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Cordelia has left England under a cloud of suspicion, even though she was equited in a court of law after the murder of her husband, it is still believed that his other wife (who just happens to be the cousin of Queen Victoria) was of noble blood and just simply wouldn't stoop to murder!
She takes with her, her eldest daughter Gwenlliam, and has been offered a job in "Mr Silas P Swifts circus", as Cordelia is not only the famous murderess (so called) but also a very accomplished mesmerist, but has now found that she has been reduced to performing in a circus to earn her keep.
After touring across England, and finally travelling across the water to the young city of New York, she finds that her life is only going to get more difficult, as people from England wish to see her harmed, and her daughter reinstated to her rightful position, as lady of Wales.
This is a really intense read, and I have to say initially felt a little too heavy for me, and I did put it down a few times within the first few chapters, though I am really glad I carried on.
You get the impression that there are only two threads to this book, the first being Cordelia's, Gwenlliam's and their make shift "families" lives within the circus, this is a detailed enough read, but add that to the second thread being set in England and the plans of abduction, murder and money thrown in it felt that it might become a bit too plot heavy, though thankfully didn't.
I felt I enjoyed the book more from the point the unlikely group settles in New York, with Cordelia's husband (a police officer) becoming almost more important to the story than previously thought, this is also how the gangs of New York become a large part of the story, this was exciting and terrifying all in one go, and very like the film of the same name ( I never realised that the gang names used in the film are quite possibly the actual gangs names, either way they are not pleasant groups of people!).
The book (once I had got into it) was sensational, with the story twisting this way and that, and incorporating everything that I knew (and plenty I didn't) from the Queen Victoria era, with (even though they were in New York) the Queen being mention in every chapter, chronicling the different projects Prince Albert was involved with, an education but also eventually to become part of the story too.
This is definitely an adults read, as there is no real sexual scenes I can think of, but due to violence in the book and also some of the language used, this would be totally unsuitable for a younger reader, even if you could justify the historical content (which I cannot comment on for accuracy!).
From what I can gather this is the second book, with the first being simply called "The mesmerist", though I never felt I missed out reading that book first, I do feel I would like to now get the book to read.
Price wise this has a RRP of £7.99, but can be purchased for less via www.amazon.co.uk
This was a heavy, violent, detailed, wonderful insightful read, and would recommended it to you.
Thanks for reading x