A Treacherous Likeness by Lynn Shepherd

Lynn Shepherd is a British author who studied English in Oxford and worked as a freelance copywriter for more than a decade.

A Treacherous Likeness is the third book in Image of book A Treacherous Likenessthe Charles Maddox series. I have not read the first (Murder at Mansfield Park) but read the second (Tom-All-Alone’s) over six years ago. I enjoyed it so much that I borrowed A Treacherous Likeness from a friend shortly after, unfortunately I have only just got round to reading it (thankfully my friend is patient).

(Note: Outside of the UK, Tom-All-Alone’s is called A Solitary House, and A Treacherous Likeness is called A Fatal Likeness)

A Treacherous Likeness follows Charles Maddox, an investigator in the mid-19th century, as he works to unravel the mysteries surround the life of poet Percy Shelley and his wife, author Mary Shelley.

Throughout the book I found myself changing my opinions of the main characters continuously, in fact I’m still not 100% sure what I think of them. There is a lot of history, London in the 19th century, the class system etc. There is also a lot of interesting information about the Shelleys. This is of course combined with fictitious characters and events. The author’s note at the end is very helpful in separating fact from fiction and speculation.

I found this book to be an enjoyable read. I like Shepherd’s way of writing, she occasionally talks to you separate from the story, discussing how a behaviour would result in a medical diagnosis nowadays etc. Although it takes you out of the period the story is based in, it seems to somehow bring you closer to the characters.

This book has raised a lot of questions for me about the Shelleys and even about Byron. I’m leaving it with lots of curiosity and will be doing some research about them all to sate it.

I really enjoyed reading this and am pleased to see that there has been a fourth book released in the series, although it does seem to be only on the Kindle that I can find it. Regardless, I hope it’s not another six years before I read it. I would also like to go back and read the first in the series.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Thirteen year old Joe Coutt’s life is thrown in to turmoil when his mother is attacked and raped on their reservation. Devastated by the attack and not wanting to talk to anyone, she simply goes to bed and remains there. His father, a tribal judge, does his best to help her and seek justice, but it seems to be out of his reach. Joe decides to take matters into his own hands and, along with his friends, he sets out to investigate the attack and find out the truth – hoping that life will go back to normal once his goal has been achieved.

This is the first book that I have read by Louise Erdrich, and despite the terrible events that set everything in motion, it is a beautiful book. The descriptions were incredible and the storyline was engaging, resulting me in truly caring about the characters. Whilst reading I laughed, empathised, was shocked, and heartbroken.

TheRoundHouse

Erdrich has taken a devastating subject and written about it in an incredibly thought-provoking way.   Strangely enough, although it was based on a terrible ordeal, with more bad things to come, the book wasn’t depressing or negative, in fact I found it quite uplifting in many places.

The back story of the characters was fantastic, the explanation of tribal life was detailed and descriptive – but not so much that you got bored.

Simply put, this story was about a family and community, who have their lives turned upside down and struggle to make sense of it all, and was a wonderful read.

(Reviewed 15 March 2013)

(Thanks to Corsair and Love Reading for my pre-released copy of the book.)