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There is a mystical thread to this story as Antonia dreams the experiences of her childhood friend, now caught in a brutal uprising in India. It’s an effective way of showing simultaneous events on opposite sides of the world--the disintegration of the rule of the British East India Company on the subcontinent and events in London where Antonia is helping Aunt Aethelbert to sponsor her friend’s daughter in society. The contrast of conditions is powerful, events in India horrific. The mystery that Charles and Antonia must solve is the death of an Indian gentleman in London known to friends of theirs, tying the two sides of the plot together. London plot involves the horrors of opium dens where Charles’ clergyman brother Freddy, a character readers will remember from a previous book, is ministering. I have been recently following the PBS series Victoria, so I enjoyed visualizing the scene of presenting Sarah to the young queen and her handsome new husband.
Antonia and Charles present an Aunt’s ward into London society at the same time as Antonia’s best childhood friend is caught up in a brutal massacre in India. ms. crow builds suspense by blending historical facts with horrifying detail in graceful Victorian prose that fascinates, grips the reader and doesn’t let go. I admire the author’s meticulous research of the Indian mutiny, and her gracious style of writing which never falters.