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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Review: Fathomfolk by Eliza Chan

 



OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Eliza Chan is a Scottish-born Chinese-diaspora author who writes about East Asian mythology, British folklore and madwomen in the attic, but preferably all three at once. Eliza’s work has been published in The Dark, Podcastle, Fantasy Magazine and The Best of British Fantasy 2019. Fathomfolk is her first novel..
Tuesday, February 20, 2024

SPFBO 9 Finalist review: The Fall is All There Is by C.M. Caplan

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: C.M. Caplan is the author of the SPFBO7 semifinalist The Sword in the Street, SPFBO9 FINALIST The Fall Is All There Is. He's a quadruplet (yes, really), autistic, and has a degree in creative writing. He was awarded his university's highest honor in the arts for his work.

Find Connor online: Facebook

The Fall is All There Is links: AmazonGoodreads

SPFBO Finalist Interview: C.M. Caplan, The Author of The Fall Is All There is




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: C.M. Caplan is the author of the SPFBO7 semifinalist The Sword in the Street, SPFBO9 FINALIST The Fall Is All There Is. He's a quadruplet (yes, really), autistic, and has a degree in creative writing. He was awarded his university's highest honor in the arts for his work.

Find Connor online: Facebook

The Fall is All There Is links: Amazon, Goodreads
Friday, February 16, 2024

Review: An Education in Malice by S.T. Gibson

 

Official Author Website
Buy An Education in Malice

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Saint is a literary agent, author, and village wise woman in training. A graduate of the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and the theological studies program at Princeton Seminary, she currently lives in Boston with her partner, spoiled Persian cat, and vintage blazer collection. She is represented by Tara Gilbert of the Jennifer De Chiara literary agency
Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett (Reviewed by Shazzie & Mihir Wanchoo)

Book Review: The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett

Official Author Website

Buy The Tainted Cup here - U.K. | U.S.

Read Caitlin's review here

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Robert is the author of American Elsewhere, The Troupe, The Company Man, Mr. Shivers, as well as The Divine Cities trilogy and The Founders Trilogy. 

His work has received the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Phillip K. Dick Citation of Excellence, and he has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Locus Awards.

He lives in Austin with his wife and two sons, one of whom is very large and one of whom is very loud, and he focuses on writing and not maintaining his website.
Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Exclusive Map Reveal: Neo Kinoko Map by Adrian M. Gibson

 



Like many people, I’m a sucker for maps in books. I was the kid who’d spend hours poring through my dad’s worn-out atlas, absorbing all of the continents, borders, capital cities, rivers, mountain ranges, and more. I loved it, and, thinking back, it was a natural extension of my father being a professional cartographer for his day job.
 
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

COVER REVEAL: Titanica (The Ruined Gods #3) by Alex Robins

 


Pre-order TITANICA over HERE
Monday, February 12, 2024

Author Interview: Anna Smith-Spark & Michael R. Fletcher, the author duo behind In The Shadow of Their Dying




We’re thrilled to share the interview with Anna Smith Spark and Michael R. Fletcher, co-authors of In the Shadow of Their Dying. The novella will be available from Grimdark Magazine on March 19, 2024. It's 144 pages long.

Pre-order In The Shadow of Their Dying here: US / UK


Friday, February 9, 2024

Book review: A Sick Gray Laugh by Nicole Cushing

 


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole Cushing is the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of Mr. Suicide and a two-time nominee for the Shirley Jackson Award. Various reviewers have described her work as “brutal”, “cerebral”, “transgressive”, "wickedly funny", “taboo”, “groundbreaking” and “mind-bending”. She lives in Indiana.

Published: August 27, 2019 by Word Horde Length: 290 pages Formats: ebook, paperback

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Review: The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

 



OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Katherine Arden is the New York Times bestselling author of the Winternight trilogy and the Small Spaces Quartet. In addition to writing, she enjoys aimless travel, growing vegetables, and running wild through the woods with her dog, Moose. She lives in Vermont.

