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Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Locksmith's Daughter by Karen Brooks

Title: The Locksmith’s Daughter
Author: Karen Brooks
Publisher: 19th September 2016 by  Harlequin Australia, MIRA
Pages: 510 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical/general fiction, Tudor
My Rating: 4.5 crowns


In a world where no one can be trusted and secrets are currency, one woman stands without fear.

Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London’s master locksmith. For her there is no lock too elaborate, no secret too well kept. Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster and protector of Queen Elizabeth – the last of the Tudor monarchs – and her realm, is quick to realise Mallory’s talent and draws her into his world of intrigue, danger and deception. With her by his side, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery; no plot secure.
But Mallory’s loyalty wavers when she witnesses the execution of three Jesuit priests, a punishment that doesn’t fit their crime. When Mallory discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she has to make a choice – between her country and her heart.
Mallory, however, carries her own dark secrets and is about to learn those being kept from her – secrets that could destroy those she loves.
Once Sir Francis’s greatest asset, Mallory is fast becoming his worst threat … and everyone knows there’s only one way Sir Francis deals with those.

My Thoughts

WOW! What a story! I am a lover of historical fiction and this is gripping reading. ‘The Locksmith's Daughter’ is a first-person narrative and straight away you are drawn into this turbulent Tudor period. The story is most engaging with factual detail, action, drama and romance all perfectly melded together.

The writing is comprehensive and most compelling. My one slight problem (and removal of just half a star), is that at times it was long winded. I wanted to move on with the action and wanted more of what was happening; however, you cannot deny that is was very well researched - steeped in detail, rich in facts. So much so, that some scenes are very confronting and graphic with how people were treated in the infamous Tower of London.

“It was even easier to commit atrocities when they were enacted in the name of justice; when you believed you were working for the good of the realm, for the security of the sovereign and your people. It was easy when you didn’t see the consequences and others performed the retribution for you. It was easy to be ruthless when you ceased to think of those convicted as human, and saw them as enemies.”

You will make strong connections with many characters, as you lose yourself in Elizabethan England and the fascinating world of locks and spies! What the lead character Mallory endured, will indeed confront you, but nothing will stop you from turning those pages. The array of secondary players are just as inviting - from her father Gideon, friend Caleb, to the infallible Lord Nathaniel - just to name a few.

“I was my father’s daughter. When I was with Papa, the hours became a solace, the workshop a refuge from the vexation my mere presence aroused in my mother.”

I feel that Brooks has perfectly portrayed the frightening Tudor England, in her settings and descriptions. There are subtle twists and turns, to downright cry out loud moments! With a fabulous female protagonist set against (or with?) the Queen’s own spymaster, Walsingham, you will quickly get caught up in this gripping espionage thriller.

“I want us to find the lock so we may open this chest of Catholic worms.’ He stared at me. ‘Who better to help us find the right lock than a locksmith’s daughter?”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

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