Christine Trent is an author I have had on my radar forever it seems like. When her Lady of Ashes series first came out, I tried to win a copy for months to no avail.
Then as always seems to happen….I was on to another book. But I did continue to see her Lady of Ashes series pop up all over the place….my library, bookstores, social media. But then the timing just never seemed right.
Now she has a new series out, The Florence Nightingale Mysteries, and I was eager to try and work this latest book into my review schedule. It is the second book in a series, but I wasn’t too worried about being ‘lost’ because the series basically just started so how much could I really be missing by picking up book 2?
So I decided to give it a shot and see if this new series would appeal to me!
Cholera has broken out in London, but Florence Nightingale has bigger problems when people begin dying of a far more intentional cause—murder.
The London summer of 1854 is drawing to a close when a deadly outbreak of cholera grips the city. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene marshaling her nurses to help treat countless suffering patients at Middlesex Hospital as the disease tears through the Soho slums. But beyond the dangers of the disease, something even more evil is seeping through the ailing streets of London.
It begins with an attack on the carriage of Florence’s friend, Elizabeth Herbert, wife to Secretary at War Sidney Herbert. Florence survives, but her coachman does not. Within hours, Sidney’s valet stumbles into the hospital, mutters a few cryptic words about the attack, and promptly dies from cholera. Frantic that an assassin is stalking his wife, Sidney enlists Florence’s help, who accepts but has little to go on save for the valet’s last words and a curious set of dice in his jacket pocket. Soon, the suspects are piling up faster than cholera victims, as there seems to be no end to the number of people who bear a grudge against the Herbert household.
Now, Florence is in a race against time—not only to save the victims of a lethal disease, but to foil a murderer with a disturbingly sinister goal (summary from Goodreads).
Beyond just the author, I was interested in the premise for this book. I love Florence Nightingale and thought it would be interesting to have her as the ‘lady detective’ in this series so to speak. I wondered how her nursing experience would benefit her in this mystery but also how merging the two professions would work here.
I don’t know that I loved the combination but I don’t know that I didn’t like it either. Something was off for me but it’s hard for me to put my finger on what exactly it was. I thought that Florence had an intelligence about her that made me want to know more about her and to keep reading this story. I also loved reading about the cholera epidemic as well as the lower classes on London. I loved seeing her respond to these issues and I could tell that the author did a lot of research on Nightingale herself as well as a ton of historical research. But something about her character just felt a little flat.
I suppose it could have been that I haven’t read the first book in the series maybe? I think this book could easily be read as a stand alone and I certainly didn’t have a difficult time reading it in a couple of sittings, but I think I would have enjoyed Florence a little more had I known a little more about her from the previous book. Maybe then she would have been more fully realized for me.
The mystery was believable and kept me guessing and I easily flew through this book in a couple of days and felt that it was overall enjoyable. I would happily read more books by Trent and am looking forward to finally getting around to the Lady of Ashes series! I would definitely recommend this book to historical mystery lovers, plus I am in love with the cover so there’s that!
Be sure to check out the other stops in the tour as there are a few giveaways and more reviews to check out!
Book Info and Rating
WHERE TO BUY (AFFILIATE LINKS)
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, May 7
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, May 9
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes
Saturday, May 11
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Sunday, May 12
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 14
Excerpt & Giveaway at To Read, Or Not to Read
Friday, May 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Saturday, May 18
Review at Just One More Chapter
Sunday, May 19
Review, Q&A, and Giveaway at Maiden of the Pages