As I sit here and watch "Valley Girl" (complete with a Valley girl saying "Gag me with a spoon!" said by the same chick who did Timmy's voice in "Fairly Odd Parents" and Tommy in "Rugrats") starring Nicolas Cage at his finest (*laughing*), I'm wondering what exactly to write about this book... Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson. It's a novel based on the fairytale "Bluebeard." If you know the tale or not, this book is going to take you by surprise.
OMG. "I'm humiliated to the max!" was just said. Why have I taken so long to see this movie again? I need to buy this horrid blast from the past on DVD...
Anywho, this is a dark novel. The fairytale is dark as well, so it's very fitting. For a girl who is a fan of hilarious Southern fiction, this was not humorous, but depressing (again, fitting). There are slaves, treated horribly, without mercy. It is obviously realistic, so just be prepared for that (it broke my heart).
Summary: "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 Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.
Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world." (Goodreads, I love you. Just sayin'.)
Now for those who know the tale, you'll still be terrified out of your wits at appropriate times. I've thought about this tale being retold, and this novel surpassed what I wanted and expected out of a retelling of it. For those who don't know the tale, get ready for an awesome book with freak out moments.
I guess since I knew it, I was trying to get through the novel quickly to see how it all was going to turn out, and if the author was going to make this real or not, and how the tale was going to wind itself/tell itself. This novel has you wanting to yell at Sophia, and other times you want to sit down with her and give her a hug.
The action is there, the characters are whole when need to be, and this novel feels and sounds so realistic, that you start wondering if this whole thing really happened or not. It sounds plausible, and when you can get a fairy tale to become real, you have great talent and tons of imagination. And this author? She definitely has both. You'll be on the edge of your seat during this entire novel. You'll wonder who the "bad guy" is.
For me, because I wanted the novel to go faster, the pace was slow. However, it's meant to build up the tension, which it does wonderfully. Also, the story has time to truly develop. The setting is shown instead of told, as are the little details that you want to be able to picture in your head. The overall structure is amazing.
So without giving away any more, I'm giving this novel a 4.8...
So... read it! It's worth the money!