“Lady Charlotte Carlise always took afternoon tea in Mayfair’s Cafe Boheme. She was currently sitting looking at a dead man.”
Genre: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 296
Date of Publication: 28 January 2022
Publisher: The BookGuild
My Review Summary: A fast paced story that kept me gripped from beginning to end.
When Adrian Harcourt, a politician and captain in the army believed dead with his company on the battlefield of Flanders, is sighted looking like he’s been living rough, Harry Lark, a war veteran and journalist, is enlisted by his friend and benefactor Lady Carlise to investigate.
As he becomes drawn further into the case and the deaths mount up, he can see that things don’t add up. Where has Adrian been for so many years? Why can’t he remember parts of his past?
Looking further into Adrian’s previous life, even as his own dark past and addiction to laudanum threatens to overwhelm him, Harry begins to fall for Lady Carlise’s beautiful daughter Freddy, who was also Adrian’s fiancé.
Chasing the leads as they continue to unravel, can Harry solve the mystery behind what really happened to Adrian before it’s too late?
I was taken in by the description of this book and was pleased when I managed to get a slot on the Random Things Blog Tour for it. I love a good mystery/thriller and the description certainly ticked all the boxes for me. There was also a bit of romance thrown in for good measure!
Once I started reading I was hooked. It opened with a quote from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which I thought was interesting. It wasn’t until I thought about it at the end that I understood why it was there!
The writing of the story itself was clear, simple and beautifully descriptive. It was set at a fast pace, yet nothing felt rushed. In fact there were times when it was deliberately slowed down to make sure that everything was taken into account. I loved it!
The chapters were all fairly short, with some being only a few pages long. It was well balanced between the longer and shorter chapters, which helped to move the story on, yet at the same time made sure that you had all of the information. Despite the complicated nature of the story, I never felt lost or confused.
What I particularly enjoyed about each of the chapters was the beautiful description of things. They would often start with a description of the setting, before focusing on the characters and their conversations and/or actions. This technique allowed you to take stock and to appreciate where the characters were. Smells and sounds were often described, which allowed you to better immerse yourself in the story.
The characters were well written and had many layers. I think that the time period that these characters lived in was a hard one and that came through in their conversations and actions. People were trying to find their ‘new normal’ after the War which was tough and life changing for many. People had lost loved ones and even if loved ones came back they were changed. The main characters were testament to this.
The characters were completely believable and even though I had my suspicions, it was still hard to take in when the whole story came out at the end! It was an emotional read at times, with the War being in the recent past, the current violence still taking place, and all the emotional fallout that that brings, but it all came together at the end.
Lastly the settings. They were beautifully described and they lightened the story when things were hard for the characters. There was a good balance between the description of the setting and the action that was to take place. You were drawn in to each chapter individually, but together it made for an interesting whole story.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it those who love historical fiction, mystery and romance.
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