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The Companion

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They say she’s a murderess. She claims she’s innocent. But Lucy has been known to tell lies…

1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth.

In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves.

In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage.

Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…

272 pages, Hardcover

First published January 14, 2020

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About the author

Kim Taylor Blakemore

9 books559 followers
Kim writes historical novels that feature fierce, audacious, and often dangerous women. She writes about the thieves and servants, murderesses and mediums, grifters and frauds - the women with darker stories, tangled lies and hidden motives.

She is the author of the historical thrillers THE DECEPTION, Silver Falchion Award winner AFTER ALICE FELL, THE COMPANION, and the historical novels BOWERY GIRL, and CISSY FUNK, a WILLA Award winner for Best Young Adult novel. She also writes historical fiction featuring wild-willed women of the West under the pen name K.T. Blakemore.

She is a developmental editor, and founder of Novelitics, which provides workshops and community to writers in the United States and Canada.

She lives with her family and passel of rescue cats and dogs in the Pacific Northwest. She loves the rain, is afraid of scary movies, and thinks the best meal consists of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 230 reviews
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,110 reviews2,798 followers
August 4, 2021
The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore

It's 1855, New Hampshire, with Lucy Blunt in a dirty, cold, vermin infested cell, awaiting her day of hanging. Lucy tells us she is not a murderer, that she is innocent, but we will find that she is very much an unreliable narrator. This is her story and she's going to tell it her way.

It can be very difficult to follow the story because there are numerous timelines and we move back and forth between them often. There is no distinction between one timeline and another which was very confusing to me. I think formatting the story this way takes away from it, rather than adding to it.

During the earlier timeline narration, Lucy's life starts out with a mother, father, and the nicer things in life, then her mother dies, her father becames a slovenly, broken down drunk and Lucy flees to make her own way in life. She admits to having done bad things and now the best she can hope for is a servant's job that she can keep. She is hired by the Burton family and is soon embedded into the dark, creepy, jealousy ridden atmosphere of the place. The lady of the house, blind Eugenie Burton, seems to foster that jealousy among her servants and Lucy is only too happy to wedge herself between the others and Eugenie.

The story has no happiness in it and even the "romance" is creepy rather than romantic. Really, the story is just what you see and I'm not sure what Lucy's telling of it accomplishes. Nobody is likeable, nothing good happens, and Lucy doesn't make a very good case for herself.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Beata.
729 reviews1,115 followers
December 30, 2019
This is an interesting offering by Ms Blakemore that held my attention throughout. It is 1855 and we re told a story of a young woman, Lucy Blunt, who is about to be hanged for a double murder. Just days before the execution, Lucy recalls her life, and we are given some snippets of information which allow us to get deeper into Lucy's mysterious background and her life, however, she is an unreliable narrator and there is a lot of doubt on the side of the reader.
I am all for unreliable narrators, and I think Lucy is definitely one of the best I have met recently. We learn only what Lucy wants us to learn, which I find interesting as it leaves a lot to my interpretation of the character. I certainly felt sorry for her but could not bring myself too like her. She is definitely a survivor and I liked this stamina of hers.
The complicated relationships Lucy gets into are intensified by the nearly gothic-like of the premise, a house in New Hampshire, and the winter time in which the main thread of the story takes place.
The idea for the novel is not unique, still I think Ms Blakemore managed to write an interesting and atmospheric novel which I recommend.
*Many thanks to Kim Taylor Blakemore, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for arc in exchange for my honest opinion.*
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,970 reviews2,041 followers
January 16, 2020
EXCERPT: Mary was a little lamb,
Her soul as white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went
Death was sure to go.

He tracked her to the brook one day,
Which was against the rule.
He tempted her quite far astray
And made the lamb a fool.

She tried, she tried to turn him out
But still he lingered near
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did not fear.

What made the lamb trust him so
Most any would descry?
Oh! He loved Mary too, you know.
Tis pity she must die.

1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth.

In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves.

In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage.

Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…

MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed the first third of this book, but then my interest began to wane as it was just more of the same. My interest flared briefly in a couple of spots, but it was not sustained. I found myself, by the 60% mark, skimming the text, desperate to find something that I could get my teeth into. It seemed an awful lot longer than its 268 pages.

