Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas


In the tradition of Arianna Franklin and C. J. Sansom comes Samuel Thomas’s remarkable debut, The Midwife’s TaleIt is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.
Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who’s far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.

I received a copy of this book from netgalley for my honest opinion.  Well here it is, I loved this book! Right from the first page I was hooked, not in the kind of 'gotta sit and read this in one sitting' hooked.  But where I wanted to sit and enjoy the ride.  Sam Thomas has a way with words that is nice and smooth, I felt like I was right in that time period with Bridget and Martha.  His descriptions had me visualizing buildings, walks through York and right down to Bridget's husbands.

"...I was struck once again by the artist's inability to portray him as any less pathetic than he had been in life. In truth, it was a peculiar kind of masterpiece.  As in life, my  husband's eyes were somehow both sunken and bulging, and his uniquely weak chin became his most remarkable feature.  His ears were perfect for a man twice his size, and his nose seemed to be recoiling from the prospect of smelling his own fetid breath.  More than once I had considered remarriage if only to rid my home of so perfect a picture of so ridiculous a man."

A wonderful mystery that had me guessing right to the end. 

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