Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent ~ Review & Giveaway

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Lady of Ashes Historical Mystery
Publication Date: 26th February 2013
Pages: 404
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Synopsis: In 1861 London, Violet Morgan is struggling to establish a good reputation for the undertaking business that her husband has largely abandoned. She provides comfort for the grieving, advises them on funeral fashion and etiquette, and arranges funerals.

Unbeknownst to his wife, Graham, who has nursed a hatred of America since his grandfather soldiered for Great Britain in the War of 1812, becomes involved in a scheme to sell arms to the South. Meanwhile, Violet receives the commission of a lifetime: undertaking the funeral for a friend of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. But her position remains precarious, especially when Graham disappears and she begins investigating a series of deaths among the poor. And the closer she gets to the truth, the greater the danger for them both…

My Thoughts:
I was introduced to Christine Trent's writing with By The King's Design, an enjoyable read that left me keen to try more. The synopsis for Lady of Ashes, the first in Christine's historical mystery series had me thoroughly intrigued then the opportunity arose to participate in the Lady of Ashes book tour ... sign me up!! Christine Trent has a knack for writing about the lives of tradeswomen as they intersect with royalty, strong women pioneering their times ... in this instance, Violet Morgan with Crown Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. 

Violet Morgan often wondered why she was so skilled at dressing a corpse, yet was embarrassingly incompetent in the simplest household task, such as selecting draperies or hiring housemaids. 

Violet is the endearing heroine of Lady of Ashes. A Victorian undertaker, intelligent, compassionate, hard working, savvy businesswoman and one of my favourite characters to read of - which may have had something to do with my fascination with her choice of profession. 

Set in the early 1860's and packed with easily digestible historical detail, the mystery element was a seamless addition but I have to say I was more captivated by the cast of characters, the wonderfully atmospheric Victorian era and undertaking practices. 

The American Civil War is central to the plot and it was interesting to read England's view of the conflict, their careful attempts to stay in favour with both the Union and the Confederacy but what sold this book for me was the richly detailed look at undertaking, Violet's care, sensitivity and passion, the practices in tending the deceased, funereal etiquette and mourning customs depending on social class ... I seriously couldn't get enough. 

Wholeheartedly recommending this one and eagerly awaiting the next two books in this series, tentatively titled Stolen Remains (2014) and Sacred Remains (2015).

Cover: Isn't it perfect? A favourite this year

Find Christine Trent on her Website or follow her on Facebook 
Follow the Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #LadyOfAshesVirtualTour

International Giveaway:
I'm thrilled to offer readers the chance to win a copy of LADY OF ASHES & it's International!! Just leave a relevant comment or question along with your email address.

Extra Entries: 
+ 2 tweet giveaway and leave a link

Giveaway ends 2nd April and winner will be announced on my blog. 
Good luck everyone!

My thanks to Christine Trent and Amy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for my copy of Lady Of Ashes. 


  1. I subscribe to Christine Trent's newsletter and have been looking forward to the release of Lady of Ashes.
    What a fascinating story line and better yet that this will be the first of a series.
    I'd love to enter the giveaway please.
    Thank you,

  2. Wow!! This sounds wonderful!!!! bmwgirl@cox.net

  3. I've been interested in reading this novel since I first heard about it, with its very interesting premise. And since seeing the movie Lincoln I'm especially interested in the Civil War era. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. This book looks so good to me. The subject has me intrigued and it is set in one of my favorite time periods. Thank you for the chance to win it.

    I am a new follower and have shared on twitter. https://twitter.com/griperang/status/313989603180814336

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  5. I have been stalking this book tour simply because the book sounds fantastic! I love the concept and of course the setting! I can't wait to read it! I hope I win! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

    My email addy is: thelitbitch [at] me [dot] com

    I also tweeted about the giveaway: https://twitter.com/thelitbitch/status/314000924039340032

  6. Ohh international, for real? Yay :D Yes I am in, it sounds cool and it's not easy to go outside the box these days. But it sounds fresh

    booksforlife01 at gmail dot com

  7. Thanks for featuring this fascinating novel. The era and the story sound captivating and special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Interesting and unique historical which would be greatly enjoyed. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. I am really looking forward to reading this novel! I remember exactly where I was when I read By the King's Design, and I have been waiting for her next release ever since. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Muse_in_the_Fog/status/314035788625088512

  10. This one sounds so GOOD!!! I already have it on my wishlist but am trying to win it as well :). Who wouldn't love a story about a female Victorian undertaker, hm? Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  11. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/candc320/status/314036151365271552.