FORMAT/INFO: The Warm Hands of Ghosts will be published by Del Rey on February 13th, 2024. It is 336 pages and told in third person from Laura and Freddie's point of view. It is available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.
Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Cover Reveal: Sing No Suns, Sing The Night by Michael Michel

 


 SPFBO semifinalist Michael Michel has a new short story collection releasing this month and it's titled "Sing No Suns, Sing The Night".

Checkout the snazzy cover by Miblart and you can also pre-order it via Amazon as it will be released on February 20th.

Anna O by Matthew Blake (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Anna O by Matthew Blake



Buy Anna O -  U.S. | U.K. | International


OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: After discovering that the average person spends thirty-three years of their life asleep, Matthew Blake felt the pull of a story. He began extensive research into sleep-related crimes and into the mystery illness known as resignation syndrome, research that sparked a thrilling question: if someone commits murder while sleepwalking, are they innocent or guilty? And so his novel Anna O was born.

Before writing fiction, Matthew worked as a researcher and speechwriter at the Palace of Westminster. He studied English at Durham University and Merton College, Oxford and now lives in London.

FORMAT/INFO: Anna O was published by Harper Collins in the U.K. on February 2024. It is available in ebook, hardback, and audiobook formats. 
Tuesday, February 6, 2024

SPFBO 9 Finalist Review: Hills of Heather & Bone by K.E. Andrews

 


Book links: AmazonGoodreads

SPFBO 9 Finalist Interview: K.E. Andrews, The author of Hills of Heather and Bone




Book links: AmazonGoodreads
Monday, February 5, 2024

Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire

cover of Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire

Buy Mislaid in Parts Half-Known here


OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (www.miragrant.com), author of Feed and Deadline.
Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and own too many My Little Ponies. I, and my clowder of cats, live in the Seattle area in the Pacific Northwest.

Visit her at http://www.seananmcguire.com, or as @seananmcguire on Twitter and Instagram.


FORMAT/INFO: Mislaid in Parts Half-Known was published by Tordotcom on 9th January 2024. It is available in ebook, hardback, and audiobook formats. 


OVERVIEW/ANALYSISMislaid in Parts Half-Known is the ninth installment in the Wayward Children series, and it’s at this point I have to ask an unfortunate question: Maybe it’s time for this strange and beautiful series to end?

So, I’ve been a massive fan of the series, so much that I’d look forward to every January to devour the newly released entry. There was a real high point at book four, and another decent uptick in the entry before this. This is a series of urban portal fantasies, each that focus on a different character, or a set of characters, with common themes of identity and acceptance. They are strange, beautiful, one sitting reads that are thought provoking, yet read easy.

I’m not sure what happened here. It definitely reads like a Seanan McGuire book, but doesn’t have the usual charm. Neither is it an absolute standalone like the rest. One of the reasons I loved these entries was because while they were so beautiful and easy to read, they had a certain doozy thematic depth. Here, it seems the opposite. Plus, you’ll need to be familiar with the previous, Lost in the Moment and Found to be able to make some progress with this. It also reads like part of that book, and a bit of a transition into something else.

CONCLUSION: I wanted to write a longer, gush review for this when I got the review copy, but I’m afraid I’m a bit too disappointed with this one, and might not pick up book ten. Still, I’d absolutely recommend you start with book one and work your way upto four.
Thursday, February 1, 2024

Interview: Melissa Marr, author of Remedial Magic

 Interview: Melissa Marr, author of Remedial Magic



Buy Remedial Magic here

This title will be available via Bramble Romance from February 20, 2024. For a sneak peek, head here


OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: The Magicians meets One Last Stop in this brand-new fantasy romance Remedial Magic, about an unassuming librarian who 1) has fallen in love with a powerful witch; 2) has discovered that she is a witch; and 3) must attend magical community college to learn how to save her new world from complete destruction by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr!


