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24 February 2015

M. J. Trow's The Blue and The Grey

***I received this title for free from NetGalley and Severn House. 
The free-ness in no way influenced my opinion.***

I feel strange saying that I'm a fan of the Civil War. It just sounds wrong and it was truly a horrible time -- but I've always been a fan of stories from and about that time period. Likewise, Victorian England has always held a special place in my lit-based heart. When I read the description on NetGalley for M. J. Trow's upcoming The Blue and The Grey (set to be released April 1st) and saw that it combined the two? I knew it was one that I would have to read.

The year is 1865. Abraham Lincoln has just been assassinated in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth. Prostitutes are being butchered in London by the Haymarket Strangler. The stars are Captain Matthew Grand -- an American Civil War veteran who was at the theater when Lincoln was shot and gave chase to Booth, and James Batchelor -- a London-based journalist who ended up covered in a butchered prostitute's blood. Grand travels to London on a mission from the pre-Secret Service agency investigating a conspiracy surrounding Lincoln's assassination and ends up joining forces with Batchelor, who is working with the local police in regards to the Haymarket Strangler.

Trow tells the tale beautifully. The supporting characters are fleshed out more than I typically expect and the locations are so richly detailed that the cities feel like characters all on their own. The sights, the smells, the feels (both physical and emotional) all vivid and vibrant. I felt my heart racing with anxiety -- and also snorted my coffee from the humor. A few times (or more) I got frustrated because I wanted to piece things together just so in my head only to have them jostled out of place by Trow within a couple of pages. I love that it wasn't all neat and tidy and actually threw me off kilter!

The Blue and The Grey is the first in a series and I'll definitely be keeping track for when the second is announced and released.

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