A seventeenth-century whodunnit.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
A 17th-century whodunnit – It’s 1653 and Lady Jane Tremayne has inherited the estate of her late husband. When a young woman is raped, as Lady of the Manor she decides to investigate, assisted by her closest friend, Lady Olivia Courtney. Then the stakes are raised when the rapist strikes again. More than just a whodunnit, this is an absorbing tale of a brave woman living in dangerous and unique times.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK
Set against the backdrop of the English Civil Wars, Ravishment by James Walker is a seventeenth-century whodunnit that is perfect for armchair detectives to while away a lazy afternoon.
It is 1653, two years since the English Civil Wars came to an end. Lady Jane Tremayne has inherited the estate of her late husband. When a young woman living in her estate is raped, as Lady of the Manor, she decides to investigate, assisted by her dear friend, Olivia. Matters come to a head when a second woman is ravished. Will Jane catch the culprit in time? Or will the brute strike again?
A GENTLE-PACED FIRST HALF
Ravishment is slow to pick up. The gentle pace persists until page ninety when things start to heat up. However, the first couple of pages cannot be disregarded. It lays down the foundation for the investigation to begin and introduces the major characters to the reader.
BUT A splendid second half
It is the second half where Walker’s beautiful creation, Lady Jane Tremayne, comes to life. Jane awed me with her intellect and bravery. She fights both to bring the rapist to justice and prove herself. After all, this is the seventeenth century we are talking about where women could perform only specific roles – daughter, sister, wife, mother. Anything else was pooh-poohed.
Besides banging her head on an obtuse patriarchal wall, she is also treated indifferently due to her loyalties towards another political faction. Jane does get perturbed by the contempt shown towards her reasonably valid assumptions about the culprit’s identity. However, she does not let these stop her from pursuing her investigation. Further, her friend, Olivia, does her best to cheer up her spirits.
Kudos to Walker for creating a female lead with such tenacity and sharp acumen. I could easily follow Jane’s line of thought. At a time, when there were no DNA records to pinpoint the culprit, nor computer databases to yield a list of likely suspects, Jane’s old-fashioned way of questioning witnesses, leads, and possible suspects in the face of opposition from the local law enforcement was admirable.
This slows down the pace a bit since you have to follow Jane’s line of investigation. A rushed pace would have simply alienated me from the story.
Moreover, I also loved the fact that Jane is a free-spirited woman. She gives a shit about what society thinks about her. After losing her husband, she understands that life is too short to not seize the opportunities that it presents, society be damned. So, when she gets a second chance at love, she bravely embraces it.
However, fret not, the romance in the novel does not diminish the importance of the mystery. Instead, it provides comfort and courage to Jane, spruces up her otherwise lonely and drab life, and enlivened my reading as well.
The short chapters in the book coupled with Walker’s lucid writing aid in the smooth flow of the story. A satisfying climax acts as a cherry on the cake. I recommend James Walker’s Ravishment for fans of historical mystery.
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Many thanks to Anne @Random Things Tours for organizing this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.
Retired lawyer, and still active charity worker, living in Kent,with a keen interest in European history, who’s published six novels including Aliza, my love and Ravishment.
My first book, Ellen’s Gold is a historical drama set in the early nineteenth century. This was followed by My Enemy, my love set in the First World War and I think he was George, a drama also set in that era. I then published Shamila, a story of forbidden love between a Moslem and a non-Moslem, set in the near future, before in the last year publishing Ravishment, which is whodunnit, set in 17th century England. Finally, this was followed by Aliza, my love, which is set in Nazi Germany.