As part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours,
I read and enjoyed Christine Trent's new novel,
Here's my Review:
Who is this successful business person in Victorian London whose line of business consists of giving the deceased a make-over? A woman! Yes, oddly enough (more like- unheard of) for those times, Violet Morgan is an undertaker who takes pride in her trade. I believe one of the reasons why I’m so attracted to Trent’s novels is because of the strong, visionary heroines in her stories.
In her private life, Violet is abandoned by her husband, Graham Morgan. His leave began as an escape that ended with him going into hiding. Busy avenging his grandfather who died at the hands of Americans during the Trent affair (how delicious that this coincides with the author’s name as well;), Graham commands Violet to sell the business while he’s away. Never fond of Violet being more of an entrepreneur, Graham wanted her to settle as a quiet domestic wife until his return.
Of course this is Christine Trent’s novel- so you can probably imagine that her heroine Violet, because of her strength in will and character, would go completely against those wishes and continue to work hard at making it on her own. And she does so very successfully! Great luck strikes when she meets royalty…
Violet gets to meet Prince Albert while she was working on a deceased ‘client’. Consequently, not too long after that brief encounter, Violet was called upon by the mourning Queen Victoria herself, for the undertaking of Prince Albert. From that day on, Violet and the Queen would meet on several occasions- this part of the story was my favourite.
But it’s not all business and corpses; Violet has also a very nurturing and caring side to her. Her doting and motherly side is completely evoked into love for her adoptive daughter Susanna (how they meet is hilarious!) Together this duo help solve a mystery that may cost either of their lives…
And what happens to Graham? Is Violet to remain waiting upon his return- or is there yet another twist to the story? Morbid little notes here and there, diary entries and more- clues are everywhere as to who the murderer might be…Mystery and love combination make for an entertaining read-looking forward to the sequel!