Saturday 2 September 2017

Hist Fic Saturday...Crimson and Bone by Marina Fiorato

On Hist Fic Saturday let's go back in time...

To Victorian England and Italy in this Gothic Novel of Love and Obsession

May 2017

First off, the book's cover drew me in, the beguiling figure of the woman promised a dark and rather mysterious tale and I'm pleased to say that the story lived up to my expectations.

The dark and gloomy Victorian underworld sits very comfortably with this story of obsession and possession which starts on Waterloo Bridge in London in 1853 and the saving of penniless prostitute, Annie Stride, as she stands with her arms outstretched about to leap off the bridge. The man who saves her from her untimely death is none other than proclaimed artist, Francis Maybrick Gill who inspired by Annie endeavours to educate her, whilst at the same time uses her as his muse and inspiration for a series of paintings.

The lure of obsession and the darkening grip of power fill this novel from the very beginning. At first it's a case of rejoicing as Annie is saved from harm but yet, her puzzling relationship with Maybrick hints that there is is perhaps more to this man than we, at first, imagine. Annie's entry into society as she  mingles with the artists and models of the pre-Raphaelite era is done with a fine eye for detail. I liked to see Annie attending soirees at the Royal Academy and exchanging gossip, with that other pre-Raphaelite muse, Lizzie Siddal.

In Crimson and Bone the author has combined classic Gothic gloom with the Victorian art world, and as it gets darker and darker, the story swaps effortlessly between London and Italy. Combining a dark and menacing story with the added excitement of never really knowing what's going to happen next made this a really fascinating story to follow.

I've read this author's work before and I am always excited by her stories, She writes historical fiction really well, controlling the narrative with a sure hand, so that there's always a palpable sense of authenticity. I think that this is her darkest story to date, and whilst there will be the inevitable comparison with that other classic Victorian Gothic, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, I think that Crimson and Bone comes out very favourably against the comparison.

If you like dark and brooding Victorian melodrama, with a more than a hint of menace, and a generous dose of fallen woman, then Crimson and Bone ticks all those boxes !

More about the Author can be found here

My thanks to Bookbridgr and the publishers Hodder&Stoughton who provided my copy

 of Crimson and Bone to read and review


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