My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
On leave from the front, WWI nurse Bess Crawford, encounters a woman alone on a rainy night in London. After taking the young woman in, Bess quickly learns that not everything is as it seems and soon finds herself embroiled in a nasty case involving a missing child and a murder.
Slow to start and the mystery doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Nevertheless, Bess is a likable heroine and the historical detail is fascinating.
The mystery is the weakest aspect of the book as the victim does not seem the type that anyone would want to kill. Moreover, the solution ultimately comes out of left field with absolutely no foundation or foreshadowing that would allow the reader to figure out the rather complicated motive.
There is also very little character development and Bess gets herself into some exceedingly far-fetched situations. It would be lovely if she and Simon finally got their romance going – the hints at something between them need to start paying off soon.
Aside from Bess, Simon and the sexy Australian, none of the characters are particularly appealing and it is difficult to feel any real sympathy for the supposedly abused wife nor anger at her allegedly abusive spouse. It is also irritating that the most unlikable character did not turn out to be the killer!
The historical detail on life in France during the war is excellent and the Todd’s research is superb. One hears so much about the soldiers in the Trenches and very little about the suffering of the civilians, especially the orphaned children. The descriptions are both harsh and heartbreaking yet there is also a glimmer of hope at times.
All in all, an enjoyable listen despite my issues with the plot and Roslyn Landor’s narration is wonderful.