Rated of 5
Good, but not great.
The author started with an obvious passion for the 17th century, and her extensive research into the period is evident. There are parts of this novel that seem like they could have been the kernel of the author’s Ph.D. thesis. She layers a rather spooky ghost story on top of her historical musings, and I feel like these two strata of the plot work particularly well. She then throws in sub-plots about the protagonist’s extramarital affair, a radical animal-rights group, modern-day murders, conspiracies between arms dealers, pharmaceutical companies and researchers… and it just becomes too much. All these extra threads are distracting, don’t really go with the core mystery and serve only to confuse. The book’s basic core is quite involving, but the addition of all that extraneous stuff gets in the way. So, while I’m glad I read it, it’s not one I’m actually recommending to friends.