Tuesday, March 15, 2011
31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan
Part Of The Synopsis From Back Cover:
Who killed Dr. Harvey Burdell in his opulent Manhattan town house?
Though there are no clues to the brutal slaying of wealthy Dr. Burdell, suspicion quickly falls on Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed his house and servants. An ambitious district attorney seeks a swift conviction, but defense attorney Henry Clinton is a formidable obstacle—a man firmly committed to justice and the law, and to the cause of a frightened, vulnerable woman desperately trying to save herself from the gallows.
I'm always a little leery, but can never resist, an actual unsolved murder case and the story an author is willing to create around it. Sadly, a lot of authors who take an actual case out of history and try to recreate it, fail miserably. They can't seem to get a good sense of character or the time period the slaying took place in. The tale they craft, while maybe good fiction, doesn't have the ring of truth about it. The solution they created just isn't believable. Thankfully, that was not the case with 31 Bond Street.
The tale that Ellen Horan weaves around the murder of Dr. Harvey Burdell is not only believable but entertaining as well. She brought the streets of 1857 New York to life in ways that may get me to love historical fiction after all. New York is treated as an important character, one that brings the color and texture to the story in ways that allows an almost tactile experience. As the characters encounter different parts of the city and surrounding land, that setting supports everything they do.
She obviously did her research and the story was richer for it. She managed to blend both historical and fictional characters and events into a cohesive narrative that felt like the truth. It felt as if she had found Emma Cunningham's journal, Henry Clinton's private memoir, and had H. G. Wells' time machine at her disposal. The characters are so real that it almost feels like they will come off the page at any second and explain what it is they are doing and why things happened the way they did. It was a brilliantly done look into the minds of people that have been dead for years.
If you couldn't tell that I loved this book, then I didn't use enough flattering language. Maybe I should go back and put in a few more just for the fun of it. The book is certainly deserving of it. I'll be looking forward to anything else this author chooses to put out there for the public to consume. At this point I would be willing to read an informational pamphlet about the mating rituals of peacocks, if this author was the one who wrote it.
I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. Please visit the tour page for more opinions and for information about the author.
Challenges: M&S, FF