Barb's Reviews > 31 Bond Street

31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan
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Feb 23, 2010

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bookshelves: read-in-2010, new-york, vine, new-in-2010, hf-1800s
Read in March, 2010

2.5 Stars, I'm rounding up...It was okay and I liked parts of it.

In her first novel, Ellen Horan, takes a real murder mystery and spins her own fiction around the characters involved in the case.

The author moves the reader back and forth in time revealing the history of the relationship between the victim, Dr. Harvey Burdell, and his accused murderer, Emma Cunningham, at the same time she's revealing the aftermath of the murder. She goes on to describe the murder without revealing who committed the act, which I thought was very clever.

I liked the characters Horan created and the relationships between the male characters, Samuel, Dr Burdell's driver, the errand-boy John and Katuma, Samuel's Native American friend.

I thought the story took a while to gain momentum and build tension. It was interesting but I think it would have been even more interesting if the author had explored the main characters in greater depth. Both characters are complex and calculating but the reader isn't shown much detail about either one's past. I think showing their personal motivations would have helped build the tension in the story and flesh out their characters at the same time.

I enjoyed the interesting bits of historical information that the author wove throughout the story, particularly about the Underground Railroad and the transporting of freed blacks and selling them as slaves. As well as the information about the community of Sandy Ground on Staten Island founded by freed black men.

Honestly there is a lot to like here and I did enjoy this book it just didn't resonate with me for whatever reason. I wish that the author had focused more on Emma and Dr. Burdell's personal lives as well as the friendship between John, Samuel and Katuma. Overall an interesting book that many readers will enjoy.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Misfit Oh poo. I still want to try it though.


Barb Tara really loved it...you might too!


Tara Chevrestt I did!! I really did! I was surprised that I was the first to give it a 5 rating.. Getting a 5 from me is hard. I am pretty stingy with the 5 stars but as I said, I am a HUGE fan of Law And Order type things and I was just hooked by the trial and all. The tidbits of information popping up.. the guessing.


Barb I liked the guessing as well, Horan did a good job with that.


Misfit Barb wrote: "Tara really loved it...you might too!"

That's half the fun of going into a book like that when two fellow readers have opposite ratings.


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