things in jars

4 stars 

I haven’t read a lot of gothic books, mainly because I’m a big chicken and get scared easily. (It’s why I don’t read or review horror books) The gothic books I’ve read aren’t necessarily scary per se, but they can be creepy. There were times in this book when I felt a bit creeped out – which I guess is the purpose, right? SO, job well done, Ms. Kidd!

I love stories set in Victorian London. In this book, Bridie Devine, a talented female detective, is hired by Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick to investigate the kidnapping of his secret daughter and return her home. Rumors are that the girl is peculiar and has supernatural powers. This makes her a valuable commodity that other collectors would be interested in obtaining.

Bridie is an interesting character that I really liked. She is smart, capable and fearless, but still has a big heart. There are three main characters that assist her in her investigation, as well as a few peripheral ones. The first of the main characters is her seven-foot maid, who Bridie rescued from a circus. The maid provides much needed security for Bridie, as well as a person to bounce ideas off. Another character is an apothecary that provides Bridie with her favorite mixture of herbs to smoke in her pipe, and lastly, a sensitive tattoo-covered ghost that insists Bridie knows him.

I love the relationship between Bridie and the ghost. While Bridie and her maid may be hardened to the horrible things they see, the ghost’s reactions to these events and sights are much the same as a regular person’s reactions would be. He also helps Bridie deal with painful memories from her past which often haunt her. Overall, even though I was occasionally creeped out, I enjoyed this gothic mystery. It was well-written, compelling and had a sense of fantasy about it. It’s not a book that you’ll race through. The author takes her time in telling the story, but it’s worth the wait.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.