A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries #4) by Susanna Calkins

A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries #4)
Author Susanna Calkins
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery and Suspense
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Pages: 337
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Lucy Campion, a ladies’ maid turned printer’s apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge over the murky waters of the River Fleet one morning when, out of the mist, she sees a specter moving toward her. Frightened at first, Lucy soon realizes the otherworldly figure is in fact a young woman, clearly distraught and clad only in a blood-spattered white nightdress. Barely able to speak, the woman has no memory of who she is or what’s happened to her. The townspeople believe she’s possessed. But Lucy is concerned for the woman’s well-being and takes her to see a physician. When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman’s companion while she remains under the physician’s care.

     As the woman slowly recovers, she begins—with Lucy’s help—to reconstruct the terrible events that led her to Holborn Bridge that morning. But when it becomes clear the woman’s safety might still be at risk, Lucy becomes unwillingly privy to a plot with far-reaching social implications, and she’ll have to decide just how far she’s willing to go to protect the young woman in her care.

     Susanna Calkins has drawn a richly detailed portrait of a time in history and a young woman struggling against the bounds of her society in her next absorbing Lucy Campion mystery.

     My Review: Lucy, a printer’s apprentice, is crossing Holborn Bridge one foggy morning when out of the fog there appears a wild woman that looks as if she is a ghost. Lucy is immediately frightened about what she has seen, but after she recovers she realizes that she is an injured and distraught young woman. Lucy takes her to the physician’s house, who immediately takes her in and cares for her. Soon, both Lucy and the physician have questions regarding this unknown woman. The unknown woman has no memory of who she is, where she comes from, and what has happened to her. Lucy is curious, and she embarks on a quest to find out this woman’s identity and her past. As she investigates further into the mystery, the more she realizes that there are dark secrets regarding this woman, and that there are people who are determined that the unknown woman’s identity remains anonymous.

     While Lucy has a low social status, she is comfortable in her position as a bookseller. She has a creative imagination and loves to write. She writes stories about the previous mysteries that she has solved. I found Lucy to be a likable character. She is smart and practical. She can also be caring. However, she can also be judgmental and temperamental. She is also quite a bit stubborn and impatient. She is suspicious of other people, and it is hard for her to trust others. She is also a realist, for she knows that her opportunities are limited due to her social status, and tries to plan a future based upon her happiness. I also found her to be very courageous for she is willing to take many risks in order to solve the mystery. Thus, Lucy is a very interesting character, and is a character whom readers will root for.

     Overall, this book is about friendship, choices, love, and freedom. While I did find the characters to be interesting, I found this novel to be a bit drawn out. The mystery was pretty predictable, and I wanted there to be more twists and turns to make the case be more mysterious. I also did not like there to be a love triangle in this book. I felt it to be unnecessary. I would have liked the story more had there been no romance involved, for it felt forced. Nevertheless, I did think that this novel was well-written, and it gave me vivid descriptions of 17th century London. I recommend this book to those who would like to read a historical mysteries set after the Great Fire of London and those who enjoy books about amateur sleuths.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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