Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: Stolen Remains by Christine Trent

Title: Stolen Remains
Author: Christine Trent
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Series: Lady of Ashes #2
Publication Date: 29th April 2014
Pages: 304
Book Source: Kensington Books & NetGalley

Synopsis: After establishing her reputation as one of London's most highly regarded undertakers, Violet Harper decided to take her practice to the wilds of the American West. But when her mother falls ill, Violet and her husband Samuel are summoned back to England, where her skills are as sought-after as ever. She's honored to undertake the funeral of Anthony Fairmont, the Viscount Raybourn, a close friend of Queen Victoria's who died in suspicious circumstances--but it's difficult to perform her services when his body disappears. . . 

As the viscount's undertaker, all eyes are on Violet as the Fairmonts and Scotland Yard begin the search for his earthly remains. Forced to exhume her latent talents as a sleuth to preserve her good name, Violet's own investigation takes her from servants' quarters, to the halls of Windsor Castle, to the tombs of ancient Egypt--and the Fairmont family's secrets quickly begin to unravel like a mummy's wrappings. But the closer Violet gets to the truth, the closer she gets to becoming the next missing body. . .

My Thoughts:
I loved the first book in this series, Lady of Ashes, and have been keenly awaiting the second instalment. Stolen Remains was an enjoyable read but for me it didn't have quite the same appeal as its predecessor.  

The Victorian setting continues to fascinate me as does Violet's undertaking and embalming practices. At the behest of Queen Victoria, Violet provides her services to the deceased Anthony Fairmont and his family, (who are mostly an unlikable bunch) with suspicious circumstances seeing her also take on the role of unconventional detective. Mind you, her deductive skills make Scotland Yard look like blundering fools. 

The whole mystery is neatly entwined with interesting historical events of the time; the construction of the Suez Canal, the 'hushed up' use of corvee labour on the project and Alfred Nobel's invention of dynamite. 

As pieces of the mystery jigsaw are revealed there were a couple of times I found myself eye-rolling, thinking 'as if' ... the coincidences seemed just a little too convenient but all up I liked Stolen Remains and I'm looking forward to A Virtuous Death later this year.

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16 comments:

  1. I haven't gotten to this one yet but I have it on my MP3 player. I figured it might suffer a little second book syndrome :(

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    1. Ooh I'll be interested to hear what you think of it on audio Felicia. I'll keep an eye out.

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  2. Bummer that it didn't hold up to the first one!!!

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    1. Maybe just me?? But I'm hoping Sacred Remains will be a return to form :)

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  3. I've wanted to read Lady of Ashes since I first read about it (maybe here?). Glad you want to continue on with the next book.

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    1. Lady of Ashes was great, hope you get to it soon Nise!

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  4. I haven't read a historical fiction in ages, okay not ages, but in a very long time. It sounds interesting. Great to hear that the series so far is entertaining/good.

    Nina from J'adore Happy Endings

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    1. Definitely a series I'd recommend Nina, something a little out of the ordinary :)

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  5. Sounds fascinating with a woman undertaker in Victorian times! And a stolen body! Okay! Probably not a read for me, but I can see that for readers of the genre it would be interesting.

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    1. Female undertaker in Victorian times is what started me on the series (and the stunning book covers) and keeps me reading. Violet is refreshingly different!

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  6. I really wanted to read this one but they only approved me on the day the galley expired! Though it seems you weren't thrilled with this one I'd still like to try this series.

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    1. I was lucky Shelleyrae and got a couple of days. You need to start with Lady of Ashes, I loved it and even though I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, it's a good series with a very different protagonist.

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  7. It's hard for a second book to live up to the greatness of a first. Looks like it was solid, though, and that's what keeps me reading a series.

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    1. For sure Stacy. Still a good read and Violet, her unusual career, and the Victorian era ... too good to pass up!

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  8. Sounds interesting, and mysteries are about the only way I can get into historical fiction.

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  9. I loved the first book, though haven't had a chance to read this one yet. Bummer that the clues where just too convenient!

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