Review: Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent

Description (from cover):

‘Only a woman with an iron backbone could succeed as an undertaker in Victorian London, but Violet Morgan takes a great pride in her trade. While her husband, Graham, is preoccupied with elevating their station in society, Violet is cultivating a sterling reputation for Morgan Undertaking. She is empathetic, well-versed in funeral fashions, and comfortable with death’s role in life–until its chilling rattle comes knocking on her own front door.

Violet’s peculiar but happy life soon begins to unravel as Graham becomes obsessed with his own demons and all but abandons her as he plans a vengeful scheme. And the solace she’s always found in her work evaporates like a departing soul when she suspects that some of the deceased she’s dressed have been murdered. When Graham’s plotting leads to his disappearance, Violet takes full control of the business and is commissioned for an undertaking of royal proportions. But she’s certain there’s a killer lurking in the London fog, and the next funeral may be her own.

Equal parts courage, compassion, and intrigue, Christine Trent tells an unrestrained tale of love and loss in the rigidly decorous world of Victorian society.’

My thoughts:

I absolutely adore books set in the Victorian era. Give me an interesting heroine, a fabulous tale of intrigue and murder and set in the Victorian London that I love, and I am most sure to love it. I absolutely adored this book. Violet’s character was well-developed and the story flowed with ease. I really enjoyed seeing the highly pompous Victorian era from the eyes of someone who handles death from planning luxurious funerals to giving a loved-one guidance in a time of grief. The death customs of this era are so fascinating to me and I really enjoyed getting a more in-depth look at a somewhat morbid topic. Trent does a fabulous job with her historical research and makes the reader eager to learn more.

There were a couple of times where I was a little confused because there was a lot of going back and forth between characters and countries. A lot of this story took place in England, but for some reason a lot of the Civil War that was going on in America at that time period was detailed in this story. The way the author set that up made a lot of sense, it was just a lot of back and forth at one time and it made for some confusing moments. Other than this, I can’t really pinpoint anything else that irritated me with this novel. Overall, this tale was a great read that encourages the reader to learn more about a topic not normally written about.

I have heard things about Christine Trent’s novels and never had the chance to pick one up until now. I most definitely will be checking out her other stories. I appreciate the research and the dedication that oozes from every page. You can tell that this author put everything into this book and it makes me appreciate it so much more. I am really hoping that this is the beginning of a new series, but I’m not sure if the author has plans to make it one. If you enjoy a historical novel with a hint of mystery and like to learn something new, I highly encourage you to pick this one up immediately.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  Lady of Ashes
Author:  Christine Trent
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  February 26, 2013
Pages:  420
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

2 thoughts on “Review: Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent

  1. I have to agree that it was a little confusing while reading because the story jumps around between different things going on, but it certainly all comes together at the end – for which I was glad. I have read all of Trent's books so far and each keeps getting better and better. The Queen's Dollmaker holds a special place in my heart though.


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