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The Blackstone Key review

August 26, 2008

Publishers Description:

It is 1795, and Mary Finch sets off to meet her wealthy uncle, hoping to heal a bitter family estrangement and perhaps to avoid a dismal career teaching at Mrs. Bunbury’s school for young ladies. Eager for an adventure, she is soon embroiled in one of frightening proportions, for war is raging across Europe, England faces the threat of invasion, and some secrets are more valuable than gold. As she uncovers a complex and deadly plot involving ruthless smugglers, secret codes, and a dangerous network of spies and traitors, Mary must learn quickly whom she can trust. The apparently stalwart Captain Holland? The dangerous yet attractive Mr. Déprez? Perhaps the mysterious Hicks or even Mrs. Tipton, who knows what is best for everyone, especially Mary? The price of failure may be her life and the safety of all England.

Review and Grade: C+

It was fun to read, especially because I have nothing else really going on. It only took two days to read it, but then again, that wasn’t because it was hard to put down. On the contrary, I kind of kept getting up, fidgeting, finding random things to clean or organize. Once I forced myself to concentrate, I was able to get into the book. I’m not much of a mystery novel girl, so it’s been a long time since I read a straight-up mystery, let alone a period piece/mystery mix.

That was another issue for me. Maybe because I spent most of the summer reading Austen, I found it hard to buy into the 1795 time frame. As I would get wrapped up in the book, I would start to forget the period and expect things that are present day, such as electric lights, and then I would be surprised by something like a candle. I guess I had trouble reconciling the modern tone with the time period of the book.

Ok, beyond that and the length of the book, I liked it. It was far from bad, and as much as all of the other things bothered me, I really just wanted to know who was the bad guy, which of course you don’t find out until the very end. Whenever I thought I had figured it out, there was something else that would tip the scales back the other way. I’m guessing that means it was a successful mystery novel.

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