- File Size: 3851 KB
- Print Length: 263 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 152322388X
- Publisher: Little G Books; 2 edition (January 12, 2016)
- Publication Date: January 12, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01AKC604W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,294 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$10.99|
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Diamonds & Dust (The Victorian Detectives Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I loved the lead female characters that come together to try to find the killer of Josephine King's uncle and sole relative. His mistress, Lilith Marks joins forces with Josephine.
There are minor characters in the story that bring out the way upper class women are viewed, and the whoring around of the single men. The story brings out the prudish times when you couldn't mention the word "leg." We learn about the strict things that the upper class must do during the mourning period: the clothes one must wear, keeping the window coverings closed, and many other customs of the time.
Ms. Hedges describes the gas lights on the streets at night and the industrial pollution in the air. The author also takes us from the top layer of society, down to the bottom, often homeless class of people. We see maids, whores, and various street people. We see the very rich that throw lavish parties and have so many servants that they have someone to dress them each day. We see the constant hunger of the lower class and the tables of the rich that sag with all of the food. The contrast between the two classes is often mentioned.
My only complaint about this book is that it ended sooner than I wanted! Would love to see another book with Lilith and Josephine as the main characters.
The author provides Jo with a cast of supporting characters worthy of a Dickens novel...complex, memorable human beings from every layer of this tightly stratified society. Oi is a crossing sweeper, a child with and old soul and a smart mouth. He's also already half dead of poverty and starvation. Lilith Marks is a prostitute and a Jew, strikes against her that cannot be erased by the wealth she's acquired thanks to the loving care of Jo's uncle. Isabella Thorpe, a troubled young woman who wants more than the suffocating domestic and social whirl her superficial Mamma has planned for her, is by turns repugnant and compelling, a weak and trifling individual who nevertheless yearns for a life that means something.
What I love about Hedges's characters is that they are so human. The good ones aren't always nice. And the rotten ones have hopes, dreams, fears.
I wasn't sure at first about the author's choice to use the present tense. I've often found that this can work against a novel's pacing, rushing the reader through the plot without allowing them time to savor the journey. This was not the case in DIAMONDS & DUST. Considering the amount of historical detail Hedges provides, present tense actually offsets the heaviness that can come with extended passages of exposition. Detail versus Story is a delicate balance for all writers, but especially in works of historical fiction. Hedges deals with this beautifully.
The author made another unusual decision--she doesn't use traditional chapters. Instead, the action is a single, continuous narrative separated into scenes. This threw me at first, because I was expecting to get to the end of chapter one and it never arrived, but I fell into line soon enough and enjoyed the forward propulsion as one scene unfolded into the next. Again, the historical detail helped by providing a braking mechanism for my brain to grab onto. I don't know if I would have liked this lack of chapter breaks as much in, say, a contemporary romance.
Speaking of romance, DIAMONDS & DUST is NOT one. There is affection and friendship and, in the end, the genuine love that develops among forsaken human beings who meet kindred spirits and together create a sort of family. I am a romantic who loves happily ever after, so I was surprised at how okay I was with the lack of a "couple" in this book.
The ending came as a wild twist. In 19th century works by writers like Wilkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, seemingly paranormal events were proved to be the work of nefarious, but very real, villains. Think THE MOONSTONE and THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. Or Poe's MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. Hedges turns this convention on its head. The resolution of the mystery was shocking but also strangely satisfying.
I loved this book and I hope to get to take another fictional trip with Jo King and her motley crew of friends.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm not usually keen on novels written in the present tense, but this was so gripping that within a few paragraphs...Read more