Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars
A set of century-old diaries found in an attic draws an Irish couple into a tale of murder and madness, in this absorbing new suspense.
After forty years in the Irish army, Brian is looking forward to retiring and spending time with his wife—though he worries about adjusting to civilian life. While clearing the attic before they move house, he makes a discovery: three journals dating back to the early twentieth century.
One was written by Arthur, an ex-Connaught Ranger; another by Arthur’s wife, Edith, a colonel’s daughter; and the third by Henry, a British soldier and Arthur’s best friend.
Brian and his wife are soon engrossed in reading the diaries and following the intertwined stories of these three people from the past. But it soon becomes chillingly clear that these diaries contain more than the daily adventures of ordinary lives. Because one of the three is a killer . . .
Well, how much fun was this?
This is one of those that I continued to read, fascinated, while my breakfast cereal became soggy.
A dual timeline novel that begins approximately 1880 to 1924 and the other present day. The main POV is that of Brian, retiring after spending forty years in the Irish army. His wife is thrilled with the new digs they’ve planned for years and eagerly looking forward to retiring with her hubby. It’s when Brian tackles the attic of the home previously occupied by myriad military families that he discovers journals hidden in a covered chest that date back a century where the real mystery suspense begins.
Brian and Jean become engrossed in reading what must have been the separate diaries of Arthur and his wife Edith, and that of Henry, Arthur’s best friend. The journals, however, turn rather dark and Henry’s diary becomes shocking.
The journals take turns as the narrative progresses through the story of Arthur as an orphaned child and his eventual history with the Connaught Rangers. Edith has given up being the privileged child of an officer stationed in India at the Curragh Camp with all the privileges attendant to the British military of the time. Their union is marred by Arthur’s drinking encouraged by his army buddy Henry.
I loved the chapters with Arthur and Edith; Henry’s chapters turn grisly as he describes his exploits. The descriptions of the bases or camps are vivid with detail and include interesting tidbits of military life of the time. The characters are fully developed and evoke immersion into the storyline, creating a bond between both the current angst-filled Brian and the tragedy of Edith’s marriage.
So engrossing the laying out of the backstory of the individuals, it’s easy to be fully invested in them by the time the well-plotted and paced storyline plays out. I suspicioned Henry’s story early on, but the novel is so absorbing I had no problem burying myself in the pages in a race to the conclusion.
Gripping, it is indeed tantalizing and a particularly satisfying read. As with most journeys, the fun is not always in the destination—it’s the ride.
I previously read Charlie Mac back in May 2018 and enjoyed it. The author outdid herself this time–loved it. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bloodhound Books and the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. This is one that will make my suggested favorites list for #readingirelandmonth in March.
Genre: Historical Thrillers, Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Print Length: 348 pages
Publication Date: January 11, 2023
Source: Bloodhound Books and the author
The Author: Originally from Belfast, Maria McDonald lives in Kildare, with her husband Gerry.
Maria is an avid reader who loves to write but only indulged in her passion for writing fiction after retirement. Since then, her short stories and articles have been published in Woman’s Way and Ireland’s Own, as well as numerous anthologies; Intermissions, Grattan Street Press Melbourne; Same page anthology, University College Cork; Fragments of Time, Amber Publishers. Maria is a founder member of Ink Tank Writing Group, based in Newbridge library and contributed to their anthologies, Timeless in Kildare and Let Me Tell You Something.
©2023 V Williams