Review of The Gargoyle in the Seine
Art student Clary Ashton can’t imagine a more perfect spot to study painting than Paris in the spring of 1878, until she witnesses a body thrown into the Seine, the body of Liam Heaton, another art student whose origins are clouded in mystery. What Clary thinks is murder becomes much more as Liam’s secrets come to light and Clary’s own brother falls under suspicion. Determined to clear him, she finds caught between two dangerous men- a political extremist days away from assassinating the Prince of Wales, and the young intrepid British secret agent, Reese Tretheway, who is determined to stop him.
Reese Tretheway could be described as a complicated nineteenth century version of James Bond-type spy, but the artist, Clary, is no Bond girl. Awkward and completely lacking in social skills, Clary was brought up like a gypsy, can roast an iguana to perfection, but can’t embroider a tea cloth if her life depends on it. Reese manages to hunt revolutionaries without ever losing his savoir-faire, wrinkling his evening clothes, or revealing his own secrets, all of which Clary finds maddening. When Clary realizes she knows too much, and has become a target of the revolutionaries, Clary and Reese have to tolerate each other long enough to try to save both Clary’s brother and the Prince, and in the process save their own lives.
This is another mystery that I did not solve before the end! That as I have said in previous reviews is a good start to show that this is a well written book. I also really like the setting, as a lover of European history, 1870's Paris is a great hook. The writing makes you feel as if you are entering a different world and Clary is a great guide through the time. She is clever and caring and has an edge that shows she can take care of whatever situation she gets involved in. I enjoyed the story and found the writing to be inviting and well paced. I know I have said it before but for me if the book is paced well and the characters are enjoyable and inviting - the combination makes for a great story!
I highly recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction with a mystery and or thriller slant. I also think those who just like historical fiction should give this a try. If you are a mystery lover and don't usually read those with a historical slant, try this as an introduction! It is not difficult as the era is described beautifully.
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