stars

I’m not usually drawn to historical romances, but I’m so glad I picked this one up because it was an exciting ride! Strands of Bronze and Gold was filled with mystery and opulence, and oozed suspense. I was on the edge of my seat for much of this read!

Sophie is a girl “genteel, but only in a theoretical way.” As she goes on to explain, theoretically she knows how to live a fancy life but in practice can’t afford it. This is all about to change when her father dies unexpectedly and her g
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I don't know why I've read this.

Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
What if Bluebeard were a wealthy plantation owner in the Antebellum South? I’ve never pondered that question before reading Strands of Bronze and Gold, but now that I have, it seems to me like Jane Nickerson picked the least interesting way of going about an adaptation. Rather than expanding on or exploring the source material as a good retelling should, hers is a version that does nothing but overembellish the original to the point the result is a book that’s extremely poorly paced.

I suppose so
I'm always on the lookout for fairy tale retellings that take on lesser-known and lesser-used tales, so of course when I heard there was a Bluebeard retelling, I was all over that. Fortunately for me, Strands of Bronze and Gold didn't disappoint. Jane Nickerson has placed the "Bluebeard" tale in antebellum South, using a Southern Gothic style to create a retelling that is gorgeously atmospheric and lush.
More on why I loved that, plus a touch of controversy, HERE.
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
So, truth: I didn't know anything about the Bluebeard fairy tale when I requested this book from Netgalley. I liked the sounds of a fairy tale retelling, I liked the title and the cover, and I thought it would be a pretty cool historical novel. And it is. But man, this was WAY creepier than I expected.

For me, this book started a little too slowly. It had too much description and not enough plot. The suspense was definitely built up, so much so that I found it hard to get into for the first hundr
Oh man. This fucking book. This thing. Uh. It was supposed to be so awesome. How do you fuck this up? How? A gothic fairy tale set in antebellum Mississippi? Oh my god. This concept could have made for my favorite book of the year. But no. I just got this.

The most intense feeling this book inspired was disappointment. This should have been so awesome.

So this is based on a very short and vague fairy tale with the biggest Mary Sue ending ever. I read it before because I thought, oh, it’s going
Trina (Between Chapters)
Mar 30, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at 44 minutes into the audiobook (6%) due to multiple racially insensitive descriptions.
Auntie Terror
3.3 stars. Rather mediocre, all in all.
”My godfather had referred to my hair as ‘bronze’ in one of his letters when I was younger- a letter featuring a delightfully spun story about a princess with tresses the shade of my own, strands of bronze and gold…”

4.5 out of 5 stars

What a deliciously creepy read. And I mean that in the best possible way.

I love retellings, but they are often hit or miss with me. There’s a certain balance that authors should maintain when it comes to this type of genre: there should be enough of the original
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
3.5 stars

A retelling of the Blackbeard tale, set in the antebellum South.

Sophia comes from the north, her mother died at her birth, and she was raised by her beloved father, a sister, and two brothers. M. de Cressac was there at her birth, and was so enchanted with her hair that he offers to be her godfather. Over the years, as the family fades away in genteel poverty, he sends Sophia numerous gifts and essentially spoils her from a distance. When she is seventeen, Sophia's father dies, and de
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, e-arc
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson - He wanted me to have only him

BookNook — Young Adult book reviews

2.5 Stars

Strands of Bronze and Gold was written well and certainly had interesting elements, but unfortunately the majority of the book was boring. The problem is that once Sophia arrives at the Abbey, Bernard doesn't let her go anywhere or do anything. As such, 95% of the book takes place in the Abbey. Sophia wanders around, has dinner with Bernard, and explores a little. And 352 pages of that just gets uninteresting really quickly. There are long, drawn o
Anna (Enchanted by YA)
I found this book so underwhelming; everything that sounded great in theory (Bluebeard retelling and all that) ended up working against it and simply put – I was bored.

The historical setting was interesting but not nearly explored enough with Sophia spending all her time in the Abbey because of Bernard’s ultimate control. That meant interactions with people were limited (the few she did have were eye roll-worthy. Particularly the insta-love where I honestly looked back to check to see if I had f
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
A Bluebeard retelling about a girl who is enchanted by her older, pedophile of a godfather that grooms her with pretty gifts and expensive favors from a young age and uses that to emotionally abuse, manipulate, and trap her into an unhappy situation.

Lots of self-righteous commentary about slave ownership by a white savior type of figure of a girl.

