Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Daughters of Night

Rate this book
'The best historical crime novel I will read this year' – The Times

From the pleasure palaces and gin-shops of Covent Garden to the elegant townhouses of Mayfair, Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s Daughters of Night follows Caroline Corsham as she seeks justice for a murdered woman whom London society would rather forget . . .

'This is right up there with the best of C. J. Sansom and Andrew Taylor' – Amanda Craig, author of The Golden Rule

London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself. Enlisting the help of thieftaker Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives.

But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro’s own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous, than she can know . . .

'Spectacularly brilliant . . . One of the most enjoyable and enduring stories I have ever read' – James O'Brien, journalist, author and LBC Presenter

498 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 28, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Laura Shepherd-Robinson

5 books410 followers
Laura Shepherd-Robinson was born in Bristol in 1976. She has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. Laura worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,412 (41%)
4 stars
1,399 (40%)
3 stars
484 (14%)
2 stars
87 (2%)
1 star
32 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 564 reviews
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,606 reviews24.8k followers
December 12, 2020
Laura Shepherd-Robinson follows up her stunning debut of Blood and Sugar with an equally enthralling and multilayered historical murder mystery with some familiar characters set a year later in 1782 in the London of Georgian England. The central protagonist this time is the wife of Captain Harry Corsham, Caroline. Harry is away in France after his investigation into the horrors of the slave trade and the brutal murder of a slave. His absence heightens Caro's anxieties, given the unbearable predicament she finds herself in and which threatens to bring her world crumbling down. She is at the Victoria Pleasure Gardens where she hears the whispered last words of the Italian Lady Lucia that give her cause for concern. Lucia's murder is initially taken up by the Bow Street Constables, but dropped like a hot potato when it is revealed that Lucia is in reality a high class prostitute known as Lucy Loveless.

Caro is unwilling to let matters rest there as she instigates an investigation into Lucy's killing, an act that is going to bring threats and obstacles into her life, there are many that are intent on ensuring that she drops her inquiry, with the gentleman who knew Lucy refusing to disclose relevant information. Despite the dangers and terrors she faces, the courageous Caro is determined and continues on her chosen path, aided by the thief taker Peregrine Child, a man struggling with and stalked by his own demons. The reader is immersed into the highest and lowest circles of London society, a London of vast inequalities and extreme poverty, in all its filth, seediness, brothels, crime, desperation, scandals, hypocrisy, secret, lies, corruption and treachery as the lid is lifted on one of the biggest amoral economic earners of the period, the sex trade and prostitution in which women and girls are bought and sold like any other commodity. Women have barely any rights in this historical period, and even women like Caro have limitations placed on their lives, unable to control their finances, face devastating punishments and consequences, disgrace, and ostracism, judged and condemned harshly for any perceived transgressions.

The author beautifully and atmospherically evokes Georgian London with her wide cast of flawed and complicated characters, the well researched historical details, the sharp class, social, economic, political and gender divisions, and the rich descriptions which make the period come vibrantly alive. The highlight of the novel were the strong women and the depth of the characters, multidimensional and flawed, even when it comes to the depiction of 15 year old Pamela. This is a thrilling, entertaining and gripping historical mystery that examines the sex trade, full of suspense and tension, with unexpected twists, informative, educational and insightful of Georgian England, and the position of women in that time. This is high quality historical fiction that I recommend highly. Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.
Profile Image for Emma.
976 reviews977 followers
January 2, 2021
In the wrong hands a secret is a weapon.

Caroline Corsham’s life is forever altered the night she stumbles over the brutalised body of a woman she thought she knew…and hears her dying words. Caro can’t get the tortured whisper of ‘he knows’ out of her mind. Could it be about the secret she holds close? But then everything changes. It stuns her to discover that her ‘friend’ was not an Italian noblewoman, but a high-class prostitute. One with dangerous acquaintances in both high and low society. It’s clear that the police intend to brush the murder aside. After all, who cares about a dead whore? But Caro isn’t the type of lady to let things slide. Hiring the thief-taker Peregrine Child to assist her enquiries, she sets out to discover what happened in the bower of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens that evening. And it turns out that there are, in fact, a good number of people taking an interest in this murdered girl, because they all have something to hide. To bring the killer to justice, Caro is going to have to put everything she has on the line…

Child surveyed the women he passed, trying to pick the harlots out from the wives. It was no easy task. They bought their silks and satins from the same mantua-makers, their plumed hats from the same milliners, and, of course, they fucked the same men.

