An excellent book - Victorian Gothic. Phoebe Turner makes a believable character as she is drawn further into the world of deceit her mother, aunt, auAn excellent book - Victorian Gothic. Phoebe Turner makes a believable character as she is drawn further into the world of deceit her mother, aunt, aunt's lover and their friends have woven about her....more
I wasn't sure what to make of this at first, the heroine Mary Finch seemed quite hesitant in the first few pages, but once the mystery started she becI wasn't sure what to make of this at first, the heroine Mary Finch seemed quite hesitant in the first few pages, but once the mystery started she became more of a character, and indeed is central to the plot - which is good. When Mary receives a letter from her estranged uncle, she determines to set off to see him straight away, by travelling to Suffolk, which in 1795 is quite an undertaking. When the coach she is travelling in stops to aid a gentleman who has had a bad crash, Mary stays to look after him whilst the coach goes on to the next stop to send a doctor back. As she is trying to give him some relief from his suffering, she discovers that he is carrying her uncle's watch (which though she has never see is the same as her father's) and can only assume the man, William Tracey, has stolen it. Later at the next coaching inn, she confides in Captain Holland an officer from the artillary who is on his way to his cousin's for leave. Mary and Holland travel on together reaching White Ladies her uncle's residence, only to find the house shut up, and having managed to gain entry to the property, they are surprised and taken prisoner by a gang of men.
Excitement and adventure follow as Mary has to decide who she should trust, who is the likely traitor, her uncle, Captain Holland, Mr Deprez ( staying at a nearby residence, and somehow involved in tracking down the gang using her uncle's house). Mary is central in cracking the code used by the gang and trys not to believe her (now deceased) uncle was involved. All this makes a definite change for Mary from her usual life as an impoverished school teacher.
There is a lot of good storytelling here and the events are based in part on actual happenings during the early days of the war with France. Melikan has written two more books in the series, and I am already looking forward to reading the next one, the Counterfeit Guest....more
The seventh outing for Maisie Dobbs, and Winspear has written another stunner. It is 1932 and Maisie is approached by an elderly American couple EdwarThe seventh outing for Maisie Dobbs, and Winspear has written another stunner. It is 1932 and Maisie is approached by an elderly American couple Edward and Martha Clifford who have just arrived from France, where their son, Michael's remains were found with the rest of his unit in a shelled out shelter. Michael was a cartographer and thus essential to the war effort, however, the pathologist report into his death indicates that the injuries from the shelling occured after his death and that the probable cause of death was a blow to the head. As well as his surveying tools that were found with his body, his journal an a bundle of letters that were wrapped in protective covering were discovered.
Michael's parents hire Maisie to find his killer and also the identity of the English Nurse who was his sweetheart during the war. To add to the complication, before he sailed for England to join in the war effort in 1914, Michael had survyed and bought a piece of land in California where he believed oil was to be discovered. Difficulty in proving probate (the deeds to the land are missing) has meant difficulty finding closure for Michael's family and they are hoping Maisie can solve the riddles.
As usual, Winspear depicts the 30s and the continuing after effects of the 1st world war on all who were involved, she also deals with the human side of suffering and with relationships. Maisie's mentor Maurice Blanche is fading and she has to come to terms with his impending loss, whilst at the same time acknowledging a change in her personal life that could affect her far into the future.
I have loved Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series from the start and can highley recommend them to anyone who enjoys crime, physcological drama, the 30s and mysteries. Can't wait for the next one!!...more
the 2nd Saint Germain book I've read recently. I enjoyed both of them hugely, these books are more historical fiction that about vampires, though Sainthe 2nd Saint Germain book I've read recently. I enjoyed both of them hugely, these books are more historical fiction that about vampires, though Saint Germain has been a vampire for over 3500 years, living through many periods of history, and it is these periods of history taht Yarbro does extremely well. States of Grace was set in Venice and the Low Lands in 1520-1522 (the other one I read was set in 1704) and really brings alive the religious intolerances there were around at that time, as well as the political intrigue that was rife in Venice. Saint Germain as a vampire can live on the blood of animals (usually his horses, or game), but to get the best nourishment he needs human blood, however, he usually gets this from his lovers at the moment of esctasy he takes what he needs and shares their fulfilment. if he has no lover, he will visit women (usually widows) in their dreams! However, there is a downside for his lovers, he can only be with them this way five times, if a sixth and more, they will become of his blood, in otherwords they will sicken and die, then become vampires themselves. This is a choice Saint Germain always gives to his lovers, he never takes. For a vampire, he is full of humanity and strives to help people where he can.
He is usually accompanied in his adventures by his manservant, a ghoul, someone he resuced in Imperial Rome from certain death, Rogerian (or Roger, Ruggier, Ruthger, Hroger) has been with Saint Germain for over 1500 years and is more than a servant, been very aware of Saint Germain's weaknesses.
The first of this series I read was many years ago, Hotel Transvylvania, set in Paris in 1743. I will have to go back and reread this when I can....more
I've lost track of how many times I've read this book, it must be at least five or six though; and I've just finished it again last weekend. The writiI've lost track of how many times I've read this book, it must be at least five or six though; and I've just finished it again last weekend. The writing is superb, very descriptive, dense and it draws you in to the book so that you live the story along with the characters.
Told through a mixture of letters and diary entries - the four main characters are all cousins, Richard and James Cobham, Kitty Holbourn - James's step sister and Susan Voight a maternal cousin of Richard and James. The story opens with a letter from James to his cousin Richard, James has at this point been believed dead by his relatvies, indeed it was on a family outing that he was seen to fall over the side of a boat on the river and not emerge again - James's letter begins the tale of what happened at the river, why it happened and the consequences of actions James had taken up to that time on his life and that of the other three.
James Cobham an indolent aristocratic man about town, or Jimmy Cobham the Chartist agitator, or indeed Jack Cobb the hostler at The Grey Hound inn; all these and more are James. As his family becomes pulled into his past, as Susan travels the country trying to decipher what happened to him and why there are people who prefer that he is not asked after, as Kitty experiments with opium filled dreams, and as Richard discovers that James isn't really who he thought he was, or at least not completely who he thought he was.
And then throw into the mix the Trotter's Club a 19th century occult group consisting of mainly aristocratic members carrying out quasi religous ceremonies and who were responsible for the murder of James younger half brother when he was six months old - and they want James as well.
Early on in the book, Richard advises James to have with him at all times iron that cuts, polished silver a sprig of mistletoe and a loaded pistol.
The canvas of the book is England of the mid-19th century, both James and Susan travel over a fair amount of it, Richard and Kitty less so, but in the course of their travels, the story of James's involvement with the Chartists is told, and how it threatens to destroy all of them.
One of my favourites of all the Morland series - partly as I love the Regency periods, but also because Lucy is my favourite character in all her bookOne of my favourites of all the Morland series - partly as I love the Regency periods, but also because Lucy is my favourite character in all her books I've read so far, with the possible exception of Charlotte....more