Title: These Lost and Broken Things
Author: Helen Fields
Publisher: Wailing Banshee
Date of publication: 11 May 2020
Genre: historical fiction
Number of pages: 295
How dangerous is a woman with nothing left to lose?
The year is 1905. London is a playground for the rich and a death trap for the poor. When Sofia Logan’s husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her penniless with two young children, she knows she will do anything to keep them from the workhouse. But can she bring herself to murder? Even if she has done it before…
Emmet Vinsant, wealthy industrialist, offers Sofia a job in one of his gaming houses. He knows more about Sofia’s past than he has revealed. Brought up as part of a travelling fair, she’s an expert at counting cards and spotting cheats, and Vinsant puts her talents to good use. His demands on her grow until she finds herself with blood on her hands.
Set against the backdrop of the Suffragette protests, with industry changing the face of the city but disease still rampant, and poverty the greatest threat of all, every decision you make is life or death. Either yours or someone else’s. Read best-selling crime writer Helen Fields’ first explosive historical thriller.
Some things scare me. Mosquitoes, stupid and reckless drivers, unexpected things springing up at me. And historical fiction. My knowledge of history is lacking, and my interest varies depending on the period the authors focus on. This is why I stare at the genre with a mix of fascination and trepidation.
I would like to tell you my picking up These Lost and Broken Things has everything to do with me mustering the courage to dive into the unknown, but I would be lying. The truth is I can’t resist a book written by Helen Fields. I trust her with my heart, imagination, and sanity. Her crime fiction novels are among the staples of my collection. When I heard about her exploring historical fiction, I did not hesitate. If someone is able to make me enjoy a jump to the past without making me feel like an idiot because I don’t ‘get’ the atmosphere and codes of the time, it’s her.
That’s how I met Sofia. Yes, when I spotted the date on the very first page – 1891 – I shivered. But then something strange happened. Through a character’s breaths and actions, I was transported to another time, just as if I’d stepped out of the TARDIS. I saw this first chapter, set in the final years of Queen Victoria’s reign, and felt relief. I have studied and enjoyed this part of history. So I felt more confident when I met Sofia again in 1905, this time under Edwardian ruling. The transition to my 21st century life to this harsh reality was seamless. Helen Fields recreated a world with detailed descriptions that allowed me to breathe the stale air of poor London neighboroods and be in awe of the ritzy parts of town. I felt the unfairness of social classes, the cold of the night, and the dangers of life.
When Sofia’s husband suddenly passes away, she must leave her duties of housewife behind and get a job to keep a roof over her two small children’s heads. Here comes Emmet Vinsant, Sofia’s late husband’s boss, with an offer she can’t turn down. Sofia has a knack for card games. It led her to bad situations when she was younger, but her abilities can now help her get enough money to survive… I knew it wouldn’t turn well and soon enough, Sofia’s fight for survival turned deadlier. Sofia discovers she has more resources that she thought. I didn’t always agree with her choices, but I couldn’t help admire her resilience in a world I would probably not have survived myself!
Blood and dangerous missions against a backdrop of poverty, illness, industrialization, and the suffragette protests kept me reading long after bedtime. Helen Fields brought history alive with a thrilling and compelling read from which I learned. These Lost and Broken Things is a stunning historical novel that doesn’t flood you with information. It gives all you need to connect to the characters, to make to part of the events, and to take your mind off everything else around you with an engaging plot.
Warning: animal cruelty / suffering in the first chapters.
You can get your copy here
I would like to thank Kelly Lacey from Love Books Group for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The cover in this post is the cover of the book I received. In the meantime, it was changed and now you can find the book with this look!
n international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. Her next book, the sixth in the series, ‘Perfect Kill’ is due out on 6 February 2020. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’. Her previous audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her first historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things’ comes out in May 2020. A further standalone thriller published by HarperColllins will come soon. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children. Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information or at www.helenfields.co.uk.