The story swings back and forth between Lucy's prison as she awaits her execution, and her life in the Burton household. This can get a little confusing as it does so without warning many times in each chapter, sometimes for only a paragraph or two, and serves absolutely no purpose.

None of the characters are in any way likeable...and although this isn't necessary for me to enjoy a good read, I found myself not caring at all what happened to any of them. Which is just as well, really, as I found the ending quite odd and inconclusive.

There is little to no atmosphere, and if the love scenes were meant to be sensuous then they have completely missed the mark.

Not a read that I will be recommending.


#TheCompanion #NetGalley

Reading is a personal and subjective experience, and what appeals to one may not please another. If you enjoyed the excerpt from The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore, and the plot outline appeals, please do go ahead and read it. You may well enjoy it as have many other readers.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Lake Union via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage https://wordpress.com/post/sandysbook...
Profile Image for Erin.
2,956 reviews485 followers
January 7, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

It's 1885 and our main protagonist, Lucy Blunt stands behind the bars of a jail cell awaiting her death sentence. Accused of murder, Lucy retells her story, but how much of what she says is the truth?

With a plot that nostalgically took me back to Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace , I was instantly taken in by the narrative and just had to keep reading. Did I actually take a moment to breathe? Whatever the case, this is one January read that you want to enjoy during cold winter nights.

Goodreads review published 05/01/20
Expected publication date 14/01/20
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,076 reviews634 followers
January 9, 2020

Honestly, that was all I could think about when reading this book - how much it reminded me of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace. Sure, it had a queer twist but that's almost all that separated this from Alias Grace. And this was nowhere as good.


Alias Grace: Yeah, this was a bummer. Books ought to be original. And because this was not I am going to keep comparing it to Alias Grace...

Time jumps: Just like with Alias Grace, we here jump back and forth in time. Only, in Alias Grace there was a meaning to it and the jumps were clear and defined. That was really not the case here. Way too much back and forth all the time.

Characters: In Alias Grace I felt sorry and empathy for Grace. I had no such feelings for the main characters of this book, Lucy. She was a drab, boring non-entity. I had no feelings for her or any of the other characters as a matter of fact. If none of the character's give you any sort of feelings you are not going to enjoy the book. I would rather have characters to hate than characters that give you no feelings at all.

Pointless: I really could not figure out the point of this book. Was it a mystery? No, definitely not, it was very transparent from the beginning. Was it a romance? Again, no, only manipulation and jealousy. Then what? What is this book? I sure as h*** don't know and that's sad...

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,175 reviews615 followers
December 24, 2019
The novel opens in 1855 New Hampshire with Lucy Blunt, a young servant in jail waiting to be hung for a double murder. She claims she is innocent and begins to tell of the events that led up to her current predicament. As a somewhat unreliable narrator the story is told from her eyes, as she is forced to leave her respectable home to become first a mill worker and then a maid after her mother dies and her father descends into drunkenness.

The atmosphere of the novel is almost gothic as New Hampshire experiences one of the bleakest and most bitter winters as Lucy competes with the companion of the lady of the house to win her favours. The slow build up of secrets, betrayals and lies is well written and I enjoyed the suspense of not knowing who died until late in the book. As the narrator, Lucy's character was well developed as events are seen through her eyes, but I would have liked to have got a better feel for both the lady of the house, Mrs Burton and her companion. Overall, an atmospheric, haunting tale of secrets and jealousy.

With thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for a digital copy to read.
Profile Image for Ankit Garg.
251 reviews346 followers
July 8, 2020
The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore is a historical fiction novel with a treat for suspense lovers. The reader is made to believe he knows the plot all along, which is obviously turned upside down as the story progresses.

The best part about this book is the character build up. Every chapter makes the reader change their opinion about the way a certain character will lean, which is beautifully presented even though the task is complex to say the least. Using flashbacks to present important facts about the leading character is a tool perfectly deployed in this case. The gloomy surroundings in which the story is based adds to it.

The prose is written for the patient reader: there were times when I wanted the story to take some turn but I was offered with more-and-more useless details.

