The re-telling of a fairy tale is often an interesting type of a novel. Authors can take famous fairy tales and place them in different historical settings and add their own twists and turns to the fairy tale. Jane Nickerson did just that in “Strands of Bronze and Gold”, a re-telling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.
Pretty Sophia Petheram seemingly has all the luck. Blessed with a wealthy godfather and gorgeous red hair and fair looks, she ends up in a much more desirable situation than her siblings after the death of their father. Her doting godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Crassac brings Sophia to live with him at this sprawling estate in Mississippi and proceeds to dote on her. He gives her gorgeous dresses, a beautiful bedchamber, and constant attention. In spite of herself, Sophia begins to find herself drawn to her handsome and charming godfather until his darker side begins to show and his obsession for swirls out of control. Sophia begins to uncover secrets about her godfather’s past four marriages to red-headed beauties and stumbles upon something so horrifying that she begins to realize that her godfather’s generosity and feeling towards her coupled with her red hair are more of a curse than a blessing.
“Strands of Bronze and Gold” is a very unique novel. Nickerson does pay tribute to the “Bluebeard” fairly tale, but it is not a complete re-telling of it. Nickerson adds extra elements to her novel including Sophia’s blossoming romance with a young preacher named Gideon as well as setting the novel during the height of slavery and the Underground Railroad in the south. It makes the novel less of a re-telling and more of a unique novel inspired by a fairy tale.
The relationship between Bernard and Sophia is chilling. Readers get to experience Sophia’s initial attraction to this vibrant and dangerous man, but also get to experience as that attraction turns to fear and hatred. Bernard is charming and slimy at the same time, you can understand Sophia’s attraction and then disgust.
Also strong is the portrayal of how suffocated Sophia feels. Isolated from the rest of the world and the object of Bernard’s obsession, you can feel Sophia’s desperation and terror at what her life has become. Her red hair became her curse.
Here’s hoping that Nickerson provides us more novels on Sophia’s life after Bernard’s obsession, Bernard’s life before Sophia, and those four wives that Bernard destroyed. Nickerson has a gift for storytelling. Readers need more!
To purchase “Strands of Bronze and Gold”: http://www.amazon.com/Strands-Bronze-Gold-Jane-Nickerson/dp/0307975983
For more information on Jane Nickerson: http://www.jane-nickerson.com/