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The Keeper of Secrets (Tobias Campion) Kindle Edition
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If you can imagine the best Agatha Christie murder story with the characters found in a Jane Austen novel, you might have a rough idea of the flavour of the book. The period characters were very well realised - the kindly and benevolent parson and doctor, the lady of the manor and her wayward son and the poor of the parish. The story weaves a tangled web of secrets which keep you turning the pages.
This is not a thought provoking book, but it does depict very well the social injustices of the period. A story, which is hard to put down, and that has twists and turns that keep you guessing.
I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more from this author.
Tobias Campion was given the living of Moreton St. Jude by Lady Elham, a distant cousin of his mother's. Tobias felt a calling to the clergy, even though his secret was that his wealthy family made it unnecessary for him to ever earn his own living. This world will prove to be a very different place from the one he has inhabited all his privileged life and in this world Tobias will come directly in contact with the poverty and privations suffered by the poor while the rich remain unmoved by those conditions. Tobias meets the beautiful housemaid Lizzie Woodman when he rescues her from the unwanted advances of another house guest at Moreton Priory. Her safety then becomes his concern and when she disappears, he sets about trying to find what has happened to her. Dr. Edmund Hansard and Tobias join forces to try to solve the strange and awful happenings which keep coming faster and faster as this story progresses.
I thoroughly enjoyed the plotting and the characterizations in this novel. Judith Cutler wrote a moving depiction of the incredible differences in the lives of poor and rich in Regency England and used her parson as a fine example of how men and women of conscience were moved to help with whatever means were at their disposal. I found her characters to be very interesting. I thought the pace of the story moved a little slowly for quite a while, I'm sure in order to give her the opportunity to explain who and what kinds of people her characters are. Nevertheless, it did seem to go slowly until the investigation began in earnest. After that point, the story positively flew. I did not guess until toward the end who the guilty party was nor the many secrets which were leading to the crimes. For readers who enjoy period thrillers, this one is well worth your time to explore.
The sense of time and place is very well portrayed. The social comment too is excellent, reminiscent of Dickens-type writing without the protracted descriptions. I love historical novels and the social history in this is fascinating.
The plot itself is very good and keeps you guessing although I don't think plot is the strongest feature of the book.
I love the characterisation. Tobias is a great hero although I suppose some could complain that he is too good to be true but I personally loved his morality and values. I also found his relationship with Jem to be touching.
Overall though it is that this book is written with such a strong sense of morality which made it especially good for me; however, that coupled with ecellent storytelling and historical detail make for a fantastic read. I am about to look for her other books and order them from Amazon because I enjoyed this one so much.
I found it be a gentle and absorbing read that, whilst being undemanding, succeeds in honouring the intelligence of the reader and it is for this reason that I recommend it as a very good read for those who enjoy a good piece of historical fiction.
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Brilliantly written, with well thought out, believable characters, wonderful...Read more