Even though I am an advocate of open-to-interpretation endings, this one didn't quite fit the bill. Too much is left unsaid.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for the ARC.

Verdict: Read it for the character build up.
Profile Image for Tahera.
557 reviews227 followers
February 21, 2020
Count the bodies.
One. Two.
Three if we count Mary Dawson.
Four if we count my Ned, who breathed and suckled three days and nights before succumbing to the augue.
All blamed on me.

I am not a thief though I have stolen.
I am not a murderer though I have killed.

Lucy Blunt has been found guilty of a double murder and is awaiting her death sentence to be carried out. During the last week leading up to her hanging, we find her reflecting on the bits of her life that paved her way to this present moment of imprisonment and imminent death. But how much of her musings can we trust to be an authentic version of her innocence?

The strength of this book is in the writing. It is a character driven book, and the gothic and gloomy atmosphere of the setting plus the pace of the book works well to portray the ambiguity and suspense surrounding each character . I was really drawn into this book and Lucy's character. Lucy isn't a saint but she is a survivor.....she has had to learn to be a survivor against her will from a very young age and you can't help but sympathise with her. Despite her best intentions with regards to people and life, she always finds herself in situations which can be best described as 'in the wrong place, at the wrong time'.....life has just not been fair to her! It's ironic that the only people who show her any kind unconditional love, respect and acceptance are the ones she befriends in prison....a place that boasts the worse of mankind is the place where Lucy is finally made to feel human.

My thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union publishing and the author Kim Taylor Blakemore for giving me an e-Arc of the book.
Profile Image for Barbara.
273 reviews214 followers
December 8, 2021
3+ stars

Lucy Blunt is on death row for a double murder in this historical mystery novel set in 1855 New Hampshire. She is an unreliable narrator working as, you guessed it, a companion in a home of other unreliable and often unlikeable players - unreliable and unlikeable but fascinating. Her past is shadowy; she keeps it hidden. She is trying to survive in any way she can. Lying may definitely help if you are desperate and alone.

She tells her story going back and forth between her time awaiting her hanging and the time and circumstances that led to her incarceration. This method was very effective, adding tidbits of information and keeping me guessing. She proclaims her innocence, but what can be believed? I really love a narrator who is untrustworthy! Oh Lucy, if only DNA testing had been available then. What would we know for sure?

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced mystery with an unusual plot.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,021 reviews2,526 followers
November 28, 2019
The Companion gives us a mystery wrapped in a historical setting with an unreliable narrator. Lucy Blunt has been sentenced to death for the murder of two individuals. We hear from Lucy, both in the “present”, 1855 New Hampshire, as she sits in jail awaiting her execution, and the past, as she tells us the story of how it all came to be. We have no clue as to whether she’s guilty. We don’t even know initially who the victims are.

Blakemore does a good job of keeping the reader off balance, as well as setting the scene. It’s a dark, haunting story. Who to believe?

The pace is languid, at times I felt it dragged. While I wanted to know if Lucy was truly guilty, I can’t say I was fully invested in this book. The book features an ambiguous ending, so if that sort of thing bothers you, steer clear. I enjoyed that Blakemore left it to the reader to determine what truly transpired. Readers who enjoyed FIngersmith will probably enjoy this one.

My thanks to netgalley and Lake Union for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,227 reviews1,276 followers
December 5, 2019

The Companion, initially, had me sitting in surround sound with the beautiful prose and descriptors depicting an extremely harsh winter in New Hampshire in 1855. I revisited sentence after sentence to savor the lush use of words and selected phrases to describe the rawness of the setting. Kim Taylor Blakemore sees to it that you've become immersed in this story.

Lucy Blunt knocks heavily on the door of the Burton home. It's opened by Cook who begrudgingly leaves her hot stove to allow Lucy to enter. She's to take the place of Mary, the previous maid. Mary met with a horrendous fate. She was found a short distance from the house drowned in the creek....a frozen creek I might add.

Lucy carries letters of recommendation with her tucked deeply into her bag if needed. But she soon is taken into the inner chambers of Eugenie Burton, the blind lady of the house. When Rebecca, the original companion of Eugenie takes ill, Lucy is slipped into her companion position. And here is where things become tangled and complicated.

