Living in seventeenth-century England is a real drag. Especially for Lucy Campion, a common chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate. As word travels of young women being killed in a particularly violent manner, Lucy is put on edge, even more so when one of her friends is killed in a strikingly similar manner.
Unfortunately for Lucy, that is not the end of things. Her own brother stands accused of murdering the girl, something Lucy just cannot believe. Set in a time where the guilty are seen that way until they are proven innocent (a miraculous feat in itself as back then lawyers were not permitted to defend their clients outright) and public executions draw a huge crowd, Lucy takes it upon herself to clear her brother’s name – no matter what the cost.
My Review: 4 out of 5 stars
Susanna Calkins could not have asked for a better debut novel than A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate. This book was everything I had been hoping for and more!
Aside from the mystery at the forefront (who killed those poor girls?), the characters also have to deal with the plague’s entrance into London. Will anyone make it out alive? Will the person responsible for the death’s succumb to the plague before justice can be served?
I found myself completely lost in the world she had painted, unable to tear myself away from the pages, and finding myself surprised again and again at how much time had passed while I had been lost inside the world she had created. Everything, from the details to the characters (and their flaws), pulls you in and traps you in their world until the very end.
The only thing that really stood out to me negatively, and please don’t misunderstand, it was not a problem with the storytelling, but more the level of familiarity between the Magistrate’s family and their servants did not ring true for me. I do not think that such a casual relationship existed during that time, and other historical novels I have read have not showed the level of familiarity that Ms. Calkins’ characters show.
Being that this novel was considered Book 1 of the Lucy Campion Mysteries, I cannot wait to read book 2, I only hope it is half as engrossing as this book was.
DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced copy of A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate in exchange for my honest review. This has not reflected on my review in any way. A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate is scheduled for mass publication April 23, 2013.