This year I’m fairly behind on my reading challenge. Not that I’m not reading, but thanks to some lifestyle changes there’s been less time to enjoy a book. And that’s why it’s so important to make sure the books I do pick up and spend time immersing myself into are enjoyable. Does “The Gilded Shroud” make the cut?
You all know I love historical fiction. What could be better than learning about history while following interesting characters on their adventures? So, when Sapere Books suggested they send me “The Gilded Shroud” by Elizabeth Bailey. I could only say yes and start turning the pages.
The story is set in 1789 in London in the home of the Polbrook family. Emily Fanshawe, Marchioness of Polbrook is found strangled in her bedchamber and suspicion immediately falls on those residing in the grand house in Hanover Square, especially her husband, who disappeared on the night of the murder.
Ottilia Draycott, the new lady’s companion to Sybilla, Dowager Marchioness, soon finds herself assisting the younger son, Lord Francis Fanshawe in his investigations. They race against time to clear the family name and find the killer.
Historical Fiction as I’m used to?
Actually, no. Up till now, every time I read a historical fiction novel, it was packed chock-full of historical facts that served as a background. The “Gilded Shroud” doesn’t treat you to an abundance of facts. It does something else though.
While the reader may expect historical background in terms of events of the period, they are served a decent look into the lives of Regency women instead. The story is focused around Ottilia, who is unlike other women of her time. Her character is by far the most enjoyable part of the novel. She’s strong-headed, knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to manipulate people around her to achieve her goals. Ottilia is fully aware of restrictions women in her position face, but her knowledge of people allows her to go places no woman can go, as well as send “her betters” on an errand. It’s difficult to imagine women like Ottilia being resigned to a role as a lady’s companion if unmarried as they would be the glass ceiling breaking women of today. But maybe in a way they were.
A Book Worth Picking Up?
“The Gilded Shroud” is easy to read. Even if you’re not a historical fiction fan. With the summer in full swing, it’s a good book to take to the park or pack for your next holiday. An easy read with a wilfull heroine will definitely keep you turning the pages.
If you don’t trust me, read the reviews of some other bloggers too.