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on 28 July 2015
I did manage to finish the book but it was an endurance test. So much misery & every character a grim, joyless individual. Admittedly the atmosphere was dark & oppressive, presumably intentionally, but this only made me more eager to leave it. A book I was glad to finish & move on from.
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on 15 July 2015
This book provides a marvellous insight into life in late 18th century London. The characters are well-written, the story unfolds nicely and the reader can almost see, hear and smell the sights, sounds and odours of the city at that time. I will look out for other books by this author.

We seem to have had a lot of books with 'Wife' in the title lately - I think that's part of the attraction, but where will it end?

Highly recommended.
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on 12 September 2017
This is a debut novel set in 18th century London, and in particular in Berkeley Square and Bond Street. It is a "who-dun-it" without a central detective figure, and concerns the death of a silversmith. Whilst the plot is intriguing, I found it difficult to get too involved, partly because of the weaknesses of the three central characters, who I found fairly boring. The key problem to this book is a lack of pace, there is too much description of the lives of the two main female protagonists and no-one with whom it is easy to empathise.
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on 3 December 2014
I enjoyed the book, but not as much as I thought I would, given the blurb and reviews. Like another reviewer, I found the issue of "voice" difficult. Who are the main characters with whom we are meant to identify? From whose point of view is the story being told? I thought it was Mary's, but then there was a lot about Joanna, and others.....also their personalities seemed to shift about (is Mary a suffering soul or a bit of a disturbed, cold fish, as implied after her second marriage?). The writing was good, though not compelling and slow in places. I got to the end, mainly because I wanted to find out who killed Pierre (not much of a surprise), and whether Mary lived happily ever after. As a first novel, certainly readable, and I would read another of hers - maybe some of the issues here and identified in other reviews will be addressed.
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on 16 June 2015
Like pulling hen's teeth. Very boring and non-engaging and yet I feel compelled to read until the end to find out who the murderer is. I often have to read paragraphs twice as I can't concentrate on such boring text well enough to take in the first time. The sub plots aren't that strong. Will be relieved to finish. It's an endurance test!
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on 13 February 2015
Read this book as a book club member and wasn't for me. Too many characters and I found it a bit boring, couldn't wait to get it finished.
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on 13 February 2015
A well written and interesting story. A little confusing initially especially on the kindle version as to the timeline where the author dips backwards and forwards in time but i was gripped and read the book in three days.
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on 23 February 2014
This was an enjoyable read and the writer clearly has promise. I thought some first book efforts showed through in some "artsy" sentences that while setting the scene were sometimes just too much and too studied and sometimes jumped around and left me dangling for a bit to figure out what was going on. However, I thought there was a great period feel that I appreciated. I have not stumbled across equivalent period books before and perhaps should look harder I will definitely check and see if this writer produces a second book.
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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2014
With this debut novel we are transported back to 18th century London, and in particular to Berkeley Square and Bond Street. This is a dangerous place requiring the presence of a night watchman to protect its people and property. One night Edward Digby, the night watchman on duty finds the slain body of Pierre Renard, a well-known and a highly regarded silversmith.

Despite cultivating a superior persona, Renard was not a popular man and he was not mourned by many. In private he was a cruel sadistic bully and in business, a fraud. His wife Mary suffered the most at his hands, his diary notes at the beginning of each chapter make clear his disappointment of her and his wish to be free of his marriage.

Without the benefit of modern day forensic examination, there is not much of an investigation into his death. The local doctor is also the coroner and only a cursory inquest is held. What then follows is a cleverly constructed story encompassing the many people who were in some way involved with Renard, either through business or his personal life.

This is a very richly detailed and atmospheric story. It has clearly been well researched and the historical detail is fascinating. The characters are superbly drawn, from the widow Mary, who is a shell of her former self after her unhappy marriage to Renard; the night watchman Digby, a man who is not without flaws; a young newlywed upper class couple whose marriage is not all it seems and the silversmiths and engravers who work in poor conditions to produce such beautiful silverware. There were one or two characters who particularly stood out for me - Mary's sister Mallory, a no-nonsense widow and businesswomen and Alban Steele, an old acquaintance of Mary's who comes to London to help his ailing cousin with his silverwork.

This is very much a slow burner of a story which proceeds throughout at a sedate pace. I've always loved history and thoroughly enjoyed the historical detail and vivid descriptions. Little by little the life and secrets of the silversmith Renard, are revealed and suspicion is cast upon those closest to him and those who had the most to gain from his death. Do we ever find out who killed him - you will have to read the book to find out!
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on 28 February 2014
I loved this book. It was atmospheric, beautifully written and kept me entirely enthralled throughout. Definitely one of the best debuts I have read.
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