The first thing to note about Daughters of Night is that it’s a story rich in historical detail, cinematic and yet fundamentally lived-in. This is no sanitised version of the past, but neither is it a caricature. The depiction of the Georgian underworld is layered with threat and possibility, but in the author’s hands it is a world made real, every person and place vividly depicted, each made plausible beyond the demands of the plot. From the Whore’s Club to the artist’s salon, the gin shops and private men’s clubs, each setting feels authentically realised, populated with characters who are fleshed out and vibrant on the page. They are, however, far from being a bunch of honest, hardworking citizens with not a conviction to their name. If you go into this assuming every person has a dodgy past (and possibly an even dodgier present), you wouldn’t be far wrong. The sheer wealth of potential suspects and shady individuals means that this is a puzzle that will keep you guessing right until the end. In the meantime, you’ll be riveted by a twisty journey full of misdirection. Each revelation is crafted with precision, following the investigative path bulldozed by Caro’s unrelenting methods of persuasion and Peregrine’s sharp eye for lies and half truths. Caro, in particular, is an incredible character. Even at her most challenging, I was unashamedly cheering her on. She is near fearless; partly due to the assumed protections accorded by her class, wealth, and gender, but more importantly, and more appealingly, her boldness is that of a person determined to set things right. It’s this aspect of her personality that keeps her moving forwards even as the men around her try to constrain her action and even more so when it becomes clear that it’s not only prostitutes who are in danger of losing their lives. When the reputations, and fortunes, of important men are threatened, anybody who rocks the boat is in danger of being thrown overboard. Does she let this stop her? Hell no. Clearly, I’m a huge fan. I really hope we get meet her again someday.

The second is that for all that this was an engrossing murder mystery, it was the interweaving of larger themes which elevated the book to the class of unmissable fiction. The role of women is an obvious focus, but equally the author examines the power of wealth and tradition, of corruption and injustice, as well as the conflict between various communities and those of whom they disapprove. The role of social expectation and judgement in moderating behaviour occurs in all levels of society represented, a backdrop against which an individual’s character (or lack thereof) can be measured according to community, personal, or modern ideals. These questions underlie all the action, giving the reader an intriguing glimpse into contemporary patterns of thinking. Importantly, there are no disapproving overtones imposed from today. While the book explores the Georgian sex trade in its various forms, it doesn’t ever feel voyeuristic. According to the historical notes at the end of the novel, ‘one in five female Londoners had participated in prostitution at some point in their lives’. In a world like this, the sex is the least interesting part. And the author knows it. What she offers here is a look at the people involved, mostly women and girls, whose various experiences highlight the limitations of female agency in a time dominated by men. The precarity of female lives is clear. Even if some of the women are able to make choices, they do so within a framework of male control and desire. Regardless, this is not just a litany of downtrodden women to be pitied. As always, those at the bottom find their own ways of managing, exploiting, or escaping the rules others oppose upon them. In the end, it’s the women who make this story and who linger in the mind afterwards.

Clever, compelling, and labyrinthine in its plotting, this is a fantastically fun read. There’s no doubt that this will be on my favourites of 2021 list.

ARC via Netgalley
December 6, 2021
Daughters of Night is a perfect mix of crime thriller and historical fiction - so what is not to love about Laura's Shepherd-Robinson's sequel to Blood and Sugar.

The city is stricken with fear and in shock after the discovery of a stylish and well-dressed woman, found dead - one of their own apparently. Detectives are quick to act, that is, until the learn the unfortunate woman is recognised as a highly paid prostitute. Witnessing a disturbing indifference and to seek justice Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham, hires thieftaker Peregrine Child to investigate and help solve the murder, because no one else will. In fact, a wall of silence is created, and people are in a desperate hurry to move on and close down any investigation.

The rich and the powerful close ranks refusing to reveal their dealings with the unfortunate woman as we unravel a web of lies, secrets, unsavoury dealings, corruption, menace and murder. And oh so many suspect’s. Caro herself is attacked, mistrusted, and ostracised by a few in an attempt to neutralise her and put a halt to Cora's "meddling". Even Cora's own brother is deployed to put pressure on her to drop her investigation. So many have so much to lose, including Cora herself.

It was a very clever plot, the author introduced us to so many intriguing characters, many of whom, could have committed the crime. However Cora was not created as a superhuman heroine but instead a strong but very real character in the book, who shows vulnerability at times and is shaken by some of the events she experiences and realities of what really went on in society around her. Cora will not be deterred in the end from discovering the truth and finding justice, not just for the murdered woman but also in an attempt to expose those culpable and answerable, but who are no doubt the elite in this Georgian society.

An excellent book with a great plot and surprise twists throughout. The pace was perfect and the characters really well drawn. The setting in Georgian England was fascinating and with vivid descriptions of the city, the streets, way of life and the behaviours and values of folk at that time, you could feel transported to a different time and place in history. So well done.

Excellent read
Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,754 reviews1,617 followers
June 6, 2020
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

This story gives us a g,impse into the political history and all classes of society. It's set in London in 1782. Caro Corsham is on the hunt for the killer of her friend who is also a prostitute, Lucy Lawless and two other missing women. Caro hires private investigator Peregrine Child to help her find out what had happened to them.

It took me a little while to get into this book but when I did, I quite enjoyed it. It's full of twist and turns. The characters are well rounded and likeable. The descriptions of London were true to the era. The story is told by Caro and Child's point of view. It's well written. Poverty, hardships and smells are well portrayed. With murders abound, who could you trust.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and the author Laura Shepherd-Robinson for my ARC in exchange for an honest review .
February 1, 2021
Many thanks to Net Galley, Pan Macmillan and the author for a chance to read this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.

