Adult Fiction book review

The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence

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The Lost Boys of London will be published April 28, 2020 from Red Puddle Print.

About the Book

In the twilight years of Henry VIII’s reign, alchemist’s daughter Bianca Goddard uses her skills to aid the living, and help seek justice for the dead…

While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London’s sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide–like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twisted around the child’s neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Fisk, the impish little son of Bianca’s acquaintance, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim…

There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, dark-stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. But the expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever…

Librarian Laura’s Review of The Lost Boys of London

The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence is the 5th and final installment to the Bianca Goddard Mysteries series which are set in 1545 London. I enjoyed this novel as a standalone, however. So, if you just like a good historical mystery, you will enjoy this one. Mary does a fabulous job of filling in bits of backstory so that readers do not feel like they are coming in on the 5th book of a series.

Bianca Goddard is a young alchemist’s daughter who spends her days in her room of Medicinals and Physickes creating tinctures of medications to sell with the help of her good friend and street-seller, Meddybumps. Bianca’s husband John is fighting the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, and she yearns for the day she might see him again. Her tiger cat, Hobs, keeps her company in her humble home and shop. She visits her friend Cammy at the local pub where she works, hoping to hear tell of John and his fellow soldiers on the front lines. Cammy yearns for a soldier to come home, as well, so the two women commiserate in their loneliness together, finding comfort in their friendship. Sprinkled in with Bianca’s story is a side story where readers follow John through some rather tumultuous times, all the while rooting for him to make it home to Bianca.

Once a poor street urchin herself, Bianca has a special place in her heart for the children on the streets of London, whose unfortunate lots in life force them to try to steal food in order to survive. One such boy, Fisk, who has helped Bianca in the past has recently gone missing. In light of the recent developments, namely two young boys found a week apart hanging from a church dripstone, a rosary twisted around their neck. Is the church involved in such a sinister plot, or is someone merely trying to point fingers at the clergy, or a certain priest.

Bianca fears for Fisk’s safe return, praying he won’t be the next victim of the cold, calculated murderer right under their nose. After teaming up with her friend Constable Patch to question many people about the murders, Bianca finally has a piece of evidence that may prove useful – a sweet-smelling cloth with a dark, foreign stain she has never seen or smelled the likes of before. If Bianca can perhaps uncover the mysterious nature of the cloth in time, she may be able to find and save Fisk. If she is too late, however, another poor young boy could be lost forever.

As I mentioned, this is the final installment in a 5 book series, but I enjoyed it as a stand-alone historically based mystery. Mary’s writing style is both intriguing and intellectual, but it does not read like a historical text. She has a way with words, creating humor for readers in the banter between characters. She also has a knack for setting the mood, leaving readers wanting to find out more and uncover the mystery right alongside the plucky heroine Bianca. Because the text is written to match the time period, the glossary of terms in the back is rather helpful. I rather enjoyed learning some old terms (new to me) from Tudor London.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Mary Lawrence is the author of the Bianca Goddard Mysteries. Set in Tudor London in the final years of Henry VIII’s reign, Book I, THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER, released in April, 2015 and was named by Suspense Magazine a “best historical mystery” in 2015. Book 2, DEATH of an ALCHEMIST released in 2016 and Book 3, DEATH AT ST. VEDAST released in January, 2017. THE ALCHEMIST OF LOST SOULS (May 2020), won a second “Best Of 2019” by Suspense Magazine. THE LOST BOYS OF LONDON releases May 2020 from Kensington Books.

Mary grew up in Indiana and moved to Maine after completing a degree in cytotechnology. She has worked in hospitals and labs and written indexes for several small publishers. Recently she started a berry farm in southern Maine with her husband. She is an avid reader of historical fiction and nonfiction and concentrates on Tudor/Elizabethan history. Her articles have appeared in several publications most notably, The Daily Beast. Visit her at http://www.marylawrencebooks.com.

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