Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young-Adult/ Fairy Tale/ Retelling/ Historical/ Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
This is a retelling of the Bluebeard Fairy Tale. Well, more like the Bluebeard horror tale. I am glad to say that I enjoyed this retelling, and I could happily read it again- except the first 80 or so pages. I know there has to be the foundation of why Sophia came to live there, but some of it was yawn inducing.
Monsieur Bernard de Cressac is a wealthy-obsessive-jackass, and I was sickened by him from the time Sophia arrived at Wyndriven Abbey. After the sudden death of her father, Sophia gets an invitation from her Godfather to come live with him in Mississippi. Despite not having seen him since she was a little girl, de Cressac has always sent her and her siblings gifts over the years. She has this image of him in her mind and is surprised by his widower status when she arrives. He spoils her rotten, but soon he starts to be overbearing. With secret rooms and strands of reddish bronze hair, Wyndriven Abbey has become quite the mystery, and Sophia is determined to solve it.
If you know of the fairy tale Bluebeard, then you know that it involves dead wives. I think that this is a great take on the tale and I wouldn’t mind reading the next book, which is a retelling of the fairy tale Tam Lin. The start of this book is very slow. I am glad that I kept picking it up, and soon found myself lost within the pages. We get to picture Monsieur Bernard charm his way into Sophia’s heart. She just lost her father, so having her godfather care for her is nothing strange. I’m glad that she wasn’t too caught up in the glamour and she realized that her stepfather is a very bad man. I will not spoil this, but there is some romance. With whom? I will not say. Read the book!!!
This book takes place in the South- Mississippi to be exact. Also, slavery is still going strong, so keep that in mind while reading this. I love the writing and the twists in this story. This story’s ending is nothing like the Bluebeard Fairy Tale, which is very good. This book is dark, mysterious, and engaging- a perfect combination. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fantasy, or just fairy tales in general.