Book of Fires
4 out of 5
For the most part, historical fiction takes me a bit longer to get into. There is always something that I feel is lost in the translation, but Book of Fires was different. Agnes Trussel, the main character had me from the beginning. A resourceful, seventeen year old that has been assaulted on their family farm and now must leave Sussex and find a way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. The year is 1752 and if a woman is pregnant out of wedlock, she is a blight on society and just very likely will be put to death for her misdeeds, whether it was her "fault" or not.
Fortune falls on Agnes when she finds her neighbor, an unlikeable recluse, dead and seeing her gold coins on the mantel Agnes sees her opportunity to leave her family and try to find her way to London and a new life. But being a rather sheltered girl, London and it intrigue, is almost too much for Anges, that is until she is fortunate in finding employment with John Blacklock, a firework maker. Being a female firework assistant is unheard of at this particular time, but Mr. Blacklock sees something in her.
As Agnes tries to hid her pregnancy and keep her job, she sets off on another plan, one to trap the unsuspecting Mr. Soul's as a father for her child, anything to be able to keep the life that she has found and a job that she has grown to love.
With this debut novel, Ms. Borodale is compared to Geraldine Brooks and though that is a very tall order, I think that she does come very close. Her characters are engaging and the storyline is both historically fascinating and engaging. I look forward to future endeavors from this very interesting author.