Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

I had previously read Jane Steele by this same author, and found myself in love with her retelling of Jane Eyre. The characters, the historical setting, and the plot had been so wonderfully written that I could not stop reading the novel. It’s still one of my favorite historical fiction/retelling-of-a-classic books. I was excited to hear that she also has a historical mystery line of novels, so I’ve been patiently waiting to get my hands on it and start reading. Now that I have read it, all I can say is …. here is my review:

In 1845, New York City forms its first police force. In the same year, the great potato famine hits Ireland. No one could have predicted that these two events would togeether change New York City forever.

Timoty Wilde is a bartender whose only goal in life is to save enough money to ask for the hand of Mercy Underhill in marriage. However, his dreams are dashed away when a devastating fire destroys his home, his bar, and his face. Timothy’s brother, Valentine, comes to his aid, offering him a job in the newly minted NYPD. Even though accepting help from his brother is the last thing he wants to do, Timothy knows he has no other prospects and so, must take the job. Too bad his place on the police force requires him to work in the Sixth Ward, the most notorious slum.

One night, while returning home from his rounds, a tiny girl bumps into Timothy… a girl covered in blood. although he knows he should take her to the House of Refuge, he can’t bring himself to just abandon her. Instead, he brings her to his home, and asks her what happened. The girl tells him a wild story, claiming that many children just like her are dead and buried deep in a forest. Timothy doesn’t know if he should believe her or not, but as the truth unfolds, he finds himself part of a battle that nearly costs him his own life.

As usual, the author has done a fantastic job in creating a perfect historical setting. With the vocabulary and the cultural depictions, New York City in 1845 really came to life. I loved how there was so much depth with each character; there were good and bad things in all of them, which just made it so much easier to relate to their struggles. I liked the plot and the way the story had side events that occurred while sticking to the main murder mystery. However, I wasn’t as pleased with the ending. I felt a tad bit disappointed with the identity of the killer. I was expecting something a bit more … evil and twisted? Instead, it just came off as sad. While the author ensured that every aspect had been tied in, it just felt a bit of a let-down considering how wound up I was by all of the other intricacies and details. Overall, though, I must say that this novel was definitely a good read and I enjoy reading this author’s work. Her grasp of historical facts and her ability to weave them into a story is remarkable and I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good historical fiction murder!

Leave a Reply