This book is written with much care and is full of carefully researched period detail. The style of writing is of the era and is reminiscent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or even Charles Dickens. This can take a little while to grow accustomed to but then adds to the atmosphere of the Victorian scenes described. The key question posed by the narrative is "What is madness?". Is it defined by doctors, the law or the general opinion of contemporary society? This question is as relevant now as it was then. The book has a wide range of colourful characters and fine descriptions of a number of different locations that seem to bring Victoriam Britain back to life. Alongside the evolving plot, this keeps the reader engaged to the final page. Like other reviewers, I look forward to other books by Mr Croft in a similar vein.
Enthralling, enchanting, detailed, authoritative, well-researched, intelligently written and above all a joy to read. Transports you back to Victorian times when minor aberrations were not tolerated, children often endured much cruelty and the wealthy were powerful enough to control a person's destiny. The plot is of an affable, if foolish, "nearly-do-well" who stands to inherit a handsome estate and the evil subterfuge that follows as that "foolish" moniker is seen by others as evidence of madness and hence a means to change his destiny. Gorgeous, very rarely do I find a book such as this for which it is seriously difficult to resist going on to the next chapter and the next..
I am so disappointed that I have finished this wonderful book. I downloaded it onto my kindle to take on holiday with me, and I was so engrossed that my husband complained that he wasn't getting any attention! This well researched book takes the reader back to the atmosphere of Victorian London and Norfolk whilst also giving a detailed account of the legal system of the time. Reminiscent of the detail that C.J. Sansom includes in his Shardlake series. A fantastic first novel - can't wait for the next in the series badly suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Shades of Dickens with its innocents, villains and those of 'tarnished' reputations this book is loosely based on a real-life trial, and provides a glimpse of the farcical lunacy laws of the mid nineteenth century through an entertaining and at times amusing tale. Well researched and fast paced. I recommend it, and I look forward to Russell's next volume.
This novel will be an interesting read to :lawyers, historians, cleft palate experts, psychiatrists and people who simply enjoy a good historical novel set in the late nineteenth century.It concerns a young man whose family attempt to get hold of hisproperty and land on the basis that he is mad.They pay a host of people e to testify at his lunacy trial.doctors, appear to have testified that he was mad whilst describing the effects of an unrepaired cleft palate plus poor parenting as evidence ofmadness.A good read for anyone.
I've never met and have no direct connection with Russell Croft but a friend recommended this book. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mr Croft accurately recreates the feel of Victorian London and rural Norfolk with what turns out to be an action packed and exiting narrative.
I was transported into a proper/improper Victorian world leaving not a stone unturned. I so often felt that I was there as a witness to the twists and turns in the fortunes of the characters. The sights, sounds and even the smells of that time were transmitted so convincingly by the writer that I can only conclude that his research on the story had been very thorough. A brilliant first novel and I can't wait for the next one!
This is a very impressive debut from Russell Croft. The story line is gripping, the characters well-developed and engaging and the historical detail utterly convincing. The atmosphere created is very Dickensian and brings to life the appalling system for judging a person's sanity that prevailed in the 1860's. I very much look forward to a sequel from this author.