Writing is good but the rest of the book did not sit well with me.
Sara (Freadom Library)
This review was originally posted at

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This whole book just dragged on forever for me. It felt too long right from the beginning, there were pages given to huge descriptions of where they were living and I was just not for it. There were some exciting moments but those were few and far in between the creepy stuff and the generally boring stuff. It was just not for me.
Writing Style – 2 out of 5 stars
I think this was the biggest
Retellings seem to be all the rage now and Strands of Bronze and Gold is a nice addition to this genre. I had never heard of the Bluebeard fairy tale, so I started reading this without a frame of reference. There are differing opinions on this matter – some readers will prefer to have some knowledge of the Bluebeard story while others may not. About halfway through the book, I had to satisfy my curiosity and I did look up the story. Having a little background knowledge helped me appreciate the b ...more
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I got my hands on an advance copy of this novel and LOVED it! Well written with beautiful descriptive detail, it was an intelligent but easy read. The captivating villain (Bluebeard!) hooked me in the beginning and the well-paced plot kept me turning pages all the way to the dramatic ending. Set in Mississippi before the Civil War, I enjoyed all of the period details as well as the touch of the supernatural. As a reader of dozens of fiction books every year, I would highly recommend this as a mu ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful and intoxicating. I read this in one day. Echoes of Jane Eyre and Rebecca and of course, the Bluebeard legend, are woven throughout this beautifully written and thrilling Gothic mystery. Even if you already know the story, you'll be swept away by the masterful pacing and haunting prose. Tons of fun! ...more
Leigh Collazo

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: I allowed one of my 8th grade girls to read the first chapter of my ARC. When she finished the chapter, she said she was "already into it." And she is right--the story and Sophie's voice hooked me from the very first few pages as well.

I was consumed by this book, and I once again stayed up too late on a school night just to finish it. There are several plot threads outside the Bluebeard story--The Underground Railroad, a romance between two slaves, a mai
I am familiar with the story of Bluebeard. I read it when I was younger (which quite possibly scarred me for life), and I've read a few retellings of it through the years. But never like this. I didn't start this book thinking I'd like it a lot. I was certainly intrigued, but I had read some reviews, and there seemed to be some issues I was almost ready to dislike. And this is why you should never prepare yourself to dislike something before you face it yourself, because I thoroughly enjoyed thi ...more
Gabrielle Carolina
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bir12
I didn't mean to finish it. I meant to just read a bite, to make sure I wished to request a review copy in the coming year, but I kept turning the pages of the Kindle Ap on my iPad, and I hate reading on a screen.

For now, I'll just tell you the review (posted closer to the far-off release date) will be glittering with strands of bronze and gold.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-it, 2013
It was amazing. It was breathtaking. Intense. Beautiful. Dark and gothic. Thrilling. Scary. Heart-pounding (the last 1/3rd of the story). And then.. it ended. Very abruptly. I loved the entire book but was a bit let down by the ending :( But overall a fantastic retelling of the "Bluebeard" fairy tale!

Full review to come closer to the release date!
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
This is one of the few books this year I wanted right away. I was so happy to see it on audio and WOW is all I can say. I didn’t go into this book with any expectations because I really wasn’t familiar with the Bluebeard folktale. I started the book without any inkling what was to come. Part way through the book I did get curious and looked up the folk tale and it only excited me more for the book. If you don’t know the folktale you will need to look it up. It’s just creepy very creepy an
Plagued by an overwhelming icky-ness that I just couldn't shake

Book Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson
Narration: Caitlin Prennace
Series: Strands #1
Genre: YA, Historical, Retelling
Source: Audiobook (Library)

☆My Pick for Book Theme Song: Down With The Sickness by Disturbed --Because this guy is seriously disturbed and maybe his underlying problem is Mommy issues…

Ratings Breakdown

Plot: 3.2/5
Characters: 2.8/5
The Feels: 2.5/5
Addictiveness: 2/5
Theme: 2/5
Flow: 3/5
Backdrop (World B
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Strands of Bronze and Gold features one of my favorite villains of all time. Monsieur Bernard is complicated, eerily charming, sometimes sympathetic, and deeply terrifying. Some heroines might fade away when placed next to such a villain, but Sophie is her own kind of interesting. I loved watching her grow as a person as she struggles to maintain her own identity in the face of Bernard's overwhelming personality.

A few thoughts:

1. The writing is lovely. I never noticed a clumsy phrase or badly c
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
Jan 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Got around 70 pages in, but I was tired of the subtle derogatory terms used for PoC like "Negros" or comparing their skin color to food. Even if it's "true to the historical time period to use those terms", I'm not about it. ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I was really excited to read a Bluebeard retelling because CREEPIEST fairy tale ever amiright??Unfortunately i was bored most of the time reading this and i just couldn't care for the MC at all.The writing was very descriptive and i am not sure was that good or a bad thing haha.Last 50ish pages were semiokay,but i expected more tbh 🤷🏻‍♀️3,25 ⭐️ ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thought I was going to get your basic historical retelling when I picked up this book, but what I got was a beautifully written Gothic set in the antebellum South. As all Gothic novels do, this one starts with Sophia traveling to her eccentric Godfather's estate, as he is now her guardian. She is the only one out of her siblings that has been invited, but money talks, so off she goes to try to make a better future for her whole family. The scene is set with vivid descriptions of an old abbey-t ...more
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For many years Jane Nickerson and her family lived in a big old house in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where she was also the children’s librarian. She has always loved the South, “the olden days,” gothic tales, houses, kids, writing, and interesting villains. After a few years in Ontario, Canada, Jane and her husband have returned to Mississippi where Jane lives in a little old house and writes, mostly ...more

Other books in the series

Strands (3 books)
  • The Mirk and Midnight Hour
  • A Place of Stone and Shadow

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