Laura Shepherd-Robinson burst into the scene of literary fiction with the hugely successful Blood and Sugar and I have been looking forward to reading it for quite some time now. But like all crazy book addicts, TBR pile seems to be growing leaps and bounds and none of us hardly seem to make any dent in it. Honestly, I do wonder why in the world do we have a TBR if we are never gonna get into it.My new year resolution to concentrate on my TBR before taking up anything new has already gone for a toss and at the rate I am going, looks like it will be another 6 months before I even look into it.

Well, that’s me going blah…blah...blah... Now to this spectacular story called Daughters Of Night.

‘Vice, in its true light, is so deformed, that it shocks us at first sight; and would hardly ever seduce us, if it did not at first wear the mask of some virtue.’

The bowers of Vauxhall pleasure gardens is not a place to be seen visiting in the dead of the night. But Caroline Corsham is desperate and is therefore ready to take a chance but what she encounters is more shocking than ever imagined in her wildest dreams. And as Caro realizes that the Bow Street runners are not invested in the truth, she appoints Peregrine Child a thief taker who has his own share of troubles and nightmares to live with.

England in 1782 has been captured breath-takingly by the author, the beau monde with its fickle attentions, the gossips, the scandals, the sinful acts committed behind closed doors and above all, the women who bow to the men for their daily lives. As the tale alternates between Perry’s and Caro’s enquiries, the reader is given a clear picture of the darkness that may hide inside a human irrespective of the class or gender they belong to. The female characters in the story are strong and well characterized, be it Lucy or Pamela or Kitty or Theresa, each of them throwing light on the different aspects of life while the men like Edward, Simon, Lord March and Stone evoke anger and revulsion for their nonchalance and dare.

In the wrong hands, a secret is a weapon.

As the mystery deepens with secrets emerging out of each meeting and Caro is forced to let bygones be bygones, danger lurks in every corner and the insidious threats worm its way to Caro’s household. The author has penetrated the deepest layers of a human mind with myriad topics like money lending, sex trade, antique dealings, the secret clubs and their debauchery and the classical Greek paintings described informatively and effectively.

Daughters of the Night is an extremely thrilling and compelling read with twists that leaves the reader stunned, encapsulating a Georgian England that is so strikingly vibrant. I can’t wait to get my hands on Blood and Sugar after this.

Highly recommended!

This review is published in my blog https://rainnbooks.com/, Goodreads, Amazon India and Twitter.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,440 reviews830 followers
May 3, 2020
This is as good as it gets in the realms of historical fiction. Blood & Sugar, the debut novel was incredibly accomplished and I was thrilled to receive an arc of this book. Let me tell you, this was just as good. Laura Shepherd-Robinson is one to watch out for: a new tour de force in the historical mystery genre. I learned lots of new facts : pineapples! Mice eyebrows! New favourite author!Put down what you’re doing and go and check this author out!
Profile Image for Amanda.
710 reviews240 followers
April 21, 2020
The tale begins in 1782 in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, when Mrs Caroline Corsham the respected wife of politician Harry, discovers Lucia a lady she knows fatally injured. Lucia’s last words “He knows” worries Caroline as she is afraid her secret may be revealed.

Caroline is surprised to hear that her friend Lucia was actually a high class prostitute and that the police are not going to investigate her murder. Caroline hires thief taker Peregrine Child to investigate the poor girls murder, she is lead into the underworld of London whilst trying to catch the murderer.

This is a fascinating, fast paced thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. It really bought Georgian London to life, we saw both sides of life, the living in poverty and doing whatever it takes to survive and the privileged side where money speaks for itself.

If like me you love a mystery, with an historical theme added then this is the book for you.

There are plenty of twists along the way and remember everything is not how it first appears to be!!!

I haven’t read her other book “Blood And Sugar” but will definitely look for it now!!

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,787 reviews1,627 followers
February 17, 2021
Daughters of Night is Shepherd-Robinson’s sophomore work of historical crime, and although not strictly part of a series it does feature some old friends and figures from Blood & Sugar. It is an exquisitely plotted and penned murder mystery set against the rich and deceptively prim and proper facade that soon gives way to the seedy backdrop of Georgian England. It's 1782 in Georgian London and Caroline ”Caro” Corsham, esteemed wife of Captain Henry ”Harry” Corsham, a former war hero who is now a renowned parliamentarian, is the lone parent caring for their infant son, Gabriel. This is due to Harry being presently abroad in France serving on Mr Hartley’s diplomatic mission to Versailles. Caro tries to keep herself out of the path of trouble but unfortunately, it seems to enjoy her company resulting in the unexpected kerfuffle and predicament she is about to find herself in. She attends the opening night of Jacobus Agnetti’s exhibition of classical scenes at the Rotunda, and half of London society had turned out. Distractedly, Caro greets people she knew: allies of her husband in the House of Commons; clients of the Craven bank; rival beauties, solicitous matrons, admiring gentlemen. The location is The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London from the mid-17th century, and where she hears the whispered last words of friend Italian Lady Lucia having stumbled upon her brutalised body in the bowers of the building. Why would she utter the words ”he knows” right before she expires unless it somehow pointed to the guilty party?

