Publisher: Wailing Banshee
Available in ebook & paperback (11 May 2020)
Source: Review copy received from author
ABOUT THE BOOK
Girl. Mother. Assassin.
How dangerous is a woman with nothing left to lose? The year is 1905.
London is a playground for the rich and a death trap for the poor. When Sofia Logan’s husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her penniless with two young children, she knows she will do anything to keep them from the workhouse. But can she bring herself to murder? Even if she has done it before…
Emmet Vinsant, wealthy industrialist, offers Sofia a job in one of his gaming houses. He knows more about Sofia’s past than he has revealed. Brought up as part of a travelling fair, she’s an expert at counting cards and spotting cheats, and Vinsant puts her talents to good use. His demands on her grow until she finds herself with blood on her hands.
Set against the backdrop of the Suffragette protests, with industry changing the face of the city but disease still rampant, and poverty the greatest threat of all, every decision you make is life or death. Either yours or someone else’s.
Read the first explosive historical thriller from best-selling crime writer of the DI Callanach series, Helen Fields.
Helen Fields has shown her versatility by switching from crime thrillers to historical thrillers and this is a fabulous read.
Through flashbacks from Sofia’s childhood and to her life as a young woman with a family the story tells of life in Edwardian London for a young widow trying to find a way to keep her family out of the workhouse with no traditional skills useful for employment. Except for one. And that one skill will have consequences for her and her children.
Sofia is in dire straits when she goes to her late husband’s wealthy employer Emmet Vinsant for help. Although Emmet had helped with paying for a doctor when Tom was dying, he is a hard man and not known for giving favours however he gives Sofia a job in one of his gaming clubs. Sofia is no stranger to card games, as a Romani child she was taught well and it is this talent that Vinsant puts to good use until Sofia finds herself out of her depth and her life spirals out of control.
This book had me hooked from the start. Sofia’s devastation at Tom’s sudden death, her hopelessness at trying to find employment and the desperation she feels at having to go to Vinsant for help. Doing a job that she is good at, she grows in confidence and sadly it is that which brings her down. Unfortunately she is forced to turn to Vinsant again and this time he wants more from her.
My feelings towards Sofia were certainly conflicted. Her childhood had been hard and at times brutal, but she had found happiness with her husband and children. She was at heart a likable person, although clearly troubled, and I felt so much sympathy for her, even when her pride and determination seemed to be guiding her to bad decisions. The grip of addiction however is a strong one and at times I found it difficult to reconcile the kind and gentle mother of two young children with this person that was she turning into.
Set during the early 1900’s the story is also partly woven around the suffragette movement and the historical research involved comes through clearly. Atmospheric and vividly described, the poverty and the brutality of the workhouses is in stark contrast to the comfortable lives of the rich. I was fully immersed in Sofia’s story and desperately hoping that it would end well for her.
These Lost and Broken Things was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It was well paced, with an absorbing storyline and some thoroughly unlikeable characters and for those who enjoy their crime a little on the hard side (including me!), some dark and murderous scenes. I do hope there is another book in this genre from Helen Fields.
My thanks to Kelly of Love Books Group for the tour invitation and to the author for providing the copy for review.
When the tour was arranged, I was delighted to receive a signed copy of the book which features the previous cover. I actually like this cover just as much and think it sums up the historical feel of the book very well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. Her next book, the sixth in the series, ‘Perfect Kill’ is due out on 6 February 2020. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’. Her previous audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her first historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things’ comes out in May 2020. A further standalone thriller published by HarperColllins will come soon. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children. Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information or at www.helenfields.co.uk.