A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #1 in the Lucy Campion series
Publication Date: 2013
Source: Copy provided by publisher through Bookbrowse
The Short Version:
In 1665 London a chambermaid finds herself in danger, in love, and in need of the truth regarding who killed a friend.
Why I Read It:
The description of the book sounded interesting and the cover really caught my eye.
From the Publisher:
For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can’t believe it, but in a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren’t permitted to defend their clients, and—if the plague doesn’t kill the suspect first—public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never find out what really happened. Unless, that is, she can uncover the truth herself.
Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers’ shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer.
I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. I had high hopes. The description was interesting. I was interested in the time period and I liked the cover. Even though the author is up front in her note that she’s updated the language of the period to make the book easier to read I wasn’t too worried. Based on the author’s background I had a high confidence level in the historical accuracy of other elements of the book.
Unfortunately it just never captured me. It was slow to start and even though Lucy is the main character and this is intended to be the first in a series, I never felt connected to or involved in Lucy’s point of view. The characters all felt a bit flat and that slowness of the early part of the book continued.
Then partway through the main mystery story line is dropped and a section about the plague begins and the mystery story isn’t picked back up until that section is wrapped up plus a lengthy time interval.
All in all it just didn’t flow well and felt a bit disjointed. It almost seems as if the author had two stories she was working on involving the same set of characters and that the plague story was simply inserted in between two parts of the murder mystery story.
It was truly just OK and I doubt I’ll read more of this series.