Initially, the case is taken on by Bow Street constables under the mistaken belief, alongside Caro’s, that the victim was a noblewoman like herself. But when, much to the surprise of all involved, it is discovered that she was in fact a high-class prostitute known by the pseudonym Lucy Loveless, the police become completely disinterested and drop the case faster than you can say ”discrimination”. Caro, however, refuses to let this stand and decides to try to right this huge injustice by beginning her own investigation, however, she doesn't bargain for the targeted harassment and outrage she receives from both the men who hired Lucy’s services in the past and the wider public. Despite these instances making her job tougher and with some in society hurling insults and threats as a method to get her to drop the inquiry, can Caro stick to her guns and claim justice for the slaying of her friend? This is a riveting, richly-imagined and captivating historical epic with a complex, exquisitely conceived and accurately-researched plot set against the sights, sounds and smells of centuries-old inner-city London. It's a cerebral and scintillating read that is not only an enthralling murder mystery but that is also deftly woven through with some of the most prominent social, economic and political issues of the time, including the class system distinctions, poverty, a vast criminal underworld, prostitution, prejudice and corruption, with the sex trade being big business where women are treated as less than human. An immersive, intelligent and deeply atmospheric read full of suspense and tension in which the cast, time and place come vibrantly alive before your eyes. Historical crime doesn't come any finer than this. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ankit Garg.
251 reviews346 followers
March 27, 2021
Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson is a tale of murder, mystery, and scandal in eighteenth century England. It is a well-researched read, and anyone interested in the London society of those times and its class differences will really like this book.

The story gets complicated at times, so much so that it is difficult to remember all the plot points or the findings our protagonist duo makes during their search for the murderer. Other than that minor point, the plot is engrossing and makes up for a very vivid and well-thought tale.

Just when I thought I had solved the mystery presented by the story, I was met with another unexpected twist at the end, thus making the experience of reading the book satisfactory.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for the ARC.

Verdict: Recommended.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
700 reviews868 followers
October 3, 2022
4.5 stars.

I'm an unabashed Anglophile who has a weakness for English mysteries, and especially those set in a historical setting.

Daughters of Night was set during the Georgian era of the late 1700s, and its historical details as well as the depiction of sex trade were uncompromisingly vivid and realistic.  The murder mystery was so engrossing with the multitude of characters that have all kinds of shady secrets both past and present to hide.  As such, despite the length of the book and the time it took to develop all the characters and their supposed motivations, it was a highly engaging read that kept me guessing and utterly surprised at the end. An excellent read all round.
Profile Image for Bamba.
244 reviews2 followers
May 27, 2021
Daughters Of The Night

2 and a half stars.

I have been looking at other reviews and hate to be the odd one out...but I honestly found this book quite hard going.

Firstly it is beautifully researched and thats why I have given 3 stars...the amount if research the author puts in is phenomenal and really shines through...the picture it paints of georgian London is thorough and vivid and I definitely applaud that.

However, there was just too much going on....I thought it needed to be streamlined a lot and that it needed to be probably be half the length it was...which would have made it much tighter...I found the revelations really drawn out and that to be quite frustrating.

Also..what is a bower? I'm imagining its like a beach hut but in a garden? I have looked everywhere for reference/photos but cannot find anything at all. I was having trouble picturing that...which is obviously pivotal to the beginning of the story.
The information about Vauxhall Gardens was fascinating though.

It is an interesting book and I am glad to have read it...but it was just too stodgy for me and I found Caro a difficult narrator and hated the ending.

Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,243 reviews121 followers
June 27, 2020
I heard good things about Laura Shepherd Robinson first novel Blood and Sugar that I had to request Daughters of the Night on NetGalley It is a continuation, but you can read it as a standalone as, I have not read the previous one.
London 1782 Caroline Corsham find the body of a high society prostitute Lucy Loveless in Victoria Pleasure gardens. She was going to meet her for other issues. The Police are not interested in her death. She is a prostitute after all. So, Caroline (Caro) to her friends takes it on herself to find the killer and the disappearance of 15-year-old prostitute Pamela. She hires Peregrine Child once a magistrate now a thief taker to help her with her quest.
Set in Georgian times Daughters of the Night is deep in historical detail which Prostitutes, pickpockets, Lords, and ladies. The story is set in several points of view. Caro’s. Childs and Pamela and the events that happened leading up to her disappearance.
I really like crime thriller novels set in London during these times and this is no exception. Deep in history, this is a well thought out and gripping novel, with great characters and shocking events that went on in these times. There was a lot of twists and turns and never a dull moment in this story four stars from me.
August 27, 2020
Firstly thank you to Netgalley and Publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was my first foray into the work of Laura Shepherd-Robinson however her first novel is sitting on my TBR pile and was highly rated, so I went into this with high expectations which were mostly met.

