Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fire at Midnight by Lisa Marie Wilkinson

Saint Mary's of Bethlehem Hospital ('Bedlam'), London, England, 1703.

"I am sane."
The sound of her own voice anchored her.

Title: Fire at Midnight
Author: Lisa Marie Wilkinson
ISBN: 9781933836546
Publisher: Medallion Press/2009
Pages: 360

Rachel Penrose is has been sent to a mental asylum by her Uncle Victor who wants to inherit her family fortune. He has her infant brother James, in his custody. He intends them both dead. Victor is involved in all sorts of criminal activities and has spread rumours that Rachel is the informer about Sebastien Falconer's smuggling/privateer activities.

A very ill Rachel somehow ecapes Bedlam only to end up in the carriage of Falconer. Sebastien is after Rachel's blood, unknowing that it is she who is in his care. Sebastien's twin brother, Jacques Falconer, a custom officer, is intent on bringing his brother to justice. He wants him hanged for all his unlawful activities.

Rachel escapes from Sebastien and everyone's lives get connected to each other in one way or the other. With distrust and double crossing from all sides, it becomes difficult to know who is good and who is evil. Rachel has to save her brother, James and also to save her love too, who is too proud to save himself.

The plot is good, relationship between various characters is interesting, Sebastien, his house keeper Mrs. Faraday, his brother Jacques Falconer, their mother Eleanor, Tarry Morgan, and his father Phillip Morgan. But it felt too long in the ending. At least to me. Falconer's capture and his trial/non-trial took up a lot of space. That could have been reduced. Still, it is an extremely readable novel and historical buffs will find it very interesting due to the England-France connection, as I did.

There is a reference of an inventer, Henry Winstanley, which kind of interested me to know more about him. Thanks Lisa Marie, for sending me this novel. I loved the cover very much. This book has got numerous awards too. Check it out here.