Format Read: Print ARC
Source: from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Buying Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Blurb from goodreads:
For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can’t believe it, but in a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren’t permitted to defend their clients, and—if the plague doesn't kill the suspect first—public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never find out what really happened. Unless, that is, she can uncover the truth herself.
Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers’ shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer.Bea's Thoughts:
In her debut novel Murder at Rosamund's Gate, Susanna Calkins seamlessly blends historical detail, romance, and mystery in a moving and highly entertaining tale.
Historicals tend to be hit or more miss for me and in the past few years I've mostly moved away from them. The blurb for this one though sounded so interesting that I couldn't pass it up. Calkins gives us enough detail to understand the time period and solidly base her story but doesn't go overboard and drown us in details. She did take a few liberties as she admits in her notes at the end. One liberty was in language; she opted not to make it completely accurate but instead it's a blend of authentic and modern without being screamingly modern. I appreciated that and found that it made for a smooth read.
Lucy and her fellow servants have a good employer and are treated well. Lucy, I suspect, takes more liberties than was customary but again, Calkins handles it well and makes it feel realistic. As the story progresses, Lucy is treated more like a member of the family than a servant. I liked that the story wasn't rushed and we got glimpses of daily life and the law. English courts and law were very different in 1665 and I was fascinated by the procedures and the differences from modern day procedures and laws.
Events occur over the course of a little more than a year. The murder is actually not the central plot to the story; there are several plot lines including a potential romance with a man not of Lucy's own class and rank. I wish there had been a little more emphasis on the murder but eventually Calkins winds things up. I didn't figure out who the culprit was but looking back, there were clues.
Calkins has a easy style, never pretentious, and she drew me in right from the beginning and held my interest all the way through. She's planning more books featuring Lucy and I look forward to reading them.
Like the review? Want to read the book? Click here to enter a giveaway. There are 3 prizes: A $40 Amazon.com gift card and two hardback copies of Murder at Rosamund's Gate for a total of 3 winners.
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