A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susanna Calkins
ISBN: 9781250007902 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250007919 (ebook)
ASIN: B008RLTZBO (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Minotaur Books
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.
In her debut novel A Murder at Rosamund's Gate, Susanna Calkins seamlessly blends historical detail, romance, and mystery in a moving and highly entertaining tale.
Lucy Campion is different from other maids (perhaps even other women) during the seventeenth century. She is inquisitive and smart. When her best friend, Bessie Campbell, is murdered in a manner similar to two other girls, Lucy is distraught. When her brother, William, is arrested for the crime she becomes angry and determined to find the true murderer at all costs.
I enjoyed reading A Murder at Rosamund's Gate, but I found that the story seemed to drag a little in the beginning. Initially we are presented with the back-story, with glimpses into the lives of the magistrate and his family, as well as the lives of the servants. Lucy and Bessie become good friends, perhaps because they are similar in age and working in the same household, but they don't really seem to have much in common. Lucy is interested in working to better herself whereas Bessie is working because it is expected and all she seems interested in is having a good time by dancing and flirting. After Bessie is found murdered and Lucy's brother is arrested, the entire focus of the story changes and picks up pace. Lucy does a credible job as an amateur detective and becomes quite adventurous in her quest for the truth. Although I enjoyed the story and most of the characters, I had a difficult time with the premise that a lowly chambermaid could outsmart the authorities in her search for answers. Ms. Calkins has definitely provided an intriguing story that mixes just the right amount of history with mystery and a splash of romance. If you enjoy reading historical fiction with a few twists, then you may want to add A Murder at Rosamund's Gate to your reading list.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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