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Posts Tagged ‘victorian times’

London 1831. Hester White is the daughter of educated and reasonably wealthy parents, both sadly deceased. She is taken in by their gardener and his wife, but their lack of good fortune causes them to end up living in the slums of London. At this time, people are going missing all round London and rumours abound as to whst might be happening. When Hester is injured in an accident she ends up living in teh stately home of brother and sister Calder and Rebekah Brock, who believe her to be an uneducated young woman from the dregs of society. Calder tasks Rebekah wiht the job of educating Hester and while Rebekah is initially resistant to the idea, eventually she and Hester become very close.

However, when they start to uncover the truth about the people going missing, they both find themselves in great danger and have to use all of their wits and cunning to stay safe – and alive.

I had high high hopes for this book, and at first I thought I was going to love it. However, just as the story should have really got going – when Hester went to live with the Brocks – it seemed to start to drag somewhat. I could never get invested in Hester and Rebekah’s relationship because Rebekah didn’t seem very well developed; I did however find the mystery part more interesting, but the ending was drawn out a little too much for me. That said, some of the writing was very eloquent and I didn’t feel at any point as though I didn’t want to read on. If you like gothic mysteries you might like this book but – for my money – there are better novels in the genre.

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Fran Morrison has recently come back to London, after travelling around the world building her career as a musician. She originally left to get away from the cold relationship she had with her withdrawn and secretive father, who never told her anything about her mother or her mother’s death.  But now, Fran’s father is seriously ill and she has to come back and look after his glass painting business.

Fran and her father’s assistant Zac accept a commission from the local church to restore an old stained glass window, and while doing so, Fran uncovers a story from over 100 years earlier, in which she learns the story of another young woman named Laura.  As Fran struggles to cope with her changing life and circumstances, she finds her own life and feelings reflected in that of Laura’s story.

This book started off extremely well and I thought that I would love it.  I certainly enjoyed it – the writing flowed and I felt easy to lose myself in the story.  Although Fran’s story is the main bulk of the narrative, Laura’s story was also well told, and I find both storylines interesting.

However, the book was slightly marred by the apparent obsession with angels which was constant throughout (indeed, each chapter is headed by a quote about angels).  The other problem was that there were too many coincidences between the two main storylines, to be believable.  To say more would be to give away spoilers, but this annoyed  me slightly.

However, Fran was on the whole, an engaging narrator.  There are also a good supporting cast of characters, who were all well portrayed and the writing at times was very touching.

I would certainly try more by this author.  Despite my criticisms, this book intrigued me enough for me to keep reading quickly, and I would recommend it.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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