Strands of Bronze and Gold

Jane Nickerson. Knopf, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-307-97598-0
After Sophia Petheram is orphaned, she is taken in by her fabulously rich and handsome godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, who wants only to please and spoil her. It’s the stuff of fairy tales, quite literally in this case: debut author Nickerson is retelling Perrault’s Bluebeard story. While familiarity with that tale diminishes some of the suspense and leaves readers ahead of 17-year-old Sophia, it also affords the pleasure of seeing how this version plays out. Nickerson makes smart use of a lush, eerie antebellum Mississippi setting to add tension: one of the things that bothers Boston-born Sophia is the way Monsieur Bernard treats his slaves. And then there are the ghosts of his former wives—all redheads, just like Sophia—and her godfather’s increasingly obvious sexual interest in her. Although the book moves leisurely, it effectively blends the fairytale world with the realities of Sophia’s powerlessness: she’s underage, impoverished, and female. All of which makes her luck, determination, and eventual triumph all the more rewarding. Ages 14–up. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 03/12/2013
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 339 pages - 978-0-307-97599-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-385-36123-1
Ebook - 190 pages - 978-0-307-97606-2
Library Binding - 339 pages - 978-0-375-97118-1
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