Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus
Source: Publisher Review Copy
It’s true what they say . . . revenge is sweet.
1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother.
2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.
Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.
Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past.
A new crime series. Always a good reading day especially when they turn out to be as involving and intriguing as “With Our Blessing” – a really quite beautifully written, immediately immersive story that is completely gripping throughout.
A few things that made this a stand out for me: Firstly Tom Reynolds. A really fairly normal policeman. Its kind of nice to have someone who simply has the usual problems we all face. He was a great character, plenty of depth and he felt very realistic. In fact the police team as a whole had a wonderfully authentic feel to it, which only added to the atmospheric and emotional case they were investigating.
The story itself was fascinating and completely addictive – admittedly beyond a general knowledge that they existed I did not know anything about the Magdalene Laundries – Jo Spain manages, with her gritty and no holds barred styling to paint a really horrific picture of the things that happened in that time, the echoes of that reverberating down into the present, at times it was difficult reading….for all the right reasons.
The mystery element itself is really well done – it kept me guessing, kept me turning the pages and this is one of those novels that you devour in fairly short order, excellent pacing, unpredictable and intriguing from the moment you start to the moment you finish.
There is a terrific balance of dark and light here – the author manages to walk that line, the narrative is unrelenting in its descriptive prose, yet there is respite to be had in the odd humerous moment. No punches are pulled especially in relation to the historical aspects, an eye opener into the way women were treated, there is no way that you’ll come away from this book without a sense of sorrow for anyone who was affected.
Overall a really excellent debut and one that promises great things from this series in the future. Most definitely Highly Recommended.
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Happy Reading Folks!