Firstly the things I enjoyed about the novel. It is rich in historical detail of Georgian England, specifically London and I liked that the writer included a section at the end to go more in-depth regarding the historical details. Another thing I really liked was the protagonist Caro who was portrayed as a strong female who was flawed yet relatable, This was also true of the secondary character Childs, who was again a flawed man trying to make his way in a flawed world. Lastly there were a lot of sub-plots, which came together well at the end. I was never sure who the real villains were in this book and it kept me guessing almost right until the end with lots of twists and turns.

The book to me though had one major flaw, and that was its length. I think the story could have been wrapped up in at least 100 fewer pages and as a result I did find it quite hard to read at times.

I look forward to now reading blood and sugar.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,430 reviews995 followers
May 8, 2020
Another totally brilliant historical novel from the pen of Laura Shepherd Robinson, rich in detail, beautifully crafted and hugely addictive.

The feel of it is intensely involving to the point you find the chapters flying past you. Taking up a story this time following Caro Corsham who we met in Blood and Sugar, Daughters of Night is intelligent and multi layered, offering huge insight into the time especially in relation to class divide and the position of women. A feminist perspective from a time when such things were frowned upon..

Add to that a murderer mystery that doesn't easily reveal itself, a cast of characters that stick with you long after reading it and a beautiful tone to the prose that is unique in itself and you have a sure fire winner.

Quite definitely highly recommended.

A delay to publication means you'll have to wait a while but trust me, get those pre orders in. I have, I'll be ready to read it again by then.
Profile Image for Simon.
343 reviews5 followers
February 9, 2023
I read Blood & Sugar last year and loved it, this blows that book out of the water. Set in 18th century London, a prostitute is found murdered and with the help of thief taker Peregrine Child, Lady Corsham sets out to find the truth while hiding a secret of her own. What a absolute triumph this book is. Brilliant characters and real sense of time and place, you can almost smell the smoke and the filth. I hope there is another book I need to know what happens to Caro and Perry.
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,182 reviews217 followers
February 18, 2021
In my review of Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s first book, Blood & Sugar, I recall mentioning how good it would have been for Caroline, wife of the novel’s protagonist Harry Corsham, to have had a bigger role. And do you know what, in Daughters of Night I got my wish!

Teaming up with thief-taker, Peregrine Child, Caroline – known as ‘Caro’ – sets out to investigate the death of the woman she believed to be an Italian Countess but whose real identity was somewhat different.  They make a great partnership with Peregrine especially admiring of Caro’s questioning skills, likening it to ‘having Torquemada on your team’. What their enquiries reveal is that firstly, no-one in authority particularly cares about solving the murder and secondly, there are those who definitely do not want any light shone on their activities.  Despite the risks to their reputations (such as remain), to their lives and those of their loved ones, Peregrine and Caro press on with their investigation, uncovering some very sordid secrets in the process. Despite pressure from her family, Caro remains defiant to the end, managing to bring about her revenge on the culprits in her own way.

Daughters of Night positively oozes period atmosphere, transporting the reader from the bowers and pathways of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to the taverns, coffee-houses and “fleshpots” of Covent Garden.  It was fascinating to discover the existence of things such as ‘Puss and Mew’ shops (illegal gin shops) and mixed doubles boxing matches.  Equally fascinating, but rather more distasteful, was learning about the varieties of brothels that existed in Georgian London including ‘posture houses’ where girls posed naked and ‘tableaux houses’ where young girls acted out classical scenes before audiences of men, often in order to solicit bids for their virginity.   The book reveals there existed a hierarchy of prostitutes with those at the top of their ‘profession’ becoming celebrities of their day.

Daughters of Night is another hugely impressive historical crime novel from the pen of Laura Shepherd-Robinson. Its intricate plot, with its twists and turns, kept me glued to the book until the final page. And was it my imagination or were Caro’s closing thoughts a nod to those of another famous literary heroine, Scarlett O’Hara? “There will be a plan, she told herself. I just haven’t thought of it yet. Let tomorrow bring what it will bring.” I’m sure I’m not the only reader keen to find out what tomorrow does bring for Caro.  Although Laura has revealed her next novel will be a standalone historical mystery, she also hasn’t ruled out a return for Harry and Caro at some point.  Fingers crossed from this reader.
Profile Image for A N N A.
144 reviews3 followers
May 12, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a review.

This is the sequel to Blood And Sugar, which I read when it was released in paperback earlier this year.

This book far surpasses the first in everything; writing style, plot, characters and world building. I’d never read a truer grittier Georgian london. And what I loved most about this was that it felt very feminist.

Caro, the wife of our previous MC, is well to do and fighting this deeply misogynistic and patriarchal society to find the killer of a woman she thought of as a friend - it doesn’t matter to her that she was a prostitute. She was a person who deserves justice. Whenever someone mentions “she’s just a dead whore” Caro will immediately corrects them and says “she’s a dead woman and I want answers.”

I didn’t see the plot twist or connect the dots any quicker than the characters and that to me makes for an incredibly engaging and well written book.