Blakemore doles out snips and pieces of Lucy's previous life. She's an intricate little thing with quite the backstory. Then Blakemore catapults us into the following months where Lucy sits in the squalor of the New Hampshire State Prison about to be hanged for murder.....murder she insists that she didn't commit. The avenues are a bit muddled as we readers try to unpack what may be true from what definitely is not true. And there's quite a lot to sort through here which bogs down the original opening version of the story. It soon becomes overkill. (Did I actually say that?)

Kim Taylor Blakemore is a gifted writer. I would welcome her next book with open arms. This one suffered from too much unnecessary detail and multiple rabbit holes. The clean lines of this story were enough. Sometimes heavy lifting becomes just that.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Lake Union Publishing and to Kim Taylor Blakemore for the opportunity.
Profile Image for Corrie.
1,517 reviews4 followers
April 28, 2020
Count the bodies.
Three if we count Mary Dawson.
Four if we count my Ned, who breathed and suckled three days and nights before succumbing to the ague.
All blamed on me.

I just finished The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore and I bawled my eyes out. This is not a happy book. There was not much joy in Lucy Blunt’s short life and we hear the haunting tale as she is awaiting her death sentence to be carried out. During that last week leading up to her hanging, she reflects on parts of her life and how it paved the way to her present imprisonment and imminent death. As the introduction says, Lucy has been known to lie so it leaves plenty of room for ambiguity.

The story begins in the bitter winter of 1855 when Lucy starts working for the Burtons as the replacement of their last maid who was found dead in the river. As she learns her way in this house of secrets and locked doors, Lucy soon finds herself competing with Rebecca - Mrs. Burton’s companion - to win the favors of the lady of the house. A slow build up of betrayals and lies kept me on the edge of my seat. The writing is most excellent. It’s a character driven story with a strong Gothic feel – gloomy and atmospheric. I was very drawn to Lucy's character – a survivor born out of necessity – who often finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Until the last moment we are not sure who actually dies.

m/f, f/f

Themes: 1855, accused of a double murder, blind mistress, secrets and jealousy, laudanum, Matron’s affections, Mr. Quimby lost his bell, an alcoholic father, downfall from society, I believed in Lucy’s innocence.

5 Stars
Profile Image for Mary.
1,474 reviews495 followers
January 14, 2020
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a book set in the 1850s since that's not my normal type of read, but I really enjoyed The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore.

The Companion focuses on Lucy Blunt who I have to say is like the queen of the unreliable narrator. All through the book I was wondering just who she did and did not kill, and if she actually was a thief as well. The book flips between past and present as Lucy reflects on her life as she waits to be hanged for her crimes. There were quite a few moments that made me cringe, and this definitely isn't a light read.

I really like the author's writing style and I thought it was very fluid. I didn't really know what to expect from the end and it came as a surprise to me which made me happy. While I don't think the pacing is super-fast or anything, it was definitely engrossing enough that I read it in under 3.5 hours. This would be a great read for a cold, rainy day.

Final Thought: I don't want to say too much about The Companion because I think this is a great one to go into blind if possible. As long as you know this is a dark mystery set in the 1850s, with an unreliable narrator I think that's all that really matters. There is a lot of evil and unlikable characters in it, but the plot was interesting, and I really enjoyed the setting. I will definitely be reading more books by Blakemore!

Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Stacey.
874 reviews161 followers
January 14, 2020
The Companion is a dark, atmospheric historical fiction novel. Lucy Blunt is waiting execution in a jail cell for two murders. Told in present 1855 New Hampshire and weaving in the backstory of how she got to be in jail. Lucy is an unreliable narrator, but I had a lot of empathy for her and was on her side. That's the fun part of this book because you could disagree with that and we'd have a great discussion. Anyway, she's a survivor and looking for work. She stumbles on a house and is hired by the cook. The occupants of the main house is where the meat of the story starts to unfold as the characters are introduced. First there's Eugenie(Mrs. Burton) the lady of the house. She is blind and hyper aware of her surroundings and she needs someone around to help her. Rebecca, Mr. Burton's niece is that person. It's 1855 and Lucy is nothing more than "the kitchen help", but Eugenie becomes fond of her and wants her attention more than Rebecca's. An undercurrent of jealousy begins to develop when Lucy spends more and more time with Eugenie that threatens Rebecca. Class division is an important part of how well people are treated and Blakemore did a great job of making the distinction that lines will not be crossed no matter what the circumstances. As the story progresses, more truths come to light and the characters become exposed to make this unputdownable until the end to find out if Lucy will hang for the murders or if she will be pardoned.

