Delphine Woods is an author who loves to write historical mysteries and thrillers.
Book Review: The Companion
By Kim Taylor Blakemore
What’s it about?
1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt arrives on a freezing winter’s night at the remote Burton mansion, easily filling the shoes of the previous maid who recently drowned. She wants a fresh start; she needs her past to stay hidden. And that would be easy, if it weren’t for the beguiling Eugenie Burton and her companion.
As Lucy climbs the social ranks within the household, tensions build and jealousy stirs. The place is alive with listening ears and suspicious minds. Reputations and lives are at risk…
As she waits to hang for double murder, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her downfall. Will anyone believe her story before it’s too late? After all, she’s been known to bend the truth before.
“Jealousy. Envy. A bitter sin. It burns the stomach and clenches the heart and runs tendrils of fire under the skin. It’s not a trait I’m proud to call my own, yet it likes to perch on my shoulder and whisper all manner of things in my ear.”
“What does it matter, the story I tell? The words cannot undo what’s been done nor give life back to all those who’ve lost it. Words can be twisted any which way. Move a sentence here, change a name there, shift a day or desire. Put words in one mouth or take some from another.”
I adored The Companion. Right from the start, I loved Lucy as a character. Sharp witted and sharp tongued, she is a delicious mix of vulnerability, fearlessness, and strength. A past which tugs at heartstrings, she is a victim of her time, falling on the wrong side of sex and social class. I wanted her to thrive. I wanted that horrid and vindictive companion to be cast aside, even though I knew she too was a victim of society (Blakemore ensures every character is resolutely in the grey zone – neither hero nor villain).
With a small cast, all the characters leap off the page and have lives of their own. The two central locations – the Burton mansion and the prison – sit in stark, alarming contrast to each other, so that we can never forget just how far Lucy has fallen. The prose is a pure delight, achingly beautiful and minutely detailed.
This is a twisting story of love, betrayal and injustice – injustice on so many levels. It transports you back in time, and draws you deep into Lucy’s turbulent life. It will make you laugh, gasp, and cry. A gorgeous gothic read, featuring some of my favourites – laudanum, arsenic, and a noose!
About the author:
From her website:
Kim writes dark and twisty historical novels that feature fierce and often dangerous women. She writes about the thieves and servants, murderesses and soiled doves, grifters and flimflam girls - women with tangled lies and hidden motives. The Companion is her adult debut in historical mystery. Her second novel for Lake Union, After Alice Fell, will be released in January 2021. She is also the author of the YA historicals Bowery Girl and the WILLA Literary Award winner Cissy Funk.
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