Friday, 15 August 2014


Rating: ****  ( 4 Stars)


Brief reasons for ratings:

 This debut novel from Sophia Tobin would pluck at the heartstrings of the most hardened of criminals. Although I feel that it would have been to the reader's benefit for there to have been a few more signposts on the journey through the story at times, the swift changes of direction might arguably add to the mystery of the book. The plot is certainly not predictable, and feels increasingly intimate as the narrative proceeds. Berkeley Square is beautifully described and brings about a gothic 'small village' feel to the characters interactions, and the additional descriptions of the crafting of precious metals lends a mythical, dragonish fascination with the items made and sold throughout the plot.

Recommended for:

Fans of historical fiction and crime. Suggested age 16+


Tobin's excellence lies primarily through her characterization- Mary, the fragile near-gothic widow, seems both freed and more tightly bound by the absence of her bullying former spouse. She is both obvious suspect and clear victim in a strangely ethereal and beautifully appealing manner. Joanna, lady's maid and very complex woman, is an earthy opposite, as is Mallory, Mary's sister, and these two provide context of the more 'standard' lifestyle of a woman in 1792. Children, of course, are a key device and both Joanna's lost babe and Mallory's brood design much of their reactions and personality within the story. The men within the story seem to be cast more firmly into either good/evil roles, and the time spent developing Pierre, Alban and Digby in particular strongly encourages interest in their perspectives and relationships.


Very much recommended as a book for the commute, as I liked being able to dip in and out, and found this allowed me to think about the characters and their decisions with more objectivity. Not for the faint of heart, but very accessible and absorbing, especially to fans of the historical/crime/psychology genres.

No comments:

Post a Comment