Ellie loves working in her local library in the small town of Ligonier. She loves baking scones and investigating the mysterious and captivating in her spare time. And there is nothing more mysterious and captivating than the intriguingly beautiful, too properly dressed woman sipping tea in her library who has appeared as if out of nowhere. The pull between them is undeniable, and Ellie is not sure that she wants to resist.

Prospero, a powerful witch from the magical land of Crenshaw, is often accused of being… ruthless in her goals and ambitions. But she is driven to save her dying homeland, and a prophecy tells her that Ellie is the key. Unbeknownst to Ellie, her powers have not yet awakened. But all of that is about to change.


INTERVIEW

Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a mom (to 3 kids), wife (to Amber), & writer (of novels, picturebooks, and graphic novel). Sometimes I’m a teacher (in an MFA program periodically and previously English lit and language) and a photographer (my book Wild Horses is my photography of wild horses). I used to teach historical swordfighting for women, and I have books in ~30 languages and hit a bunch of bestseller lists.


Could you describe your book, REMEDIAL MAGIC, in three adjectives, and then in three sentences? What readers would you pitch the book to?

Quirky LGBTQIAP+ romantasy.

Sentences. Hmm. This book was Pandemic Me thinking about the magic (medicine) I take to keep my various organs functional... and pondering love... and academia... and safe little villages in the woods. It’s a fantasy romance set in a make-believe village.

As to readers I’d pitch, I suspect I think they are people who would like to escape our world to a place where there were solvable problems (the pollution in Crenshaw), but who admitted that magic couldn’t fix everything. I would approach readers who might find themselves interested in a dangerous lesbian in smart suits with questionable morals.


Your book is queernorm. Can you tell us about the elements in the worldbuilding that contribute to this?

Honestly, I just think that if folks lived long lives in a tight community, they’d be more accepting of our wondrous variety. I consciously populated the magical world with varying races, creeds, and LGBTQIAP+ people. If we took away the dominant society we know today where power is tied to the historical “haves” of specific gender/race/creed, what could we focus on instead? Obviously, the world still has issues, but without the hate, I think even worlds with poisoned earth are superior.


Let’s talk about the setting. What readers is this perfect for?

I don’t think “perfect” is possible, but I would hope that it’s a fit for those who are a little more cottagecore but with an edge. Maybe wearing docs or leather jackets with floral skirts and scarves? Maybe those who enjoy wandering off the path?


When I read a book, I always think of it as the author putting something of themselves in each character, in varying degrees. Can you tell us about how you relate to the ones in your book?

Ha! I know I put part of me in every book. In college, my job was researching esoteric topics. I lived in the library. Ellie gets that. Motherhood is critical to me, to the point of my moral compass is entirely “how will this impact my kids?”. Mags gets that. I think about ethics constantly and where I stand on topics. That trait goes to Dan. I am ruthless unless tempered by outside forces. That aspect goes to Prospero.


Growing up, I always thought it would be super fun working as a librarian. I would be able to chat with people about books, read for work, and collect books in nice little piles and catalogue them. What would present me be shocked to find out about the library/librarian protagonist in this book? And what parts of them in the book would I love to experience?

Ellie is a research librarian, and that could be a result of my own interactions with librarians. I have presented so many random “I need info on ___” questions, and some librarians just know. They march through stacks to whatever I needed, and honestly, that feels like magic. As an academic, a mom, and writer, I’ve always felt like librarians are sorta my version of religious figures. They can get me the knowledge, the wisdoms, or the tickets to other worlds. So to me, the logical career for a magical woman is librarian. I never considered any other identity for Ellie.


There are prophecies innumerable in fantasy books. How did you ensure the one in REMEDIAL MAGIC would be different from the others?

The prophecy exists as a “set this in motion,” but I believe in volition above all else. The prophecy exists, but does not define Ellie. Her freewill and ferocity do.


Before we wrap this up, let's talk about you as a reader. What books are you drawn to, and what genres do you read the most?

