Could Daughters of Night be the book that finally turns me into an 18th-century stan?
Thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC copy of Daughters of Night.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Publication Date: 28 Jan 2021
‘London, 1782, Caro Corsham finds a woman mortally wounded in the bowers of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
When the constables discover that the deceased woman was a high-society lady of the night, they stop searching for her killer – and it’s up to Caro to seek justice.
But the hidden corners of Georgian society are filled with artifice, deception and secrets, and finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous, than she can know …’ – Goodreads
Oh my goooooodness! Forgive me if my thoughts are a bit scattered – I finished this book at 1am last night after devouring it in one sitting. It. was. Absolutely. Amazing. If you’re looking for a novel that combines Harlots with The Alienist, Daughters of Night is the perfect next read for you.
Despite these similarities, it stands on its own as an incredible read.
Daughters of Night follows a character familiar from Shepherd-Robinson’s debut, Blood and Sugar. I can say from experience that it is absolutely not detrimental to your read if you have not read the prequel. Caro is a fascinating character – her life is dictated by the men around her, but she does not let this stop her from searching for her friend’s murderer. I really admired her spirit!
Caro is not the only great character in this novel – I adored reading about the lives of Peregrine Child the Thief-Taker, Kitty Carefree the 10 Guinea prostitute and Pamela the maid-servant. The novel’s biggest strength really lies in that each character is fleshed out fully. For example, although Pamela could have been written as an innocent trying to earn a living, Shepherd-Robinson gives her a devious side as well. It is this sort of detail that really brings the novel to life.
I’ll admit that to my mind, the 18th century is a little overlooked. Between the fantastical adventure stories of the Medieval period, to Shakespeare’s work in the 16th and 17th centuries, to the widely loved Victorian era, it’s easy to see why. But Shepherd-Robinson absolutely excels at bringing the period to life. No word is wasted and the description exudes Georgian London in its very essence. There are so many tidbits of information (irrelevant to the plot, but essential to building the scene) that allow for a fully immersive read. It is obvious that Shepherd-Robinson put a lot of research into bringing to life 18th century London.
Towards the end, I began thinking that it was getting a little predictable. I had already guessed the murderer and wasn’t so shocked when I was proven right. But! I was quickly proven wrong when another twist was provided. Daughters of Night really is an engaging read – I can’t wait to read Blood and Sugar now.
If you’re looking for your next Historical Fiction read, check out my list of upcoming releases.