An engaging mystery and romance set smack in the middle of the Drury Lane theatre district of London in Victorian times.
There's treachery, mystery and fear. Young children, the 'pantomime children', discarded when too old or when the season is over and who are lured into darker employment in London or taken to Paris are at the heart of the matter.
Miss Gillian Young is a talented seamstress whose father, a hitherto respected inspector in the police force, has recently been killed in a mysterious 'accident'. Gillian is left with nothing but puzzles, and fear. What happened to her father? It seems he is being accused of corruption and more. Few of the constabulary turns out for his funeral. Gillian is determined to find out the truth, despite the menacing warnings she has to let things be.
Gillian has inherited a property outside London. There she meets the handsome Viscount Thomas Lockwood who owns property adjacent to her's. They are attracted to one and other. Gillian also becomes acquainted with a young policeman who is the son of a colleague of her father's.
But threats and disquieting happenstances are closing in upon Gillian. Who can be trusted? Who are the villains? Why are the police searching her properties?
Gillian's ambitions as a costume designer is fascinating. When she is given the opportunity to be the principal designer for the theatre production of Cinderella she employs young people from a home for pantomime children her mother supported, The Cause.
The back story of the pantomime children, their exploitation and unknown futures lends this story strength. Child trafficking has never died and this story hides these dark secrets in its background. With strong Christian underpinnings, Boyd's end note and research about the pantomime children and their inclusion in this novel takes the story to a different level and is to be commended.
A NetGalley ARC