Ultimately, the writing is great and puts the reader into the life and time period of Lucy Blunt.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union publishing for an advance copy.
Profile Image for Sonja Yoerg.
Author 9 books1,134 followers
July 13, 2019
Elegant prose and assured pacing made this historical suspense novel a pleasure to read. The storyline and the atmosphere reminded me of Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, a book I adored, but Blakemore's take on the doomed narrator is her own. Lovely and haunting!
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,514 reviews455 followers
June 19, 2019
Oh finally. Finally, Lake Union, finally. I was just about to give up on you, but then you went and published an actually good book. Which is to say their normal women’s fiction fare is really not for me. But this one, that’s more like it. Technically still women’s lit, but really more along the lines of historical fiction. Oddly enough, I very recently read a strikingly similar and (probably) technically superior book, The Confessions of Frannie Langton. Are murdering lesbians all the rage nowadays? I mean, no one can ever come close to the way Sarah Waters tells it, but since Waters takes so long between the books, all efforts are welcome. And this was a very credible effort. Albeit from a somewhat unreliable narrator, Lucy Blunt. A young woman with a secretive past, she comes to Burton estate as a maid, but soon finds herself getting too closely involved with one of her employers and gets lofty aspirations of becoming a lady’s companion. But the position is already taken, the object of her affection and attention is a moody addict and soon the entire thing becomes a competition threatening to get ugly. Eventually, obviously it does get ugly, the story is narrated by Lucy as she’s about to be hanged for a double murder, but you won’t find out what really took place until the very end. And the story is compelling enough that you’ll probably race through it like I did just to find out the outcome. It’s good, it’s really good. This type of fiction would inevitably draw comparisons to not just Sarah Waters, but the more recent (and robbed by the Academy) The Favourite, It’s just almost deja vu similar to Frannie Langton. Even the cover art. What are the odds of two tragic lesbian upstairs/downstairs stories set in the 1800s with servants accused of murder being published this close together? Is this a new trend, In which case…awesome. Otherwise, just weird. And yes, this one is set in America, specifically the snowy Antebellum New England, but that’s just the setting, not enough of a differentiate. This book still is very much the tragic lovechild of Frannie Langton and The Favourite and as such is difficult to judge on the merits of originality. But on the merits of quality, it’s very good. A thoroughly immersive enjoyable atmospheric read. Very well written, completely realized 3 dimentional characters, sustained suspense, the timelines are juggled with great skill, artistically even. I didn’t want to put it down, barely did, in fact, it was that good, Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,114 reviews72 followers
October 10, 2019
4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A long, long time ago there was a young woman who was to be hanged for murder. Did she do it? And if she did, why? This story will rip your heart out and surprise the pants off of you near the end! Wow. Loved the writing.
The story is told from present and past events and unfolds in such a way that you can’t put it down. At times I couldn’t follow which part was being said but I felt pulled into the story anyway. Heartache and sorrow are her constant companions, but she’s quiet comfortable with them. And her loving people has been her undoing. It’s beautifully written and very sad. It was like I was watching a train derail in slow motion, witnessing the train break apart causing damage to everything it touched.

This was a NETGALLEY gift and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
2,043 reviews212 followers
August 23, 2019
The Companion

Lucy is cold-hearted, and throws a mean punch. A damp, cold feeling followed me through her entire story. I knew for sure that there was nothing I knew for sure. . . .except I couldn’t trust any character as far as I could throw them! A sexual tension slipped around, just under the skin of conversations, and I kept looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was coming up behind me as I read. Finally, I just found a cozy, dark corner. Did she or didn’t she kill? She’s smart, she’s planning every second, and knows more about poison and botanicals than the usual Jill. She’s easy with girls, and boys? well, she’s not happy about it, but makes it available. . . .a calculating currency, it seems. Her partners react, but she is indifferent and acting-as-if.

