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The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

This is an astonishingly good novel. Set in the summer of 1845 it brings together two real life events in New York’s early history – the formation of its first police department – and across the world the potato blight that forced many Irish to immigrate by the boatload, arriving in New York and forcing further strain on the groaning and lacking infrastructure.

Part murder-mystery, part love story, but certainly a historical novel that captures the sights, sound, smell and even the language of an earlier time; this novel follows the story of Timothy Wilde and his escapades in a city that even then never slept. After losing all his worldly possessions in a devastating fire his older brother secures him a job as one of the very first police officers. Previously a bartender, it is apparent that Tim has a great deal of aptitude for the job and he is soon investigating the grisly case of dead children brutally mutilated after their deaths – and he befriends and protects a young girl ‘Bird’ who has escaped a brothel after seeing the bloodied body of one of her friends. In the meantime, Tim is in love with Miss Mercy Underhill and he regularly seeks her company. She is a lovely young woman who spends much of her day doing charitable work – but she is also a young woman with secrets that will ultimately surprise Tim.

This is an engaging and delightful read that captures early New York through the eyes of one of its early police officers. Tim is a compelling and likeable character and this is a well-written novel that is definitely worth your time.

#bookreviews #historicalfiction

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