I read incessantly. Nonfiction, romance, and fantasy are my most read. I was a lit major, so I definitely still consume classics and modern literature. Then the third most read group is mystery, thriller, horror, and children’s fiction. In fairness, I likely start 12 books for every book I finish. If I’m not captivated, I swap out. Often I go back 2-3 times before declaring a book a pass. I just . . . like to learn and experience, so most genres are fair game.


What do you enjoy reading the most, and what books would you recommend to readers who are looking forward to this one (or, to those who loved it?)

I didn’t find a book like this, and it was what I wanted to read, so I wrote it. There are lots of great witchy books and queer fiction (thankfully) these days, but I haven’t been reading much in witchy/fantasy because I was writing these. I don’t read readalikes when writing any genre. The closest recommendation I have is if you like Prospero, check out Gentleman Jack. I read her diary a lifetime ago, and I’m visiting Shibden Hall this year. I have only seen a few episodes but... I feel like she and Prospero have some traits in common.

In closing, do you have any parting thoughts for our readers?

Thank you for giving me a few moments of your time, and if you want the lesbian romance (but hella spicy) without the fantasy, I have two lesbian romance novels upcoming. The first is complete, sold, and awaiting revisions, and the second is what I’m writing currently.
Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers (Reviewed by Shazzie)

Book Review: The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers 



Buy The City of Stardust - U.S. | U.K.

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Georgia Summers is a half-British, half-Trinidadian writer. She spent most of her life living across the world, including Russia, Colombia, the USA, Scotland, and briefly Switzerland. She is still bad at languages.

She has previously worked as an editor, a bookseller and rare books student librarian, so you could say she’s seen the entire lifecycle of a book.

When she’s not doing bookish things, she enjoys embroidery, playing piano, and painting, among various other crafts. She currently lives in London, but she dreams of one day living in a haunted château with cats and a ghost that cleans.
Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Review: The Slain Divine by David Dalglish

 


Official Author Website
Buy The Slain Divine
Read a review of book one, The Bladed Faith

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Graphic Novel: Aama by Frederik Peeters

 


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frédérik Peeters (born 13 August 1974, in Geneva) is a contemporary Swiss graphic novelist. He received his bachelor of arts degree in visual communication from the École Supérieure d’Arts Appliqués in Geneva in 1995. Peeters currently lives with his partner Cati, her son, and their daughter in Geneva.

Publisher: SelfMadeHero (March 18, 2014)  Length: all 4 vols translated into English, around 500 pages
Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Review: The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett

 

Official Author Website
Buy The Tainted Cup

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Robert is the author of American Elsewhere, The Troupe, The Company Man, Mr. Shivers, as well as The Divine Cities trilogy and The Founders Trilogy.

His work has received the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Phillip K. Dick Citation of Excellence, and he has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Locus Awards.

He lives in Austin with his wife and two sons, one of whom is very large and one of whom is very loud, and he focuses on writing and not maintaining his website.
Tuesday, January 23, 2024

SPFBO 9 Finalist review: The Last Fang of God by Ryan Kirk

 



Book links: AmazonGoodreads

SPFBO Finalist Interview: Ryan Kirk, The Author of The Last Fang of God


Book links: AmazonGoodreads

AUTHOR INFO: Ryan Kirk is an author and entrepreneur based out of Minnesota. When he isn't writing, he can usually be found getting lost in the woods.

Visit his website at https://ryankirkauthor.com/

Publisher: Waterstone Media (April 26, 2023) Page Count: 252 (Kindle edition) Cover art: 100covers

Monday, January 22, 2024

Piglet by Lottie Hazel (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Piglet by Lottie Hazel



Buy Piglet here - U.S. | U.K.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Piglet is judging the contents of your shopping trolley. She is listening to what you order for lunch and is observing whether the dessert you serve is homemade or snatched from a packet. There isn't another 31-year-old that takes food more seriously. And who could blame her, with a childhood nickname like that?
Friday, January 19, 2024

