This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders
Series: A Laetitia Rodd Mystery #1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Purchase at: Amazon
Mrs. Laetitia Rodd, aged fifty-two, is the widow of an archdeacon. Living in Hampstead with her confidante and landlady, Mrs. Benson, who once let rooms to John Keats, Laetitia makes her living as a highly discreet private investigator.
Her brother, Frederick Tyson, is a criminal barrister living in the neighboring village of Highgate with his wife and ten children. Frederick finds the cases, and Laetitia solves them using her arch intelligence, her iron discretion, and her immaculate cover as an unsuspecting widow. When Frederick brings to her attention a case involving the son of the well-respected, highly connected Sir James Calderstone, Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire to take up a position as the family’s new governess—quickly making herself indispensable.
But the seemingly simple case—looking into young Charles Calderstone’s “inappropriate” love interest—soon takes a rather unpleasant turn. And as the family’s secrets begin to unfold, Laetitia discovers the Calderstones have more to hide than most.
Have you ever read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens? If you had and wished for some exploration on the characters or some slight differences in their outcomes then I whole-heartedly suggest you read this tale. If you have never read David Copperfield then no worries, if you like crime, mystery and suspense then I also suggest this book to you.
This book is touted as a new crime series and it is BUT what they are not touting is that this is a book about romance as well. I do not mean romance in the illicit sense; I mean that the underlying stories in this novel are all driven by love for good or bad. There is also the heartbreak of the widowed Laetitia Rodd, which was felt throughout the story. She loved her husband and misses him so and because of her experiences in love she views all the other interactions with the women that she sees through this lens. To me, it makes the story richer. Humans are driven by love and by lack of love and I like that the character is written in such a way that she can be compassionate to even the most vile of women because she can understand on a level what led them to their circumstances or situation.
“My work could be described as the Management and Prevention of Scandal (my brother used to enjoy making up facetious advertisements for my services – ‘Blushes Spared and Broken Commandments Mended!’)”
Laetitia Rodd is a clever sort of woman who uses intuition and spying to gather information for clients in her work as a private investigator. What could drive a woman in Victorian times to pursue a career as a PI? Well, after the death of her husband she was left near penniless and needed to find a way to support herself. Luckily she has a younger brother who is a barrister and recommends her for cases where discretion is advised for finding out the truth of the matter.
It is due to this type of recommendation that Laetitia finds herself embroiled in a most unpleasant mystery that involves multiple murders all being orchestrated by an unknown master criminal that only goes by the moniker of “Prince.” True to fashion, this stubborn Victorian woman is not deterred by the circumstances and is bound and determined to bring this puppet master to justice. With the help of her brother, an inspector from the Metropolitan Police and her landlady, Mrs. Bentley, Laetitia is able to follow the trail of a murderer that is full of twists and turns and surprises. This story will keep you on your toes with suspense.
There are truly no dull moments in this book and it is also a clean read. There are talks of scandals, adultery and harlots but it is all done without it being vulgar. All the characters are well fleshed out and even though this is most likely going to be a series, the ending is very tidy with no cliffhangers. I do not think that will be a deterrent for readers in not continuing the series though because Laetitia is a pip and they will want to see what she wanders into next. There is also the seeds of possibility of something with a certain inspector…it is after all a novel full of romantic notions. I highly recommend this book to all readers!
*Thank you to Bloomsbury USA & NetGalley for this ARC of The Secrets of Wishtide*