Thank you to Net Galley for loaning me this book.
Publication Date: November 8, 2022
Length: 224 Pages
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 3 out of 5 stars
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK:
I am still new to this book blogging world and so one of the fun discoveries for me has been Net Galley. You just go online to their website and enter your information and you can request early copies of books that haven't been released yet. So amazing! I still can't believe I've been able to read this book before it even hits the shelves in November. I have loved Anne Perry books for over 20 years. So this one was a no brainer. I still have to read about four more of her Christmas books and I knew there would be some spoilers here by reading them out of order but I just couldn't resist. They always get you into the holiday spirit.
Crowe is a doctor running a clinic for the poorest, downtrodden members of London society. He spends his time healing those who cannot or will not go to a more prestigious doctor for medical help and has taken on Scuff, a former street urchin who has grown into a young man interested in medicine. Crowe and Scuff do not discriminate and will help anyone so when a young society lady, Ellie, is involved in a carriage accident not far from the clinic, they bring her there to recover. Crowe gets to know and care for Ellie and when her father comes to collect her he feels a void in his personal life for the first time. He is, in fact, in love. Knowing things will never work out for he and Ellie, Crowe vows to forget her but still finds reasons to walk through her neighborhood, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. One day he does, but it is not what he expected.
He witnesses an argument between Ellie and a young man whom he recognizes as Paul Dolan, the wealthy son of a local businessman. As he learns more of her situation, Crowe realizes that Ellie's father is probably connected to the Dolan family through their own financial ventures and concludes that Ellie may be feeling pressure to marry this very aggressive, controlling man. Confronting Ellie's father at her home about the altercation he witnessed on the street, Crowe hopes to convince Mr. Hollister that Ellie is in danger. Unable to assert any authority with her father, Crowe decides, with the help of Scuff, to quietly investigate Dolan's links with Hollister in the hopes of finding out anything to free Ellie from this perilous engagement. As they delve further into the business practices of both men, Crowe and Scuff find themselves, and the clinic, the target of unscrupulous policemen, dispatched to silence them. When an alarming discovery is made Crowe realizes Ellie may be in more danger than he anticipated and will stop at nothing to save her.
WHAT I LIKED:
All Anne Perry books have a certain rhythm to them. Especially her holiday books. They have recurring characters involved in solving a crime, usually murder, and they find resolution in the end. This alone makes for a reassuring, satisfying read every time. Add in the Christmas message and spirit and you will always come away feeling content. Without giving away spoilers, this book also adds a new character into Crowe and Scuff's lives that warms the heart in an extra way. As the book draws to a close it is Christmas Eve, moving into Christmas Day and she reminds us of the importance of faith and family. The touching scenes between Crowe and Ellie were nice, especially if you know Crowe's backstory from her other books. He has had a hard life and you just want to root for him. Scuff is the same way and so it is nice to see them together.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
I felt like there wasn't a lot to the mystery. This was my main reason for giving it 3 stars instead of 4. It kind of fell flat and I found myself waiting for more to be revealed. It was one of the most simplistic books of hers I've ever read and there really wasn't much to solve. Usually in her books there is an exciting twist at the end. Not so here. Although I will always champion her novels, I'm feeling like the Christmas ones are a struggle for her to produce each year. She is currently writing two other series, Daniel Pitt and Elena Standish and so I think these yearly holiday books are becoming an obligatory afterthought. That is unfortunate because I so look forward to them. I can't imagine writing so many books at a time. It might be better for quality to take precedence over quantity. Nevertheless, this was still a heartwarming book and if you are like me and know all the recurring characters it is always nice to see how their lives are progressing.
RECOMMEND OR NOT? Yes, you still can't go wrong here!
If you love holiday themed mysteries and especially if you are an Anne Perry fan you will enjoy the book. It is a quick read at barely 220 pages so even if it doesn't thrill you it won't take up too much of your time. Even though I loved reading it early I have to admit that this book would be even more enjoyable after Thanksgiving, during the Christmas holiday season. I have yet to read one on Christmas Eve so maybe that is a good reading goal this year with the ones I've yet to tackle.