Another historical fiction review, I hear you say. I know. There has certainly been a trend as of late. But like them all, this one is certainly worth checking out (Pssst. it has an assassin!).
These Lost & Broken Things by Helen Fields
Girl. Mother. Assassin.
How dangerous is a woman with nothing left to lose?
The year is 1905. London is a playground for the rich and a death trap for the poor. When Sofia Logan’s husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her penniless with two young children, she knows she will do anything to keep them from the workhouse. But can she bring herself to murder? Even if she has done it before…
Emmet Vinsant, wealthy industrialist, offers Sofia a job in one of his gaming houses. He knows more about Sofia’s past than he has revealed. Brought up as part of a travelling fair, she’s an expert at counting cards and spotting cheats, and Vinsant puts her talents to good use. His demands on her grow until she finds herself with blood on her hands.
Set against the backdrop of the Suffragette protests, with industry changing the face of the city but disease still rampant, and poverty the greatest threat of all, every decision you make is life or death. Either yours or someone else’s. Read best-selling crime writer Helen Fields’ first explosive historical thriller.
This is not what I expected from a piece of historical fiction. Sofia goes against any other female protagonist I’ve come across. She is not a likeable person. She is a gambling addict. She is not a very good mother. Yes, she is proud an independent but did she do what she did because she had to, or did she simply have a lust for the dark side? I’m more inclined to believe the latter.
Still, it is the fact that Sofia is so unlikable that provides the reader with a highly interesting story. However, I have to admit that her shift from grieving widow to murderer in a matter of months does shift to the side of unbelievable. But why was it unbelievable to me? Because it wasn’t realistic or because we don’t like to think of women like this?
These Lost & Broken Things had me continually thinking. The opening scenes where Sofia has to beg for money for a doctor showed me the lack of care for the working class and their health, plus the gap between rich and poor. Isn’t that something still happening today with construction workers the first to be sent back to work in a pandemic? I also enjoyed how the parallel story of the suffragette movement further exemplifies how women were controlled by men.
Overall, this was not what I was expecting. But a nice surprise is always good from time to time.
Pick up your copy of Those Lost and Broken Things here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.