SIN EATER by MEGAN CAMPISI

Sin Eater

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

In 16th Century England, 14-year-old May Owens, an orphan, has been condemned to a life sentence for stealing bread. It could have been worse. Her punishment is to be a Sin-Eater. Apprenticed to the old Sin-Eater. She can’t speak and none should speak to her except the dying. It is she who will sit and hear all of their sins and take them into herself by eating the food that represents each sin.

She is treated brutally and marked with a collar around her neck and an S tattooed on her tongue. She has very little learning except for the letters in her name. And she can barely understand the old woman who is teaching her.

Called to the castle, they enter to hear the sins of a dying woman. A governess at court. When they return to eat the food, there is a deer heart on the coffin. But May nor the old woman heard her confess to murder. When the old woman refused to eat it, she is killed and May is left on her own.

As more women die in the castle, May thinks she may have figured out why. And along the way figured out who she really is. Now she just needs to figure out who! Before she is the next to die.

This was in no way what the blurb said. The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland.  I think that is a disservice to the book. This was a dark, gritty tale full of mystery and legend with characters both tragic and humorous. May Owens may have been born to be much more than her life became, and her strength and determination was that of a warrior.

Most of the book was hauntingly sad but this was the 16th Century. The one definitely made a mark on my heart.

NetGalley/ April 7th, 2020 by Atria Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

 

Things in Jars

THE BLURB:

In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Historical Fiction with a mystery, a missing child with odd looks and powers, taking place in the underbelly of Victorian London.

Bridie Devine is a surprising and delightful character, along with her housemaid, Cora, who happens to be about 7 feet tall and was one of my favorite characters.

In this London, there has been a kidnapping. And no one wants the police involved for reasons unknown at first. The child is supposedly the secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick. Her name is Christabel and to say she was a bit odd would be an understatement.

Her unique appearance and abilities have attracted attention from some seriously unscrupulous fanatics of the unexplainable and odd. They have no qualms killing anyone in there way. So how is Bridie going to find and rescue this child? Along with Cora and a very lovely ghost with moving tattoos, and maybe an assist from her mysterious apothecary.

The author has such a unique way of writing. I was hooked by the prologue! You would think that any historical fiction in Victorian London would be dour, but you would be wrong. Her style is so different and relatable, just when things are looking grave, boom! you’re laughing.

Of course, underneath all of this danger, there is a very good look at what we consider human. Sometimes the monsters are the ones living in fine homes and not the ones under the water.

I hope we see more of this particular character!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ February 4th, 2020 by Atria Books

 

 

 

 

CARTIER’S HOPE by MJ ROSE

 

Cartier's Hope

It’s 1910 in New York and wealthy socialite, Vera Garland is determined to make it as a reporter. Not the society page, but real, honest and investigative reporting.

Going undercover as Vee Swan, she uncovers the abysmal conditions in the tenements on the Lower East Side. And almost loses her life in the process. Recovering from her injuries and dealing with her father’s sudden death so soon after her Uncle Percy, she is taking a break from both of her identities.

While working on the mystery of her father’s death as well as marching for equal rights and pay for women, she hears that the Hope Diamond is in New York at Cartier’s! The rumors surrounding the stone are legendary. But how much is just hype to entice a better price?

Vera is intent on proving the bad luck theory or disproving it. It doesn’t hurt that it has brought her to an obnoxious magazine publisher who is also a blackmailer and could be responsible for her fathers’ death. 

For her plans to all come together she will need help. When she goes to Cartier’s to visit Pierre’s Russian jeweler for assistance, she finds out there is even more intrigue to come and she may not come out of this with the story she wants nor the man.

First, let’s talk about this cover! Absolutely stunning. The story was so real, with all of the ugliness of the women’s rights movements and the men who were violent and did their best to keep the women where they belonged. Allegedly. This is a historical fiction book that speaks to many of the same issues today. Still no equality across the board. But there will always be a Vera out there pulling us along and shouting until our voices are heard.

I loved all of the historical bits about Cartier and the Hope Diamond. It has a long and well-documented history.

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ January 28th, 2020 by Atria Books

 

THE SHIP of DREAMS: The Sinking of THE TITANIC and the end of the Edwardian Era by Gareth Russell

The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era

Gareth Russell has done his research. Uncovering previously unpublished sources and including photographs. Russell tells the story not just of the sinking of the Titanic, but of six well-known and well-heeled passengers and the role they played in history.
He is a gifted writer and puts the event in context with what was going on in the world. Especially the Americans and the British. With the Edwardian Era ending, war on the horizon and changes in the social norms, technology, politics, Irish Home Rule, the class system, this was a major time of change for the world.
We follow the stories of six of those passengers on the Titanic and how their lives changed.  The description of the sinking, minute by minute, the different ways Americans and the British handled the tragedy. Not everyone was chivalrous or brave. And for some that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
For me personally, this was the best book I have read on the subject. And that was because it was so well researched and written. Myths were shown for what they were. Facts and journals told stories never heard before. The pictures were priceless in creating an image in your head of who these people were and how they behaved.
I would have no problem recommending this book as a definitive look at this point in our history.
Extremely Well Done!
NetGalley/ November 19th, 2019 by Atria Books