  12. I love the possibilities of this one. thanks for the chance to win.


  13. Thanks for the giveaway.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  14. After reading your review, I never once thought of how England viewed the American Civil War. I'm now incredibly curious about all of it. The book sounds wonderful. Thanks for the great review and hosting the giveaway. Adding it to my TBR list immediately.

    Cathleen Holst
    cathyholst at gmail dot com

  15. I've read so many good reviews of this book and I would love to read it.

    thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  16. https://twitter.com/BrokenTeepee/status/314044498596470784
    thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  17. Your comments make me so happy -- am dying to read this one -- I agree with you about the cover -- it is stunning! Just tweeted the giveaway as well. Thanks!

  18. I like historical series, this being the first book, is a plus. Thanks for the giveaway.


  19. I love historical romances! I think a story of a female undertaker must be interesting to read. Her heroine must be a headstrong and independent woman for her time. I would love to read and review it! thank you for the giveaway!

  20. This has been on my wishlist since I heard about it! I would love to win a copy. What a great storyline and I'm so thrilled that it's the first in a series. Thanks for the giveaway!

    lafra86 at gmail dot com

  21. I love the sound of this one-I think Violet sounds just delightful and I am pleased to learn that the Civil War plays a role. I'm interested to find out more about the British attempts to remain in the good graces of both sides.

  22. I really enjoy historical fiction and this book is exciting me because is also sounds a little dark and quite unique. I can't say that I've read a historical fiction where the main character is an undertaker. You definitely have me looking forward to reading this one!

  23. I am fascinated by historical fiction during the Victorian times, by a woman undertakers and that the American Civil War figures into this mystery too!! I want to learn more. I found out that after the American Civil War, that the demand for gingham from England's factories dropped. This is because gingham was used for the house servants in the South, after they were emanicipated the demand really dropped. My father's ancestors worked in the mills and the mill went out of business so they came to United States.


  24. I hadn't actually put together in my mind what this book was about. I think I just assumed it was related to her previous books! Now I am very interested in reading it!

    Email ozdiamondlil at gmail dot com


  25. This sounds intriguing-thanks for the chance to win a copy!
    rexmoy (at) gmail (dot) com

  26. Not a subject matter I've ever read about & a woman - wow!!

    Loving the cover too.


  27. I am all over this one!!! Must get hands on a copy!

  28. I love the sound of this one Sheree! Thanks for the opportunity. My email address is: brendatelford(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

  29. The book seems very promising, and my instincts are usually good. :)
    my email address can be found on my blogger profile. :)
    Just click my username.

  30. This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. I love the idea of the heroine being an undertaker. Thanks for the chance to win Sheree

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    bookd.out at gmail dot com

  32. Not sure I would read this, but I'm loving the cover.

  33. I first read Christine Trent a few years ago when I picked up The Queen's Dollmaker, and I really enjoyed it. I love historical mysteries, so this one sounds fantastic! Glad to hear you liked it :)

  34. I love stories based in old London. Please enter my name in the book giveaway.


  35. Love this time period and interesting subject choice too, would love a copy of this book to read :-) Thanks for the international giveaway too!

    amandabarrett81 (AT)gmail (DOT) com

  36. What an interesting sounding story. I love the fact that the main character is an undertaker. Thanks for the opportunity to win this one.

    1. This sounds like a great book to read. Thank you such a nice give away.

  37. Would love to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway!

    darlyn225 at gmail dot com

  38. This book looks really interesting one i could get lost in for hours at a time.

  39. have tweeted https://twitter.com/hootylishous/status/318730016580042752

  40. This looks so good! I may have to wait til the next one is out though :)


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