Her new situation with the Burtons – is it new cover or a saving grace? They are blissfully caught up in their own day-to-day worries, and the household servants all looking out for their own Main Chances, it seems. Between the narrative about the Burtons, and the events of the community, breadcrumbs are dropped, disappearing along the path on which Lucy walked in, and that’s the path where it feels like the all the answers will be found. Yet I never got my feet on that path to the degree that I felt I understood what happened when to whom. My satisfaction was kept safely out of reach in that I got very few of the answers. . .even when I stayed to the very last word. I have a “vote” for what certain answers are, but would not submit to an exam of any kind on the subject. The questions for bookclubbers at the end. . . .well, that would be a C for me, at best.

Yet the writing is tight and painterly, and the details attended to so carefully and fully that the actual bones of the story are strewn about in such a way that it required multiple reads for me to sort my way through the Before story and the After story, and the Present/Final story. Not a bad requirement, but not something a casual reader usually pursues. Perhaps this aspires to something bigger – Required Reading text for English 203? Still, the bleakness feels rather Bronte-ish. I’m done with it, and the wind keeps whipping my legs. . . .in spite of blue, blue skies.

A 3.5 Star Recommendation from me!

Thank you to Kim Taylor Blakemore, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,827 reviews87 followers
January 24, 2020
I'm giving this one three stars. With it's dark undertone it wasn't what I was expecting.
I was expecting a historical book about a woman who goes and becomes a companion to a woman.
Well it was that but oh so much more.
The dark undertone really brings the whole book down, accused of murder she runs away to start a new life as a companion and you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Working your way through the book you can feel her fear as she waits to be hung for her possible crime. Dark ......... talks of poisoning,drowning,killing of an animal though it doesn't go into detail.
Very surprising ending I didn't see coming either.

Published January 14th 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
948 reviews130 followers
February 14, 2021
3.5 stars

Haunting and atmospheric, this book reminded me of Downton Abbey’s dark sinister cousin. The story alternated between a past and a present timeline. The former being the start of Lucy Blunts employment with the Burtons and the latter being her experience locked in a cell, waiting to be hanged for a double murder. The story recounted what happened during her time working for the Burtons, how Lucy ended up convicted and sentenced to hang, and her role in the murders.

Mrs. Eugenie Burton is mistress of a manor that employs various servants. Rebecca, Eugenie’s companion and Mr. Burton’s cousin, is at death’s door after accidentally getting locked out of the home and almost freezing to death. Lucy Blunt has just been hired as a maid and cook’s helper, replacing the last servant who recently drowned. As Lucy nurses Rebecca back to health and gets to know Eugenie, she discovers there are long standing secrets and manipulations that now threaten her position and lie just beneath the surface.

The mysterious nature of the writing was inviting. It set a particular tone that felt somewhat ghostly and unnerving. The plot captured my attention and I was keen to know what happened to land Lucy Blunt on death row. I wish the characters had been carved out with more colour. They felt flat and needed more depth so the reader could better relate to them and care about them. The pacing was a bit off. At times it was riveting while at other times it moved too slow. A literary women’s fiction that was unique and worth the read.

I received an ARC from Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jackie.
787 reviews55 followers
January 14, 2020
A first by me by this author will not be my last!!! In this mysterious and suspense filled Historical novel I was truly amazed with this authors details to the past!! Lucy the main character will definitatly leave you running through circles in her mind and yours! SHe is not nice but after all shes suffered who could be? Its not easy to be a lady in this time, and she must do what she has to to survive! This tale left me biting my nails and on the edge of my seat wondering what will be Lucy's fate? This hauntingly amazing book kept me up all night and WOW what a surprise ending!!! Blakemore know who to reach the depths of your mind in this spellbinding and suspence filled novel that you wont soon forget!!! A FANTASTIC READ!!
Profile Image for JP.
496 reviews16 followers
October 10, 2019
4.5 ⭐️
About the book • pages 268 • Release date 1/14/2020 • Mystery/Historical Fiction • Lake Union Publishing • Written well • Couldn’t put it down• Captivating • Great Characters • Heartbreaking • Definitely read another book by this author

