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Mortal Arts

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Mortal Arts (2013) Anna Lee Huber

Set in Scotland in 1930.

Alana and her sister and family are setting up in Edinburgh, because Alana is pregnant again, and the local doctor is a quack, and they want her to have access to better care.

Their journey–slow as it is with Alana’s carriage sickness–is interrupted with a summons from Philip’s aunt, to come to the house of her daughter’s fiancee–a family who were neighbor’s of Kiera and Alana’s when they were growing up.

“He’s acting in his brother’s stead.”

Philip nodded. “Yes, but that’s not the same as his holding the title outright.”

“And Lady Hollingsworth would certainly see the difference,” Alana pointed out with a wry twist to her lips. “I can’t imagine her being happy with such a circumstance when her daughter could be made a baroness instead.”

Neither of us argued with such an assertion, for we both knew it to be true. Lady Hollingsworth was nothing if not calculating. She had likely agreed to the betrothal thinking she could convince her future son-in-law to petition for the title.

Unfortunately, circumstances are far worse than expected, and Kiera becomes involved in another mystery, including the disappearance of a young woman.

The heart of this story however is the trauma of battle fatigue and the treatment of patient in insane asylums.

I knew what lunatic asylums were like. Black holes of filth and degradation where the unfortunates were, at the very best, drugged and left to rot, but more likely tortured until they turned into the very beasts they were alleged to be. Sir Anthony had taken me to tour one about a year into our marriage, dangling the threat of incarceration when my cooperation in sketching his dissections had wavered.

Which made me appreciate the references to Goya.

I stared unseeing at the Goya tapestry, my mind conjuring the soft gray eyes of William Dalmay shadowed with the pain that had seemed ever present in his gaze. Even when he laughed it had been there in the tight lines at the corners of his eyes.

Because the story is very much about how war harms people minds–and how the lunatic asylums and medical treatments of the time destroyed them completely.

But it’s not all completely dark.

Reminding myself to be grateful for the gifts I had been given instead of wasting my time longing for the things I couldn’t change.

Another good escape and enjoyable re-read.
Rating: 8/10

Publisher: Berkley

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Mystery, Re-Read, Romance     Comments (0)    



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