Interview: RuNyx, author of Gothikana

 Interview: RuNyx, author of Gothikana



Buy the Gothikana Hardcover Edition: featuring sprayed edges, a foiled case stamp, gorgeously detailed endpapers, an updated map and deliciously moody art throughout, here


This edition will go on sale on January 23, 2023

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Q&A with Dom Watson, the Author of Smoker on the Porch



Book links: AmazonGoodreads

About The Author: Father of cats and one human daughter. And a strange male toddler who magically appeared. Imagineer of the fantastic and the horrific. Explorer of the ethereal realms of the human id. Author of The Boy Who Walked Too Far and the upcoming novella Smoker on the Porch. Sequel to 'The Boy', A Stage of Furies due for release in 2022 Loves cooking, reading, cycling and generally behaving like a fool. Fighting the fight for mental health. Will sing for pizza and dance for wine.

Publisher: Dom Watson ( January 7, 2024) Length: 308 pages Formats: ebook Cover art: Blake Cover Design: ST King

Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett



Buy Emily Wilde's Map of the Motherlands here - U.S. | U.K.
Wednesday, January 17, 2024

COVER REVEAL: Mushroom Blues (The Hofmann Report #1) by Adrian M. Gibson

 

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFO: Adrian M. Gibson is a Canadian author, podcaster and illustrator (as well as occasional tattoo artist). He was born in Ontario, Canada, but grew up in British Columbia. He studied English Literature and has worked in music journalism, restaurants, tattoo studios, clothing stores and a bevy of odd jobs. In 2021, he created the SFF Addicts podcast, which he co-hosts with fellow author M. J. Kuhn. The two host in-depth interviews with an array of science fiction and fantasy authors, as well as writing masterclasses.

Voyage of the Damned by Frances White (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Voyage of the Damned by Frances White



Buy Voyage of the Damned here
Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Book review: Fever House by Keith Rosson

Book review: Fever House by Keith Rosson

 


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Keith Rosson is the author of the novels Fever House, Smoke City, Road Seven, and The Mercy of the Tide as well as the Shirley Jackson Award-winning story collection Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his partner and their two children.

Publisher: Random House (Aug 15, 2023) Length: 448 pages Formats: audiobook, ebook, paperback 
Monday, January 15, 2024

Review: The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

 

Official Author Website
Buy The Serpent and the Wings of Night


OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Carissa Broadbent has been concerning teachers and parents with mercilessly grim tales since she was roughly nine years old. Since then, her stories have gotten (slightly) less depressing and (hopefully a lot?) more readable. Today, she writes novels that blend epic fantasy plots with a heaping dose of romance. She lives with her husband, her son, one very poorly behaved rabbit, and one perpetually skeptical cat in Rhode Island.

FORMAT/INFO: The Serpent and the Wings of Night was traditionally published on December 5th, 2023 by Bramble Romance. It is 464 pages long and told in first person from Oraya's POV. It is available in ebook, audiobook, and hardcover.
Sunday, January 14, 2024

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Great Hearts V: Imperator & Flame Of The Desert by David Oliver

 


Preorder The Great Hearts V: Imperator over  HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Great Hearts
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Great Hearts II: A Game Of Gods
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Great Hearts III: Shadowstrike 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Draconis (Draconis Descendent saga #1)
Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Book review: Petition by Delilah Waan


Book links: AmazonGoodreads
Tuesday, January 9, 2024

SPFBO 9 Finalist review: Cold West by Clayton W. Snyder

 


Book links: AmazonGoodreads

AUTHOR INFO: Co-author of SPFBO finalist Norylska Groans, which Anthony Ryan (Blood Song) described as “Rich in bone-crunching violence and a grimly convincing sense of place and character.”, and the final instalment of the Manifest Delusions series, A War to End All. Several of my other novels have been SPFBO semi-finalists. I’ve also authored numerous short stories, my most recent, Hounds, at Grimdark Magazine. I currently split my time between work and writing. I have worked as a systems admin, chainsaw operator, and once did an ill-advised stint as a bodyguard because I am ‘really tall’.