This was a Netgalley book and all opinions are mine. ♥️
Profile Image for Karren  Sandercock .
772 reviews150 followers
October 14, 2021
Lucy Blunt has been convicted of murdering two women, and she’s in jail in New Hampshire waiting for her date with the hangman’s noose. Lucy looks back at the mistakes she made, her life spiraled out of control when she fell pregnant to a married man, and her father threw her out on the streets. Lucy uses a false name and references to get a job as a maid, she’s working for the Burton’s, and it’s a house full of secrets, locked doors, and some very odd behavior. Mary the dish washer died and Lucy’s her replacement, when the ladies companion Rebecca becomes ill, and Lucy takes over her duties.

Eugenie Burton’s blind, and I’m not sure if her husband Josiah knows she becomes romantically involved with her ladies maids? When Lucy’s status in the house changes, Rebecca becomes extremely jealous, and you start to question what really happened to poor Mary? Lucy no longer has any idea who she can trust, and that includes her mistress Mrs. Burton. Unfortunately Lucy has told so many lies, has used numerous names and it’s hard to workout fact from fiction. As the time for her execution draws closer, interest in her case increases, and how can she be not guilty, and when she’s lied from the start?

The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore is a story about a sinister killer, Lucy maybe innocent, a page turning mystery, and I'm looking forward to reading the authors new book, After Alice Fell. Thanks to NetGalley for my copy and three stars from me.
Profile Image for W.
1,433 reviews130 followers
March 17, 2020
I recently watched/enjoyed on Netflix , Alias Grace. Found out , series is based on Margaret Atwood book (thanks Wikipedia) . The Companion's blurb caught my eye, and I jumped at the chance to be able to read it.

The story is set in the late 1800s in America, and told from the POV of Lucy Blunt , a young, poor woman. She is sitting in a dark, dirty , wet prison cell awaiting trial for double murder. Lucy is not a reliable narrator and she has you doubting and double guessing the entire time. I gather that was what she wanted.

I liked this character driven story. While reading , I felt transported to the dark , gloomy, gothic setting , the oppressive atmosphere and limitations for women during that time.

The Companion is an engaging read. And would recommend to readers who love Gothic stories , with an underlining romance , in this case , between two women.

I just reviewed The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore. #TheCompanion courtesy #NetGalley and #LakeUnionPublishing
Profile Image for Fictionophile .
1,027 reviews331 followers
March 23, 2020
This review was originally published on my blog: https://fictionophile.com/

At a tender age, Mary Blunt used deception to wheedle her way into a position as maid at the mansion of the Burton family, in mid-19th century New Hampshire. It is a household with six servants who work for Mr. Burton, a textile tycoon.  His wife is blind, and retains a 'companion' by the name of Rebecca. Mrs. Eugenie Burton is childless and has resorted to taking laudanum to make her days more palatable.

When Lucy is summoned to take care of Mrs. Burton when Rebecca is temporarily absent, she gets a taste for the 'easy' life of a companion. No more skinning rabbits, emptying bedpans, scouring pots. Also, Lucy finds herself mightily attracted to the engaging Mrs. Burton. Who could blame her if she once more uses deception to secure the companion's position on a more permanent basis?

However... Rebecca has her own agenda and is not to underestimated...


Twenty-four year old Lucy Blunt sits in a damp and dismal prison cell. She is awaiting death by hanging. She is said to have murdered two women, but pleads innocence.

"I am not a thief, though I have stolen. I am not a murderer, though I have killed."

One must always be cautious when hearing a story told by a single narrator. After all, this narrator is bound to be biased in their own favour....  Such is the case of Lucy Blunt. Can we believe everything she says? Do we want to?

In my case, YES, I did. I couldn't help but feel sorry for her plight due to her tragic and sorrowful personal history. Her life had been filled with loss, drudgery and struggle, with little experience of love. So, if she was less than truthful - it was understandable, yet not wholly unforgivable.  Despite the more unsavory aspects of her character I found myself rooting for Lucy throughout the entirety of the book.

