Publication Date: 3rd May from Bloomsbury (Raven)
Everyone has a secret… Only some lead to murder.
Leo Stanhope. Assistant to a London coroner; in love with Maria; and hiding a very big secret.
For Leo was born Charlotte, but knowing he was meant to be a man – despite the evidence of his body – he fled his family home at just fifteen, and has been living as Leo ever since: his original identity known only to a few trusted people.
But then Maria is found dead and Leo is accused of her murder. Desperate to find her killer and under suspicion from all those around him, he stands to lose not just the woman he loves, but his freedom and, ultimately, his life.
The House On Half Moon Street was an atmospheric and emotive read – which is all about, really, it’s central character Leo, transgender, living in a time where the only way to live the truth is by living a lie…
Alex Reeve captures the sense of a gritty, Victorian London with a real literary flair and Leo is highly engaging and deeply layered. Misogyny abounds, even within Leo himself, I was fascinated by his journey and seeing his internal thoughts and struggles really made this novel for me.
The mystery element is well plotted, if rather secondary to the character drama and scene setting – the author uses Leo to explore the realities and vagaries of this period of history – especially with relation to the place of women in society, their limitations and realities – it is all highly thought provoking and often very hard hitting. The writing is beautiful, harsh occasionally and not afraid to tackle controversy – it all made for an addictive and immersive read.
Overall The House On Half Moon Street promises much – I’m happy to hear it is only the start for Leo as this is a premise that could run and run, so much more to explore within its themes and setting – this was an excellent start and I shall certainly be following along.
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