I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
During World War I, an English Bishop, Anthony Shacklock is buried near the field hospital in France where he helped to comfort soldiers. The beloved Bishop is soon exhumed to be brought back home to England. However, when the Bishop is dug up another body is found with him. The bones of a young woman remain a mystery through present day. Professor Waller has made finding out the identity of the young women his life’s work; however, he gives most of the actual research work to archivist Jess Morris who must toil away in dark libraries and go chasing leads all over England on weekends. Doing all of Waller’s work has placed a strain on Jess’ husband and children. Just when Jess seems to find a significant and exciting lead on her mystery woman, she begins to make some risky decisions with her personal life.
This was a very intriguing historical mystery. I was thrown into the story from the very beginning when the unexpected bones were found. First of all, I love dual-time stories and this story went back and forth between the present and 1899-1918. I also like giving a story to those who were forgotten and nameless, even though this story is completely fictional it gives a small taste of the work that researchers do in order to solve mysteries of the past. This story did have a bit of a slow start for me, while I do find research interesting; there was perhaps a bit too much in the beginning. However, as the clues began to come forward and we got a look back into Shacklock’s time period, the story became better paced. There was definitely a lot going on with Bishop Shacklock and the story of his time in Greece and in the French Hospital were very involved and intriguing. The conditions of the field hospital were particularly well done and I could imagine it very well. Jess’ story slightly mirrored what the Bishop was going through, however some of her issues paled in comparison to the Bishop and the mystery woman. When the identity of the mystery woman is revealed, I felt relief of her identity and sadness over her story. Overall, an absorbing historical mystery and a wonderful look into historical research.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.