This is a story of lies and deception. Of a precarious balance of power, and questionable affections, betrayals, jealousies, and suspicion.

The characters were not thoroughly likeable, but in this case, I could overlook that. The atmospheric descriptions of the mansion, the servants, and the time period added to my enjoyment of the novel greatly.

I recommend this debut novel to readers who have enjoyed the work of Laura Purcell, and those who like character-driven, atmospheric historical fiction.

4.5 stars rounded down
Profile Image for Magda Fourie Fourie.
Author 2 books13 followers
December 7, 2019
This book is very much worth reading. I enjoyed the two stories/timelines running alongside. I think the author did a good job to keep the tension up throughout the book, keeping me invested in the story and the characters.
Well written. I've given it three stars but would have liked to give it 3.5.
Profile Image for Jacinda Literature Babe.
229 reviews21 followers
July 2, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author Ms. Kim Taylor Blakemore for the opportunity to read this Advanced Readers Copy of "The Companion".

This is an absolutely delicious read!

Drawn in to the characters immediately, there was no stopping this book...dark and atmospheric with an "Atwoodesque" feel, this is exciting Historical Fiction.

It's 1855, New Hampshire;
From behind prison walls "Lucy Blunt" reflects on the circumstances that brought her here. She is soon to hang in the gallows for heinous crimes...that she may or may not have committed, its difficult to know...

Weaving a rich tapestry of lusts, possessions, and hate, her story is a compelling one as she narrates her life before prison and now on death row.

"Lucy" has a strong descriptive voice that emotes feelings of suffocating hardship, which women can fully appreciate, throughout this Victorian Era story. Struggling with what is about to happen, we listen helplessly as "Lucy" has to accept her fate and come to terms with the choices she created.

Profile Image for Melisende.
1,023 reviews114 followers
October 11, 2019
The story opens in 1855, New Hampshire State Prison with the opening, haunting, narrative ..... "Count the bodies. One. Two. Three if we count Mary Dawson. Four is we count my Ned ........All blamed on me."

Immediately - we ask ourselves - how, why. Lucy begins to cast her mind back to events that have led to her awaiting her fate at the end of a hangman's noose. Lucy's story moves back and forward, between past events and the present, as she relates to the readers of how she came to work for the Burtons as a maid; her rise through the ranks and her rivalry with Mrs Burton's current companion, and her ultimate fall from grace.

The build up is slow - but not laboriously so - the scene is being carefully crafted, the characters develop and change the further we are drawn into the story. Events pass before us, fleeting hints of what is yet to come. Then we have our "aha" moment as the scattered clues and hints have now coalesced, and Lucy's imminent fall is only pages away. The tension both inside the household and for the reader is palpable. The opening lines begin to make sense now. But still, who is Lucy Blunt - the question eludes us until the final pages.

The more I read, the more I kept thinking this has shades of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" or Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca"- it is more of a gothic novel rather than a straight up mystery.
Profile Image for Sarah Mac.
1,078 reviews
October 9, 2022
A good read, but very dark. I won’t reveal any specifics to preserve the suspense—just be warned there isn’t a HEA, or even a HFN. It’s definitely *NOT* a romance, though there is a love story (arguably more than one); rather, it’s a literary historical novel, something of a stylistic mashup combining Shirley Jackson, Sarah Waters, & SLAMMERKIN, with a dash of ALIAS GRACE.

…There. That caveat should perk some ears & send others running for a blanket fort. 😈

I read Blakemore’s second gothic historical (AFTER ALICE FELL) prior to this one, & her style is pretty consistent. The dark undercurrents combined with unsettled, off-kilter aura + vaguely unreliable narration are all very well done, as is the duality of the two timelines. At first I didn’t pick up the parallels, but when things clicked I mentally applauded the author; it’s not a long book, but it does require careful reading due to the juxtaposition of Lucy’s twin narratives. (Personally, I’d have gone a different way with the ending, but I can accept the realism for someone in Lucy’s muddled situation. Sometimes there are no easy fixes, esp for women of the past.)

There are some pacing issues, & a few loose threads…but not enough to outweigh the quality prose & intriguing story, so 4 stars.
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