Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Review: Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell (Quaker Midwife Mysteries #1)



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Solid mystery, interesting main character, good use of period detail
Cons: A few niggles, but nothing major
The Bottom Line:
Midwife meets murder
In this historic setting
New series starts well




Delivers Fun Series Debut

I love American history, and I keep saying I want to read more historical mysteries.  So when Edith Maxwell, an author I already know I like, started writing a new historical series, starting to read it was a no brainer for me.  Delivering the Truth takes us to Massachusetts in 1888, and you’ll get lost in that world.

Our guide for this trip is Rose Carroll, a Quaker midwife.  She works in the small town of Amesbury, a town that is usually peaceful.  However, that changes one night in early spring when a fire breaks out.  By the time it is put out, several of the carriage factories in town have burned to the ground, killing a few of the workers who were trapped inside.

As a midwife, Rose knows many of the people now out of work thanks to the fire, a fire that might be arson according to rumor.  Thanks to her relationships with many in town, Rose begins to gain some insight into the crime.  Then another tragedy strikes.  Can Rose figure out what is happening in her formerly peaceful town?

From the very first page we are transported to another place and time.  It helps tremendously that Rose and her fellow Quakers use “Thee” and “Thy” in their speech, which reminds us right away that this is not a contemporary novel.  It only took me a few pages to get used to this different speech pattern, however, and it was also an easy way to determine which of the characters was a Quaker and which wasn’t.

There are plenty of other details that bring everyday life in 1888 to life for us.  It really does make you appreciate all the modern things we tend to take for granted.  Yet these details never get in the way of the story.

The mystery started out well and continued to keep me turning pages until I reached the end.  I did have one niggle with how things unfolded, but it’s a minor issue overall.  I didn’t have things figured out when we reached the climax, but I liked the resolution.  In fact, the final scene was creative and a nice twist on what we would normally expect at the end of a cozy.  All the clues and red herrings were perfect to keep us guessing. 

I must admit I had a hard time keeping a few of the characters straight early in the book, but that quickly changed as I got into the story.  The characters grew into well-developed people I came to care for, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to them next.  Fans of John Greenleaf Whittier will enjoy seeing him in this book, too.  I must admit I’m not familiar with much beyond his name and his role in ending slavery, so it was nice to learn a bit more about him.

I’m also not super familiar with the Quaker faith.  Since Rose is a Quaker, we get to learn a bit more about it in this book.  It was never overdone, but adds a richness to her character.  It also appears to be setting up some conflicts for her in future books, and I’m curious how that will play out.

Delivering the Truth transports us back in time to another way of life and entertains us along the way.  Anyone looking for a good historical mystery will be glad they picked up this book.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

6 comments:

  1. This sounds good! I've really been wanting to read Edit Maxwell - her country store series in particular - and this one sounds really good. I like how different it sounds. I don't know of too many cozies that take place in the 1800s. I'll definitely have to check this out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep saying I need to read more historical mysteries, so this was a nice read for that reason. Plus, Edith is a great author, so it's worth reading any of her books.

      Delete
  2. Thanks so much, Mark! I'm delighted you liked the story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Thanks for your promotion of the review today.

      Delete
  3. I'm not familiar with the Quaker faith either. Would be interesting to learn more about it for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I feel a Quaker author would do a good job of representing it to us.

      Delete