Trigger warnings for rape, assault, domestic violence, suicide, abortions, miscarriages, and sex with minors.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kirsty ❤️.
922 reviews46 followers
April 10, 2021
An intriguing Georgian mystery. I liked the story of this in the main. Caro discovers the murdered body of her friend who is not the high class lady she thought and with the help of thieftaker Child tries to track down the killer. We are taken on a tour of some of the most seediest underbellies of London both from street prostitution to through to the debauchery of upper class men. It's told in multiple POV which is something I always like in a book and there are many twists and turns which did make me want to keep reading.
My one issue is length. For me personally, it was far too long. Some things seems to drag or repeat themselves. I'm a fast reader and this seemed to take an age to get through. Other than that really enjoyable mystery.

3.5 rounded up
Profile Image for K.S. Marsden.
Author 19 books718 followers
July 20, 2020
When her friend is murdered and the official investigators seem keen to brush it away; Caro employs a thief-taker to help her uncover a world of prostitution and danger.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This has some of the same characters and settings as the author's previous book: Blood & Sugar. It is a stand-alone, and I didn't feel at a disadvantage for not having read the other book.

Caroline "Caro" Corsham was meeting her friend, an italian noble Lady Lucia. Her friend is killed before her eyes, but despite the crowd no one saw the murderer.
When the official investigation refuses to look into the matter, Caro employs Peregrine Child, a thief-taker that once aided her husband. They soon uncover that Lucia was not a noblewoman, but a famed London prostitute, Lucy Loveless.
Despite this, Caro still swears to get to the bottom of her friend's murder.

Child is most content at the bottom a gin bottle, to try and forget his past. Unfortunately, he's racked up quite a debt and, when Caro offers him employment, he is keen to take it.
Despite some crooked implications in his past, he is a man of honour and integrity, and quickly respects Caro.
They work together and make a great team, undaunted by the growing threats around them.

The cast of characters grows, looking into the lives of various women, who in their very different classes are all judged and condemned swiftly, by both the men that rule society, and other women who perpetuate social rules and expectations.

I really enjoyed this book. It strikes up a fine balance between historically-accurate, informative and entertaining.
Following Caro and the prostitutes, the story felt very realistic and compelling. Despite the sordid nature of whores, there was no glorifying their sexual conquests, and I never felt that any part of their lives were used for pure sensationalism.
The whores in this story have chosen to make the most of this career, while they are young and beautiful.

I really liked Caro as our main character. She has a strong sense of right and wrong, and doesn't care about upsetting the status quo of her social circle.
She is restricted by her gender - at first being her father's daughter; then her husband's wife.
As a sign of the times, when her husband Captain Corsham is away for an extended period of time, Caro and her on are given to the care of her pompous older brother.
Despite being a very intelligent woman, her life and her finances are in complete control of men.

Caro doesn't rail or whine against the unfairness of it all; she doesn't complain about the situation she's got herself into, as she knows that will not help her. She simply proceeds in a logical manner, until she gets her own way.

The murder mystery was very well done. It kept you guessing throughout who could be trusted, and who was the real culprit. I have to admit that I never saw the truth coming, and I was completely hooked for the second half of the book, I couldn't wait to find out what had happened and why.
It goes down some very dark and dangerous paths, with several shocks along the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more of the author's work.
Profile Image for Thebooktrail.
1,582 reviews284 followers
February 16, 2021

Discover the locations in the novel Daughters of Night

LOVED this book so much. It's one of the best historical fiction novels I have read in a long time.
The scene setting and immersive visit is really quite something and I am amazed this author doesn't have a time machine - it feels that authentic. Well, maybe she has!

This is the wonderful and equally evocative sequel to Blood and Sugar. We go back to London a year after the events of that book and straight into the brothels and gin-shops of Covent Garden. This is again a London of two sides with the elegant houses of Mayfair not far away.

The real location here is Vauxhall Gardens which is at the centre of the story. I found this fascinating as you find out lots about its history. From 1785 to 1859, this site was one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London. It was a popular spot for walks and the Vauxhall Bridge, built in 1810s really opened it up to even more people. Crowds would come and there were shows, hot air balloons and the garden really was on the map!

You get to travel back in time to see this in the novel. That is the amazingly detailed and atmospheric setting of the story. A woman is found murdered here, but when the police find out she was a high class prostitute, they don’t seem to care.

Don’t forget to visit the area of Bow Street – Bow Street where the Magistrates and runners in the novel (and in real life) are based.

It’s a human and heartfelt story in a world of amazement and vice. Totally captivating and wonderful to experience.

I read a LOT of historical fiction and this author is right up there on my ‘ones to watch’ list. I swear Laura has a time machine as she sees things so clearly and so vividly, you are there with her every step of the way.

Beautifully crafted and a top class reading experience with wonderfully complex characters and enough history and atmosphere to make you forget where you are – until you close the book.