Publisher: Clayton Snyder (February 29, 2020) Page Count: 141 (Kindle edition) Cover art: Clayton Snyder

SPFBO 9 Finalist Interview: Clayton W. Snyder, the Author of Cold West




Book links: AmazonGoodreads

AUTHOR INFO: Co-author of SPFBO finalist Norylska Groans, which Anthony Ryan (Blood Song) described as “Rich in bone-crunching violence and a grimly convincing sense of place and character.”, and the final instalment of the Manifest Delusions series, A War to End All. Several of my other novels have been SPFBO semi-finalists. I’ve also authored numerous short stories, my most recent, Hounds, at Grimdark Magazine. I currently split my time between work and writing. I have worked as a systems admin, chainsaw operator, and once did an ill-advised stint as a bodyguard because I am ‘really tall’.

Publisher: Clayton Snyder (February 29, 2020) Page Count: 141 (Kindle edition) Cover art: Clayton Snyder

Monday, January 8, 2024

The Beholders by Hester Musson (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: The Beholders by Hester Musson



Buy The Beholders here - U.K. | International

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: June, 1878. The body of a boy is pulled from the depths of the River Thames, suspected to be the beloved missing child of the widely admired Liberal MP Ralph Gethin. Four months earlier. Harriet is a young maid newly employed at Finton Hall. Fleeing the drudgery of an unwanted engagement in the small village where she grew up, Harriet is entranced by the grand country hall; she is entranced too by her glamorous mistress Clara Gethin, whose unearthly singing voice floats through the house. But Clara, though captivating, is erratic. The master of the house is a much-lauded politician, but he is strangely absent. And some of their beautiful belongings seem to tell terrible stories. Unable to ignore her growing unease, Harriet sets out to discover their secrets. When she uncovers a shocking truth, a chain of events is set in motion that could cost Harriet everything, even her freedom…

FORMAT/INFO: The Beholders will be published on January 18, 2024 by Harper Collins. It will be available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.


OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Let me just tell you that Harriet Watkins, young maid newly employed at Finton Hall did something most of us never could. She gets a beautiful diary, a lovely green one, and actually writes in it. If you've gotten over that, let's continue. She flees an unwanted engagement to take up service at this place, and writes entries in her diary, which we get in the form of this simply marvellous debut.

In this house, Harriet gets astounded by what to her service-class eyes looks like a world within the walls of the property, as well as the enigmatic mistress, Mrs. Gethin of the house. Beyond the first entry in the diary, it is clear that this is not a rosy environment, there are something sinister and this feeling slowly builds toward a certain point. I admit, the beginning was slow and will irk some readers, but trust me when I say the payoff is worth it. It's been two days since I finished reading this, and the more time that passes, the more I realises this pace was really effective.

Why does all this matter? Because the mistress, Mrs. Gethin had a reputation among the work staff of being difficult, constantly dismisses servants, but suddenly takes an inscrutable interest in Harriet, who is nothing special. In a few months, she gets convicted of the murder of her child, and our protagonist is swept up in the case, all while not knowing what the complete truth could be, and wondering if she judged her situation correctly. 

The writing is quite strong and the voice feels authentic. It acknowledges all the grind and drudgery of being part of the servant class in such a place, as well as the feeling of being trapped with no better prospects, of having been painted into a corner, and possibly pissing off those in more powerful positions. What it does better, is paint a very compelling picture of how scary it is to live in a corrupt man's world. The character introduction and establishment takes about the first half of the book, and the plot is sheer genius in some ways. I feel like certain things could have been written in a more direct manner, but they did add to the gothic atmosphere well.

CONCLUSION: If I said anything more, even more good stuff about this book, I would be spoiling it for you. Hester Musson knocks it out of the park with sheer ingenuity in plotting and fine atmosphere-building. So good, and very recommended. 

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