I wrote this I hope you enjoy reading it o Angelica will do anything to protect her son, William All she wanted was the best for her son But nothing was ever going to be easy She manages to secure a job as a Governess She eventually marries the wealthy penmaker and has a very close relationship with her new friend, Effie But will Angelica ever escape her past The narrative is told I the third voice Angelica is trying to make better lives for herself and her son but at the same time she s also trying to avoid her past The descriptions of the era make you glad you weren t around then The history behind thr pen making was interesting I never saw the final twist coming The book is well written and its plotline gripping The characters were complex I read this book in one sitting My first read by the author but I will be looking out for him in future.I would like to thank NetGalley Publishing UK and the author Steve Robinson for my ARC in exchange for an honest review In Victorian England, A Mother Is On The Run From Her Past And The Truth About What She DidBirmingham, Angelica Chastain Has Fled From London With Her Young Son, William She Promises Him A Better Life, Far Away From The Terrors They Left BehindSecuring A Job As A Governess, Angelica Captures The Attention Of Wealthy Widower Stanley Hampton Soon They Marry And The Successful Future Angelica Envisaged For William Starts To Fall Into PlaceBut The Past Will Not Let Angelica Go As The People In Her Husband S Circle, Once Captivated By Her Charm, Begin To Question Her Motives, It Becomes Clear That Forgetting Where She Came From And Who She Ran From Is ImpossibleWhen Tragedy Threatens To Expose Her And Destroy Everything She S Built For Herself And William, How Far Will She Go To Keep Her Secrets Safe And When Does The Love For One S Child Tip Over Into Dangerous Obsession Alias Grace Meets Peaky Blinders In This Tale Of Obsession, Ambition And Murder In Victorian England I have read and enjoyed all the books in this author s Jefferson Tayte genealogical mystery series, so was intrigued to see this stand alone historical thriller, set in Victorian Birmingham, come up on NetGalley The summary gives an idea of what it s about but I think it s better not to know too much about the plot going in, as the shocking truth of what has been going on is gradually revealed.A beautiful young woman throws herself into the Thames, with her five year old son in her arms, in order to evade her dark past and begin again Moving to the well to do suburb of Edgbaston, she befriends another young mother and manages to secure a position as a governess, but her relentless ambition for her son drives her every calculated move When the past threatens her security, she will do whatever it takes to keep her secrets from emerging.Told in both the third person past, and by an unknown first person narrator sixteen years later, this follows Angelica s rise from desperate refugee to wife of a prosperous penmaker this is not a spoiler it s the title using only her wits, charm and beauty, but not everyone is seduced and our sympathy for her soon wanes How much you enjoy this will come down to whether you need to like your Main Character or not Angelica is no Becky Sharp I liked the descriptions of late nineteenth century London and Birmingham, and learned a little about the penmaking industry, not something I ve ever given much thought to Most of the secondary characters are somewhat two dimensional and parts of the plot difficult to believe The romance is unexpected but not overdone, and I thought the ending was quite clever 3.5 rounded up for good writing and the author coming up with something quite different, but I hope he returns to the lovable JT for his next book My thanks to NetGalley and UK for the ARC which allowed me to give an honest review The Penmaker s Wife is published today. Hugh fan of Steve Robinson s writing so was looking forward to reading this.Was I disappointed NOWas I gripped and drawn into the story YESDid I foresee the ending NOCompletely absorbed from the beginning, thought it was well writtenWith twists and turns, and plenty of shocking ways the main character hoodwinked everyone for a better life.A must read Thank you netgalley, Steve Robinson and Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book. I m not a big reader of historical fiction but chose the Penmaker s Wife because I know Birmingham s Jewellery Quarter and thought the idea of learning about pen making might be interesting Well, that was a bit of a dumb idea I m no wiser on pen making after reading this than I was before and that s a bit disappointing I am, however, educated on lots of different ways to kill off people who get in your way With a remarkably high body count, this nasty tale of Angelica Chastelain, conniver, killer and cold hearted social climber, feels like low grade fan fiction for Gentleman Jack and every Victorian BBC drama that purported to show a downtrodden and abused poor woman dragging herself out of the rather stinky gutter.I found Angelica impossible to like and hard to believe No surprise that the author is male as this character feels very much like a man dressed up in a shiny frock I didn t find her a convincing female character at all Throwing in a slightly racy lesbian affair didn t detract from a poorly plotted tale that relied too much on people not recognising each other and not bumping into their pasts Every now and then, the author shoe horns in a bit of book research a description of a building that would recently have opened, or the name of the latest hot Gilbert and Sullivan opera To me, this read as if somebody had a book of top things that happened that year and then proceeded to pepper the prose with a few bits of borrowed authenticity I m no historian, but I also was unconvinced by some of the financial dealings of Angelica She pays a man 4 sovereigns to follow another for a few days, but her son and his step brother get a legacy of just 20 and she buys off a business manager for just 50 I may well be wrong, but checking an online site that estimates current values of past money, 50 would be about 6 7000 in today s money which seems like not a lot to compensate a man for a lifetime s work and expect him to be grateful.There s a damning phrase I have picked up from reading Goodreads reviews which says that good fiction should show not tell I m afraid this one is all tell and very little show It s a quick read that won t keep you from your other books for too long, but it needs a lot of polishing before it will like one of its shiny new fountain pens stop leaking all over your top pocket. A hugely enjoyable tale of Angelica Chastain and her scheming life The story begins in 1880 and sees Angelica and her son fleeing London to start a new life in Birmingham Angelica is a quick witted, determined and ruthless character Lots of fun to read A light, quick read with lots of twists and turns I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest and unedited review. This stand alone novel from Steve Robinson, hitherto known for his Jefferson Tayte genealogical series, is a real eye opener I mean I read it with my eyes opening wider as the story progressed In the Victorian era, Angelica and her small son William really evoked my sympathy at the dramatic opening of the book She embarks upon a new life which she determines to be all for the good of William As the story unfolds and the lies begin to turn back on her it becomes very exciting and I really enjoyed it Some of the twists and turns had a great impact, I felt It s a bit of a shocker in places Strap yourself in for a wild ride. I received this from Netgalley.com for a review Birmingham, 1880 Angelica Chastain has fled from London with her young son, William She promises him a better life, far away from the terrors they left behind.Great story, well told I love these femme fatale characters that are so very charming and so very devious Good read I look forward to reading by this author.4.25 stars After a traumatic opening and first meeting of Angelica Chastain and her young son William, the story jumps 16 years to 1896 in Birmingham and swearing of events that lead from 1880 to present day The beginning of this swearing is a statement of love for Angelica followed by what this person says Angelica confided in her and what she witnessed herself.Beauty is definitely only skin deep where Angelica is concerned as men underestimate her and most women sense that there is something very off with her Her goal in life is to lift her son out of poverty and into much wealthier circles so that he will never want for anything The drawback of being so beautiful though is how memorable it makes her, making her an easy target for anyone wanting to make a quick few shillings or for pure self gratification.The author creates a vivid picture of the huge divide between the poor and upper classes of the Victorian era and the people who lived in each The characters are very well developed in the story with some tender and light moments between friendships that develop making some of what happens, feel even shocking The end just knocked me sideways Brilliant round up I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
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- 256 pages
- The Penmaker's Wife
- Steve Robinson
- 22 April 2019 Steve Robinson