A Murder at Rosamund's Gate: History and Mystery
I am in novel heaven... seventeenth century England and a chambermaid with the good sense of a Kinsey Milhone and none of the modern conveniences. The historical references are accurate (a novelist has the privilege and the obligation to create details for the sake of the story) and the mystery is great fun - a murder to solve. There is more than a hint of a new series here and as Kinsey reaches the end of her alphabet, I am looking forward to getting involved in Lucy Campion's adventures at the magistrate's house in London. Murder/mysteries are my candy and my summer vacations. This is a winner.
Rated of 5
by Norman G. (Washougal, WA)
At no time did I find myself let down by the plot or the characters as the novel moved along at a fast pace. The historical part of the novel gave an accurate picture into the life and views of the time and the people mainly voiced the prevailing sentiments of the era. The author gave enough hints as to who was committing the murders but kept it in doubt with several red herrings. For a first novel, though, I felt there were two weaknesses that kept it from being really excellent. The main character, Lucy, at times seemed to be exceptionally naive for someone so intelligent who understood the limitations of the times. She acted out of character at intervals. Also, while the ending tied up the story nicely, the last two pages seemed to be written only so the reader knew there would be other novels coming. It gave an artificial aspect that left me wondering if Susanna Calkins could not have invested more time in making it less obvious about her intentions. Lucy and Adam were so strongly romantic that the rational speeches by both felt out of place in the final pages.
Rated of 5
by Roni S. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate
In her debut novel, Susanna Calkins does a wonderful job putting the reader in seventeenth century London, England. The author puts you there-experiencing the sights, smells, tastes and culture of the period. The main voice, Lucy is a chambermaid in a magistrate's house. Lucy's close friend and coworker is murdered. Lucy must search for the truth when her brother is wrongly accused of the murder. The author writes beautifully and I never lost interest. In this book the door is open for a sequel.
Rated of 5
by Janet P. (Spokane, WA)
A great murder mystery
I was glued to this book from the first page. Period mysteries are my favorite, but so often the murderer is either obvious or a ridiculous character added at the last second to fulfill the author's need for a culprit. This was neither of those. The characters were well developed, the setting, believably 17th century London, and the plot was intriguingly believable. I'm not sure there were many serving women like Lucy in London at that time, but I'd love to believe that there were.
Rated of 5
by Martha L. (Warner, NH)
murder and justice
Murder at Rosamund Gate by Susanna Calkins is a debut novel. The setting of the book is in London during the seventeenth century. The lines of class, sex and religion were well drawn. A servant was always a servant. A woman was from weaker moral and intellectual levels. A Quaker was a derogatory name for the beginning of the Friend's religious convictions. In the middle of all this is Lucy, the main character. She is a chambermaid at a house of a local magistrate. She is caught in her station and treated with some disregard as a girl servant. Lucy's friend dies and her brother William is arrested for the murder. The story continues with twists and turns, including the plague, London burning and the search for the murderer.
The book felt authentic to me with the attitudes of the upper class. The courts were a different place than today. Hearsay, no collection of evidence and story telling often ruled the day with people being punished due to their station in life and lack of understanding of the law. I found the information about the "penny accounts" or broad sheets that were printed with the stories and ballads of the murders intriguing. The idea that justice was based on such "truths" surprised me.
I did find the book interesting and was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I enjoyed the story and the information presented. The characters were interesting and represented people from that time. I found the negativity with the lack of respect for girls who were servants difficult to accept. The negativity toward any religious differences also while appropriate to the time of the novel was also difficult to accept. (Although I guess it shouldn't be based on current events.)
All in all, it was a good book.
Rated of 5
by Mary Lou C. (Shenandoah Junction, WV)
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate was a very interesting story, set in 17th century England. It offered great insight into the conditions and attitudes of that period. I felt the author attempted to include so many historical events, it lost focus at times.
Although it started a little slow for me, it quickly grabbed me and I couldn't put it down. Well written mystery with a surprise ending. Characters were well developed and believable. Definitely worth reading.
Rated of 5
by Brenda S. (Forest Hill, MD)
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susana Calkins
First, I really like the picture on the cover of the book. It shows a young girl dressed in clothing from the past holding envelopes behind her back with drops of blood on them. This in itself captures your curiosity. I love mysteries and historical fiction so this book fit both of my passions. This story takes place in the 1600's and the central character, Lucy, is one of the servants to a wealthy family of this time. Since I am a be fan of "Downton Abbey", I loved this book because it reminded me of my favorite show. Lucy is a sweet, lovable young lady that stands up for what she believes. She reminds me of a younger Anna from Downton Abbey. Mrs. Calkins has enough suspicious characters in the story making the mystery difficult to solve. In fact I was surprised by the outcome. I enjoyed the characters especially as I mentioned Lucy. I look forward to reading more stories with Lucy as the main character as Mrs. Calkins states that this is the first in a series with Lucy. I liked how the author used her knowledge and research of history to portray what occurs in the story though sometimes she used circumstances that didn't exist in the history yet which she explains in her follow up. I give this book four stars and look forward to reading more books by Susanna Calkins! I am a member of a book group and would recommend this to the members as many of us enjoy reading Historical Fiction.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...