Not your usual regency romance! No sashaying Ladies and rakish Dukes! Instead the desperation of life on the wrong side of the tracks! Here in the dark underbelly of London, in the depths of rookery we meet those who do what they must to survive. Life in the most sordid of Dicksonian conditions.
Kate grew up in and out of her fathers shipping company in the docks of London.
Daniel worked his way up in the company to become her father's assistant. The two were engaged. A man, Tommy Dalton, was murdered and Daniel, drunk on gin, was accused. A friend helped Daniel escape and now three years later He has returned to the Rookery to try and prove his innocence, and to find the woman he's never stopped loving.
Kate's life is very far from what he had imagined. Her father's business failed, and with his death, she was left destitute on the streets. Deserted by her friends, she was a woman alone in the most desperate parts of London. She's literally clawed her way back from the gutter. Now a successful fence she is beholden to no-one and in charge of her life.
Searching for the truth is a dangerous game especially when others have so much to lose.
I really enjoyed the storyline's premise, the tension leading up to the discovery of who murdered Dalton, some of the minor characters along the way like Atlas and the question marks raised about Sergeant Thaddeus Knight. All are nuggets of gold.
It's just that I felt that towards the end the writing fell away and didn't maintain the verve it opened with. Perhaps it's something about Kate and Daniel's interactions that were a tad off kilter. Really, the plot was strong enough that it didn't need their sexual interplay in full flight. In fact the storyline might have been stronger with less. Daniel's struggle with gin is real, Kate's struggle with maintaining her life is gritty and heartfelt. Individually they're strong characters, but their dialogue in the together moments just lacks something.
Perhaps I wanted Kate to continue to be some sort of leading light to those around her. She certainly has the strength for it.
Don't get me wrong, I will continue to follow this series. Indeed, the Rookeries has it all--mystery, gangs, murder, brothels, the resurrection trade. It's all one in the rookery!
A NetGalley ARC