Profile Image for Ingstje.
651 reviews19 followers
June 12, 2022
It took me a while to get into Daughters of Night but once I did I was all the way in. The novel is set in 1782 London and Laura Shepherd-Robinson paints such a vivid image of that era, it is all quite detailed. Daughters of Night must be one of the most researched novels I read so far, at least it felt that way. I struggled a little bit at first with some of the terms and language so I started to make a list of words that I needed to look up. Maybe you know these terms already because you are either native English or you read a lot of historical novels: tipstaffs, penny bunter, pugilist, peccadillous, buttered cardoon, ormolu workers, quim,.. but I certainly learned a few new words and meanings that I normally don’t come across in crime novels set in the present day. After a while though I did get the hang of the atmosphere and it became easier to read. I didn’t need to pause my reading so much anymore and that certainly helped to enjoy the story more.

The story was quite intriguing. Caro Corsham – a woman who has a secret of her own – is on a mission to find the killer of a prostitute who had impersonated an Italian contessa and befriended her in that persona. Caro employs thief taker Peregrine Child to help her and while he goes into ‘a bawdy house’ and talks to people on the street, she concentrates on a select group of men of her own standing who all seemed to cross ways with the great artist Agnetti who painted the girls as goddesses. He seemed pleasant enough though, it’s his wife who made me raise questions.

I very much enjoyed their investigation but I must say that I was always looking forward to the chapters from the perspective of a young girl named Pamela too. She went missing, along with another girl so her fate was still unclear and I held out a little bit of hope that she was still alive. These plotlines, the murder of one girl and the two missing girls are intermixed in so many brilliant ways making Daughters of Night quite a complex story. Nothing is as straightforward as you think and I would never have been able to imagine the different paths this novel takes.

Daughters of Night is a totally engrossing read, not the most easiest novel to read for me perhaps but challenging me in a good way and very satisfying in the end. Oh and if perhaps you want to find out what puzzle purses are, there’s no better way to find out than picking up this novel!
Profile Image for Victoria Jane.
591 reviews
July 5, 2021
London, 1782. A woman is murdered during a high society party in London. At first the authorities are quick to act but when it’s discovered that the woman was a sex worker, the case is dropped. Wanting justice for the dead woman, Caroline Corsham decides to get to the bottom of the crime herself…

I enjoyed this well written, carefully crafted novel that delves into the depths of Georgian society.

It had some interesting themes around feminism and choice and the characters were vivid and well drawn.

I did think that there was a pacing issue and I didn’t love how everything was wrapped up at the end but the skill in the writing meant that I kept turning the pages and I look forward to more from this author.
Profile Image for Rachael.
180 reviews39 followers
April 13, 2021
Blood & Sugar AND Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Ok, so shame on me for waiting so long to start this series. A lovely friend kindly sent me a copy of Blood & Sugar many moons ago, and it has sat on the top of my tbr pile for months, but never quite being picked up... until the wonderful folk over at Pan Macmillan sent me a gorgeous copy of Daughters of Night to review.

I had fully intended to just read them out of order, picking up the new one first, and then going back to 'fill in the blanks' so to speak... but when it came to it, I just couldn't do it. I am so glad I read Blood & Sugar first as it sets up the second book perfectly (although I don't think it’s at all necessary to read them in order as the mysteries are entirely separate, there are just some recurring characters)

These are both Historical Mysteries set in the 1780s, the first centres the slave trade, and the second set a year later focuses on a brothel. In both books the author does not shy away from the more gruesome details, and both stories include particularly brutal violence, so just be warned if that's a trigger for you, but it is always appropriate to the story, and handled sympathetically. The settings are tangible and real, and the characters are complex and have wonderful depth and development. The mysteries were equally enthralling and kept me guessing in both books and I hadn't figured either out until the 'big reveal'.

I was completely engrossed by both stories and I couldn't put either book down. These are a fantastic little duo and I really hope there are more to come in this series. These will both be in my 'best of the year' list for sure!

If you are looking for Historical Fiction with a heavy dose of Mystery then these books are for you!

5 outstanding stars.
Profile Image for Verónica Fleitas Solich.
Author 27 books80 followers
April 12, 2021
God these books.
As in the previous book, here the story becomes more and more entangled to the point that you end up distrusting everyone, because also everyone keeps secrets.
I really enjoyed having the opportunity to get to know Caro better.
And that ending. I wish I could have the third book in my hands right now.
Profile Image for Sarah Mullen.
109 reviews2 followers
November 15, 2022
4.5 🌟
Fantastic combination of crime thriller and historical fiction. Lots of twists and turns and although I guessed part of the plot, I still enjoyed it. Hugely evocative of 1780’s London. Hope she writes more!
Profile Image for Marthabethan.
491 reviews19 followers
February 19, 2021
This book was so GOOD! I didn’t know what to expect when I started it but I enjoyed it so much. It is set in the Georgian period in England, during the 1780s. After Lucy Loveless is murdered, a notorious woman of the night, Caroline Corsham, a lady of rank, is dragged into the dark world of murder, intrigue, prostitution and villainy. She is determined to find out who killed Lucy and begins investigating with the help of Peregrine Child, a thief taker.

