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    Fantasy fun in Victorian England

    Bridie Devine dabbles in forensics. Of course this is Victorian London and women do not dabble in the medical nor the detective realms. Yet Bridie is an imposing woman who has been raised both on the streets of Ireland and a fine estate in England. She is fearless and fearsome when she sets her mind to solving a puzzle. Called to a graveyard to determine the cause of death of a skeleton found in a wall, Bridie’s interested is piqued when she sees the skeleton holding a swaddled baby with teeth like a pike fish. When a baronet calls Bridie to solve the mystery of his missing child, but refuses to call the police, Bridie is suspicious. What she finds at the baronet’s estate is not the child, but another mystery to solve. The Winter Mermaid is a creature in a jar. A mysterious creature that has been deemed fictitious, but perhaps not. She has seen this creature in a jar before. Long ago in her childhood. But how did it get into the baronet’s hands? Jess Kidd has written a wonderful novel both fantasy and fiction. The setting is perfect for this mystery of an abduction and a creature in a jar. Bridie is a heroine/detective to be loved. Add in her housemaid Cora, a seven foot tall woman and the various other curious characters, and you have a story that keeps your attention. The story hops between the present and Bridie’s childhood, but it’s not hard to keep the two straight. Often when you time jump, you lose the thread of the novel, not in this case. Loved the premise of this book. The fantasy elements are just enough to keep you guessing. Kidd has done a lovely job of writing some fun. 4 stars This review will be posted at on 18 Jan 2020 .
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    An awesome tale told very well...

    I received a free electronic copy of this excellent novel from Netgalley, Jess Kidd and Atria Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my Personal opinion of Things in Jars. I adored Himself, the debut historical novel by Jess Kidd, and Things in Jars is also very compelling. We visit two periods of time in the seaport in Victorian London, England - the 1860s, and then back to the 1840s, repeat. Things in Jars is peopled with a varied and inviting cast. Our storyteller is Bridie Devine, female detective extraordinaire who is most often accompanied by the shade of Ruby Doyle, a tattooed, deceased professional boxer and a man of the sea, and occasionally with Cora Butter, and often in possession of Things in Jars, curios and unnatural things perfectly preserved. In Jars. Bridie worked with her grandmother at dissecting and preserving when very young and was sold to John Eames for a guinea when she was 8 or 10 years old. Now an adult, she is very careful with her freedom. Life in old England was anything but merry in the substructure of life that Bridie was enmeshed in, but she has friends - good friends. The odd occasional raven, some medical professionals, misfits and miscreants, those wielding dark magic, and curiosities both young and old. Her focus in Things in Jars is finding the kidnapped secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, Christabel Berwick. I often lost sight of the endgame, however. Open to any page of this novel and read it aloud. It brings us very special, very colorful, very physical action on each and every page. It is a book to share with friends and family. Jess Kidd is of a different mindset than the rest of us, a very special journey into the cockles of your mind... Alive, alive oh...

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