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  • Heroin(e)

    First off the cover just begged me to read this book, I'm not sure why but there was just something about it that drew me in - so, the graphics team did their job well. As nice as it is to have a great cover the inside is vastly more important and so many things can go wrong between those pages. Fortunately, the writing matched up to the promise of the cover so this is a genuine winner all round. Set in the late 19th Century, this is Victorian England at it's stuffiest where appearances matter far more than the reality. Afraid of being an Old Maid of 28 and no word from her beau after he has gone to Egypt to further his father's business Rebecca Massey accepts the hurried proposal of pharmacist Alexander Palmer. She still holds a flame in her heart for Gabriel but believes that he is lost to her and tries her best to settle in to being a good wife to her husband. Unfortunately for Rebecca her husband is not all that he seems and she becomes convinced he is having an affair with the enigmatic Evangeline. Her only friend is her maid, Jenny, until she decides to take Evangeline to task about the affair and discovers that she was so very wrong. The true genius of this book is it's vivid descriptions of the descent in to addiction to Heroin (newly synthesised by Mr Palmer) and his experiments to show how wonderful it is for subjugating the weaker, hysterical female. Couple this with the strong characterisation of every person within the pages it is a well written book that is compulsive reading. So, why not 5 Stars then? Well, I have a couple of niggles with it: At one point Rebecca rushes downstairs to answer the door to a street urchin who brings a letter with him from Eva stating that she can show Rebecca the mystery of the shoe that was found in Mr Palmer's study. We are told that she rushes to the door barefoot. The next we know she is throwing her cloak on without pause to meet up with Eva and is out the door. It turns out she has slippers on (as revealed 10 or so pages later) but how they got there who knows. The scenes in the Bawdy House with it's Tom and Toffers whilst well written reminded of nothing more than Tipping The Velvet as produced by the BBC. The whole scene just feels cinematic and although it fits with the tone of the book in general it does jar against the earlier scene setting. The plot itself is well paced and the dream sequences when Rebecca has taken her medicine are glorious flashbacks in her life. The denouement does come as a little bit of a surprise but you do find yourself eagerly turning the pages and urging Rebecca on. A wonderfully realised tale that you will get lost in. I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM READERS FIRST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

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