London, 1927: One house. Three lives. A decision that will change everything. A powerful, unique timeslip story, perfect for fans of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Miniaturist, and Lucinda Riley.
On the morning of Friday 5th August, 1927, Miss Agnes Humphries – the landlady of the attractive, if-slightly-shabby, white-fronted townhouse at Number 23 Burlington Square – has a decision to make. The rooms of the second floor lie empty, since poor Mr Blandford’s unfortunate demise, God rest his soul. And Agnes must make up her mind as to who will be her new lodger… Will it be her spirited, young niece Clara, who drifts through the glamorous world of London’s Bright Young Things? Or Stephen, the sensible, church-going, respectable banker who seems just be too good to be true? Or the timid war widow named Mercy, who is clearly running from something – or someone…?
Agnes must choose between them. But what will her decision lead to? One of the choices could result in scandal, one in devastation, and one could even lead to happiness. If only she gets it right…
As all three lodgers enter Number 23, in alternate timelines, relationships are formed and destroyed, feathers are ruffled, and secrets are exposed. Three different choices. Three very different paths. And Agnes is to discover that nobody – including herself – is quite who they seem…
My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invitation and to the publisher for the review copy via Netgalley. No 23 Burlington Square was published on 31 October 2023 by Boldwood Books and is available in ebook (and Kindle Unlimited), audio and paperback.
I haven’t read anything by Jenni Keer before and my goodness I think I have been missing out. This one deserves all the stars for the clever writing, the ‘Sliding Doors’ scenarios and the superbly drawn characters.
Agnes Humphries, the spinster landlady of the said property has a huge decision to make. A recently deceased lodger means a set of rooms is available but with three applicants who would all be deserving, who should she let to? Through the individual stories of Clara, Stephen and Mercy, we find out how their lives might have panned out had they been the chosen one. These storylines are basically novellas in their own right and I loved this construction because the story isn’t constantly flipping backwards and forwards. In between, Agnes’ backstory is explored and I enjoyed reading about her. She was a sympathetic and caring soul, albeit someone without a filter whose plain speaking could ruffle feathers and she frequently divulged personal confidences. Her cluttered house is testament to her inability to dispose of anything that has a memory attached.
I can’t begin to imagine how the author kept track of all the characters in the different timelines as they all blended together so well. However she ensures that whilst each person has the focus on them, the others are not forgotten and we learn what is happening to them also. Not everyone is as they seem, there are secrets and deceit leading to revelations which will elicit both sympathy and loathing.
This is a captivating story and one which is not only character driven but also touches on the politics and post-war society of the time. The writing is superb, there were so many quotes I bookmarked that sung to me and all three timelines came together to a definitive conclusion. Jenni Keer has written a charming story that is refreshing just by being different. I loved it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
The book is currently £1.39 to download on Kindle. It’s an absolute steal.
Jenni Keer is the well-reviewed author of historical romances, often with a mystery at their heart. Most recently published by Headline and shortlisted for the 2023 RNA Historical Romantic Novel of the Year, her first book with Boldwood The House on Burlington Square will be released in October 2023.
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