My Review of When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris
About the Author C.S. Harris
C.S. Harris is a historian who lives in New Orleans. Writing as Candice Proctor, she is the author of seven award winning historical romances. Under the name C.S. Graham, she authors contemporary thrillers with her husband, former intelligence officer Steven Harris. She has two daughters.
Description of When Maidens Mourn
Tales of King Arthur and the Lady of Shalott provide inspiration for this latest gripping installment in the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series when, just four days wed, the aristocratic investigator and his fiercely independent bride, Hero Jarvis, find themselves caught up in a twisted intrigue of ancient legends and a deadly family curse.
Regency England, August 1812: Sebastian’s plans to escape the heat of London for a honeymoon are shattered when the murdered body of Hero’s good friend, Gabrielle Tennyson, is discovered drifting in a battered boat at the site of a long-vanished castle known as Camlet Moat. A beautiful young antiquarian, Miss Tennyson had recently provoked an uproar with her controversial identification of the island as the location of Camelot. Missing and presumed also dead are Gabrielle’s two young cousins, nine-year-old George and three-year-old Alfred.
Still struggling to define the nature of their new marriage, Sebastian and Hero find themselves occasionally working at cross-purposes as their investigation leads from London’s medieval Inns of Court to its seedy back alleys, and from grand country homes to rural enclaves where ancient Celtic beliefs still hold sway. As he probes deeper, Sebastian also discovers dark secrets at the heart of the Tennyson family, and an enigmatic young French lieutenant with a dangerous, mysterious secret of his own.
Racing to unmask a ruthless killer and unravel the puzzle of the missing children, Sebastian and Hero soon find both their lives and their growing love for each other at risk as their investigation leads to Hero’s father, who is also Sebastian’s long-time nemesis… and to a tall, dark stranger who may hold the key to Sebastian’s own parentage.
My Thoughts about When Maidens Mourn
'When Maidens Mourn' is the seventh installment in the series. However, this is my first book I've read by C.S. Harris. The book cover immediately attracted me. It's beautiful isn't it with its obvious lure of 'The Lady of Shalott'.
Well, I am very pleasantly surprised by 'When Maidens Mourn'. Yes, the author spins a tale, a mystery really, based upon Alfred Tennyson's epic poem, 'The Lady of Shalott' peppered with Arthurian references that help build the suspense and provide ample allure to the plot.
C.S. Harris has definitely researched the life of Alfred Tennyson. She bases characters and settings on his life and accomplishments which if the reader pays close attention, will bring him or her to some very 'interesting' twists, turns, and some surprises to the mystery.
This is a well written story descriptive in tone and almost poetic in places with humorous dialogue and there's romance with the newly married couple. However, don't forget this is Regency England so no bodice ripping content thankfully just the appropriate glances and kisses and a bit more...
I cannot go into much detail about the mystery because the reader must pay attention to the historical and literary references in hopes of enjoying 'When Maidens Mourn' thoroughly. Just know that there is more than one murder, many suspects and a few red herrings along the way!
If I had one complaint it would be a pet peeve, really! As 'When Maidens Mourn' progresses, the author introduces so many new characters that it becomes a bit confusing as to who is a Lord, who is a Lady, who is related to whom, who is married to whom, who is happy, who is in love...oh you get the idea!
I was happy to read the Author's Note at the end where C.S. Harris provides necessary answers to her research on The Tennyson's and The Arthurian Legend.
If you would like to read an engrossing, funny, historical mystery with a different slant to it, then When Maidens Mourn might just be for you! I am hard to please and I read it in one sitting...smiling, laughing and pleasantly surprised.
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