Book Review of Bristol House by Beverly Swerling by Teri Harman, @TeriHarman
In modern-day London, architectural historian and recovering alcoholic Annie Kendall hopes to turn her life around and restart her career by locating several long-missing pieces of ancient Judaica. Geoff Harris, an investigative reporter, is soon drawn into her quest, both by romantic interest and suspicions about the head of the Shalom Foundation, the organization sponsoring her work. He’s also a dead ringer for the ghost of a monk Annie believes she has seen at the flat she is subletting in Bristol House.
In 1535, Tudor London is a very different city, one in which monks are being executed by Henry VIII and Jews are banished. In this treacherous environment of religious persecution, Dom Justin, a Carthusian monk, and a goldsmith known as the Jew of Holborn must navigate a shadowy world of intrigue involving Thomas Cromwell, Jewish treasure, and sexual secrets. Their struggles shed light on the mysteries Annie and Geoff aim to puzzle out—at their own peril.
This riveting dual-period narrative seamlessly blends a haunting supernatural thriller with vivid historical fiction. Beverly Swerling, widely acclaimed for her City of Dreams series, delivers a bewitching and epic story of a historian and a monk, half a millennium apart, whose destinies are on a collision course.
When I got the offer to review this book, I could not pass it up. The premise is so intriguing, especially if, like me, you can’t get enough of historical fiction about England. Add a supernatural twist and I’m sold!
Author Beverly Swirling is obviously a master of her craft. This is the first of her books I’ve read, but I’ll definitely be picking up more. The historical elements in this book are so captivating. Some historical novels get bogged down in details, but this one soars.
I also enjoyed the characters – so vivid and well developed. Annie’s back story is tragic and her search for redemption, heart warming. The romance between her and Geoff is sweet and believable, with just the right amount of steam. I loved that the narrative moved between present and past, between Annie and the ghost living in her house. And, of course, the ‘collision-course’ mystery is intelligent, thrilling and hard to put down.
Content note: Occasional use of foul language, including a few F-words. Some sexuality, mildly descriptive.
Beverly will be here on Monday, April 8th, with a fascinating guest post with insights into the writing of Bristol House.
The generous people at Viking have offered my readers a chance to WIN a copy of BRISTOL HOUSE by Beverly Swerling. (US addresses only and no PO Boxes please)
NOW CLOSED! Winner is Heather Wyatt!
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