Review: Seven For A Secret by Lyndsay Faye (5/5)

Tuesday, 24 June 2014
1846: KIDNAP, MURDER, LOVE AND BETRAYAL ON THE LAWLESS STREETS OF NEW YORK.

Timothy Wilde, copper star in the newly formed NYPD, thinks himself hardened to the darker practices of the city he's grown up in. That is, until he encounters the 'blackbirders', slave-catchers with a right to seize runaways from the Southern states.

When a woman reports her family has been stolen, Timothy and his wayward brother Valentine find themselves plunged into an underworld of violence and deceit, where police are complicit and politics savage. If he's to protect all those he cares about, Timothy must unravel the corruption at the heart of the authority he was hired to defend...


I couldn't have been more excited for this book from the blurb. Growing up I was fascinated with history, and especially this time period of the 1800s in America especially. So this book just sounded perfect for me and I am ecstatic to say it did not disappoint. I'd say this is probably one of the most exciting and enjoyable crime fiction books I've read this year simply for its originality. It really was fantastic from start to finish.

To me this book felt like it was actually written in 1846. The language and words used were so authentic that it was like you were reading a book from so long ago. On one level this was great as it adds authenticity to the story but at times it was a bit hard to enjoy the story with the way some paragraphs were written and took me back to my schooldays reading and analysing old books. That said though there's nothing worse than reading a book set in a different period and the author barely changing the language to match that time period. Lyndsay Faye has done an excellent job here. Sadly it's the second in a series and not really having the time to read the first one because of review books meant I had to just jump into this one. Whilst it can be read as a standalone the pleasure of reading series always comes from already knowing the characters. It was still enjoyable though and can be read as a standalone.

I'm not even going to attempt to describe the book because I think the blurb does it perfectly: When the beautiful and terrified Lucy Adams staggers into Timothy’s office to report a robbery and is asked what was stolen, her reply is, "My family". Their search for her mixed-race sister and son will plunge Timothy and his feral brother, Valentine, into a world where police are complicit and politics savage, and corpses appear in the most shocking of places (US version blurb). The characterisation in this book is just brilliant. Timothy in particular. He will do whatever it takes in his hunt for Lucy's family and it's these characters who are always the most enjoyable to read about, not being afraid of their superiors or stepping on the toes of those higher up than them. Valentine was also an intriguing character and one I'm looking forward to reading more about. I had no idea where the story was going or who to trust throughout the book. The concept of slavery has always been a fascination, even in these modern times it still exists to a much lesser extent. The 'Blackbirders' were especially evil to read about.

I love New York, I've never been but I still feel like I know the place really well. Lyndsay has brought it to life here incredibly well, you really lose yourself in the book and feel like you are a part of the story. The research that has gone into this book is clearly evident and I can't wait to see where the author goes next in what I hope will be a very long running series. Trying to find a unique and different from the rest crime fiction book is often harder than you'd think but this definitely fits that bill. An absolutely impeccable read that I can't recommend enough! 

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