A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate
by Susanna Calkins
Read: Jan. 18 – 22, 2013
Challenge: 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge
Yearly count: 5
Blurb: 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 Lucy’s brother is wrongly arrested for the crime. 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 them first—public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never see her brother alive again. Unless, that is, she can identify the true murderer.
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.
Review: I received this book via NetGalley. It was an impulse request, but I knew that it was a book that I really wanted to read.
I actually finished this book a few days ago, but for some reason I couldn’t immediately put my thoughts together on how to approach the review. But I’ve now gathered my thoughts and I hope that I am able to convey to my readers just how much I really did enjoy this book.
However, that’s not to say that it wasn’t without its faults. First of all, this is most definitely a historical mystery. But I was a little frustrated that it took 100 pages until we really got to the “mystery” part of it. The only reason I kept reading the book through all that was because Ms. Calkins really set the stage beautifully in my opinion. There was just something about the writing and the introduction to all the characters that really drew me farther into the story.
I really enjoyed Lucy’s character. She seemed so real to me. And I liked how Ms. Calkins made her more than just a servant – she was a young woman with thoughts and opinions of her own. It also helped that her household master was quite receptive to hearing the chambermaid’s opinions. I’m absolutely positive that this would have been almost unheard of during the time this book was set (London during the plague years).
The mystery part of the book was quite interesting to me. I will admit that I had no idea who the killer really was until he was revealed. That’s always something that I really appreciate out of a good book.
When the book reaches its conclusion the reader is left wondering where Lucy will go from there. I will admit that I was a little frustrated that it seemed to end so abruptly. I was left with a lot of questions that I wanted answers to immediately. Hopefully I will be able to meet Lucy again in another book in the future.
Either way, this is definitely a historical mystery not to be missed. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do this is exactly the type of book that I’m looking for. I know this book will make a big splash in the book world – and it definitely deserves to. Highly recommended.