SOURCE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Violet Morgan often wondered why she was so skilled at dressing a corpse, yet was embarrassingly incompetent in the simplest household task, such as selecting draperies or hiring housemaids.My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed LADY OF ASHES, the first book in an original new series featuring Victorian undertakers. This book first caught my eye many months ago, and I was intrigued that the protagonist was a 19th century female undertaker. Though her career choice was odd for a woman of her time, Violet Morgan's character was likable and easy to connect with, and she drew me into the story. She was a compassionate person and savvy businesswoman, able to keep Morgan Undertaking thriving while her husband's shady dealings kept him otherwise occupied.
LADY OF ASHES was well-researched historical fiction, giving readers a detailed look at funeral practices and mourning customs during the Victorian Era, as well as British opinions about Americans and the Civil War, and the plight of the London poor.
The plot moved slowly at first, but my morbid fascination with the subject matter (early embalming techniques!) easily held my interest. The pacing picked up considerably after Violet suspects foul play in the deaths of two seemingly unrelated people. I loved how the mystery played out - very exciting!
A macabre murder mystery, a touch of political intrigue, and a vivid glimpse of life in 1860s London made LADY OF ASHES an engrossing read. 4½-stars!
Review copy courtesy of the author in conjunction with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
Links: The Book Depository | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
About the Author:
Christine Trent writes historical fiction from her two-story home library. She lives with her wonderful bookshelf-building husband, four precocious cats, a large doll collection, entirely too many fountain pens, and over 4,000 fully cataloged books. She and her husband are active travelers and journey regularly to England to conduct book research at historic sites.
Christine Trent's novels include The Queen's Dollmaker, A Royal Likeness and By the King's Design.
For more information, please visit Christine Trent's website. You can also find her on Facebook.
As part of my stop on Christine Trent's blog tour, I have one paperback copy of LADY OF ASHES to give away! This contest is open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment on this post and include your e-mail address. Entries will be accepted until next Tuesday, March 12th, at 11:59 pm CST. Good luck!