This book was such a fun and addictive read, full of drama. I really enjoyed it. The characters were great and I was kept guessing at every turn. I was so invested in the world and the lives of the characters and wanted so badly for everything to work out well for Caroline. The women in this book were so strong and inspiring, despite the strict gender rules of their era. It was such a good book and I definitely want to read more by this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Eilidh.
284 reviews80 followers
February 28, 2021
”It’s how history remembers the lady, she thought. By our death or our dishonour or our sins.”

When Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham unexpectedly finds herself cradling a dying friend who, unbeknownst to Caro, is actually a prostitute who’s been murdered, she’s desperate to get to the bottom of who murdered the woman and why. She consults renown thief-taker Peregrine Child to find the answers to solve Lucy’s murder. The duo unwittingly find themselves at the heart of a deeper and darker plot than they could have imagined, with foes on all sides, ready to silence them before they uncover the truth.

*applause, applause, applause!*

*standing ovation*

Daughters of Night is one of the best - if not THEE best - historical mystery I’ve ever read. It is most definitely in my top reads of 2021.

Rich, descriptive, intricately plotted with an entertaining cast of characters. I couldn’t get enough of this book. I stole away as much time of my day and night to read this ensnaring and clever mystery.

I wanted to make up a case board with all the players and vital evidence to figure out what was going on. There’s layers of twists and turns, and then even more turns and twists, which are made all the more enthralling by how illustrious the book is. The author clearly appreciates the Georgian time period, because it truly came to life in every traipse to boozers, brothels and black alleys where our clues took us. I really enjoyed seeing the light being shone on the sex industry of the time, and also felt the portrayal of the time period in how people conducted themselves was brilliant.

The characters were well drawn and well used. There was quite a number of them, to be honest. There’s politicians, servicemen, prostitutes, loan sharks, footmen, artists, jewellers... the list goes on. Thankfully, a character list is provided. As for the main characters; Caro is a strong female lead who is not afraid of challenging the expectations and imposed limitations of her gender. She’s determined and caring, so is easily likeable.

Child, the hired PI, genuinely reads like a weary middle aged man but is nonetheless methodical and desperate enough to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Then there’s Pamela, a 15 year old maiden who I’m certain will evoke a variety of emotions with readers. One minute I liked her, but page by page, she began to make me feel uneasy, firstly with her naivety and then by her egocentric mentality. I wanted to grab and shake her - I’m pretty sure I sneered at one point.

Additionally, with Caro constrained to the misogynistic chains of the time period, her consultation and employ of Child reminded me of 2020’s Sara and Arent from The Devil and the Dark Water. If you liked that sleuthing mystery, then you’re sure to love this.

My advice to those who wish to read Daughters of Night, is be prepared for an information heavy read. There’s so much going on, and it wouldn’t surprise me if other bookworms felt it was difficult to engage with (my mum felt this way!) - my only advice would be to read this fully alert or give the audiobook a go. The narrator, Lucy Scott, was fantastic, and I hope any future stories in this world will be narrated by her.

This was absolutely brilliant and I cannot recommend it enough if you love eloquently written and well crafted mysteries, especially historical mysteries. Certain characters at certain points infuriated me so much I was screaming into a pillow and sweating with rage, and then my eyebrows were beyond my hairline from an explosive twist. I can’t wait to see what Laura Shepherd-Robinson writes next.

Thank you kindly to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. 🌌📚
Profile Image for Dan Bassett.
349 reviews51 followers
July 25, 2020
London, 1782, Caro Corsham finds a woman mortally wounded in the bowers of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens 💀
When the constables discover the deceased was a high-society lady of the night, they stop looking for the culprit - and it’s up to Caro to seek justice.
But hidden in the corners of Georgian society are myriad of deception, secrets, betrayal, killers and people looking out only for themselves.
Finding this killer will be harder, more treacherous and life-threatening than she can know....
This is a must read for anyone who loves a gorgeous masterpiece of Georgian mystery filled with twists and turns which I guarantee will leave you clutching for your smelling salts trying to comprehend what you have just uncovered, then have you reaching for the laudanum as you will not be able to sleep until you finish the final word 🧪
This is a stellar read which I cannot hold in the highest regard enough: the characters are multifaceted each with their own demons, and the author will draw you in and drag you down into the seediest bawdy houses, gossip filled taverns and the death-stricken streets, feeling the muck and dirt at the back of your throat, and it’s a trip you all must take.
The clashing of classes as Caro must navigate this world which would see her turn her back on what is expected of her, all while trying to uncover the true killer even if it means getting both her hands, and her reputation dirty but will she succeed or will someone demand the disposal of this woman who can’t seem to just leave it alone? 💀
Will you follow Caro on this path of justice?
I would as it’s a journey you will want to take, I guarantee it 💀 .
Profile Image for Kate.
1,626 reviews322 followers
February 12, 2021
Absolutely fantastic! Blood & Sugar looked at slavery while Daughters of Night portrays the place of women - wives, sisters, prostitutes - in the society of Georgian London, with its (male) predilection for classical culture, for collecting women and for controlling them, even owning them. It's wonderfully done and is so immersive. I listened to the audiobook, which is brilliantly read by Lucy Scott (well known for her depiction of Charlotte Lucas in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice). A review will follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 564 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.