Historical fiction tinged with romance, espionage and intrigue.
Synopsis: Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time between cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress and by plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.
Fleeing a sadistic and ambitious suitor, Thamsine Granville is alone, penniless and friendless in London. She has her own reasons for wanting Cromwell dead and when she hurls a piece of brick at his coach, she finds herself unexpectedly in the arms of Kit Lovell.
Far from the world weary, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal. The world Kit has carefully built up begins to unravel as the plotting takes a serious turn and his own life is now on the line. Nor had he planned on falling in love with Thamsine Granville and when Thamsine falls into the hands of her vicious suitor, Ambrose Morton, Kit is torn by his loyalty to his master and his love for Thamsine.
In rescuing Thamsine, Kit makes one last gamble and loses. The price he has to pay is the hangman’s rope…
Bookish Things: A stunning and bright cover that catches the eye but gives only a little away. 328 pages of entertaining and engrossing reading.
If you’ve read the blurb and you’re not intrigued by that, then I don’t know what will draw you into a book.
This story has it all; Friendship, hardship, romance, war, blackmail, assassination, drunken tavern songs, bawdy wenches and plotting and dishonesty as thick as three planks of wood. The plot is twisted and gnarly and will drag you along however unwittingly you may be, down the dimly lit corridors of this 16th century historical tale.
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. Kit and Thamsine are lovely, detailed and realistic characters who draw you into their arms like lovers. They tease you with whispered sweet nothings and then dunk you head first into the cold harshness of their reality. If you don’t know much about this time in England’s history, you’ll find this tale amusing and entertaining, if you do know of this rather turbulent time, you’ll find this tale rich in detail, adding colour to the dreary, daily life of the English subjects.
There was one point that failed in this story. In actual fact it didn’t fail, but it failed to deliver the impact I think Alison was going for. It has to do with the closing line in the synopsis. The lurch of my guts, the stilling of my heart… it all occurred but it wasn’t allowed to sink in, the story moved along too quickly. The gut-wrenching feeling of sadness should have been overwhelming, it should have made me cry. It didn’t quite get there.
I’ve seen this type of scene done before and, I believe, done better. If you’ve read Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander Series you’ll probably know of the scene I’m referring to. This was painstakingly drawn out and I, as the reader, was in tears as I mourned the loss of one of my dearest friends/characters. I’m not saying that Alison’s tale wasn’t great, this scene was almost right… perhaps another chapter or two in between would have just given me time to really start to feel for them.
All in all, this was a thoroughly engrossing tale. If you enjoy historical fiction, if you enjoy romance, if you enjoy plotting and mystery then this book is for you!
A few things I noticed:
The text changed size and font every paragraph or so, not a huge issue, but something that might wreak havoc for those who struggle with reading certain fonts.
69% – ‘…if you told us what (he) looks like…’
75% – ‘…there was little she could (do) for Kit…’
What is your favourite historical fiction? Share them below.