- File Size: 3374 KB
- Print Length: 321 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Bill Kirton; 1 edition (October 14, 2016)
- Publication Date: October 14, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01LXDFQ8L
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,218 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Likeness Kindle Edition
|Length: 321 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top customer reviews
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John Grant, a ship figurehead carver, is certain that the town’s constable will not do a good job of learning what happened to her, and in his quest for justice takes on the task of investigating her death. At the same time, Helen Anderson, daughter of a prosperous shipping company owner, is seeking to break out of the strictures placed on women of the era, and is pressuring her father to allow her to participate in managing his company. Her quest for liberation is affected by the growing romantic feelings for John.
This story starts off with a sense of heightened tension, as John is awakened to help rescue sailors from a ship that is foundering just offshore, and picks up with the discovery of the dead woman.
The Likeness is actually several stories that proceed on parallel courses, and while John’s investigation and finally solving of the young woman’s death is an important storyline, the main story is John and Helen’s relationship and how they manage to navigate the strict societal conventions of the mid-1800s and maintain their own sense of individuality and freedom.
The author has created a masterful interweave of several stories that come together beautifully at the end with all the mysteries solved and the personal relationships resolved in a most satisfying way. The mores, conventions, sights, sounds, and smells of the era are described so well, I was able to see the story unfolding in my mind like a period movie. The characters are so real, you can hear them, smell their sweat and perfume, and you either like and support them, or you want to take them to a locked room and throttle them mercilessly.
The mark of a great story is that it draws you in so fully that time unfolds without your awareness of it. I started reading this story in mid-morning, and didn’t eat lunch until I’d finished in mid-afternoon. Another is that after reading it you feel that you’ve learned something interesting about a bygone era.
A great story that is more than worthy of the five stars I give it.
The discovery of a body early in the novel sets the scene for an intriguing mystery and the connections to the group of travelling actors, the Macaire players, provides an unusual dimension to the story, one which well complements the historical background of Aberdeen in the era of sailing ships.
The author has clearly a lot of research, but this is so well interwoven with the story that, although it gives us an intriguing background, it never seems intrusive. The sights, the smells and the harsh life of the period are well depicted – a way of life it is hard for us to imagine nowadays.
The relationship between John and Helen is subtly developed. John Grant is a man who engages with several levels of society, often aware of the difficulties of moving from one to another. Helen is, especially for her time, a woman to be reckoned with and the description of her journey by ship to Thurso is a vignette which provides the reader with an insight into her character.
Given the difference in their status this relationship was never going to be easy, but it is handled with a lightness that should satisfy even the most ardent romance reader. And the ending is one that intrigues the reader about what will happen next – I do hope this is not the last time we’ll meet these powerful characters.
It’s not easy to blend the genres of mystery and romance without one being given more weight than the other, but in The Likeness Bill Kirton manages this with consummate ease.