Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson #BookReview

About this book…

Blood & Sugar is the thrilling debut historical crime novel from Laura Shepherd-Robinson.

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark. 

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend’s investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.

And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford . . .

My review…

My love of historical fiction has gone to new levels after reading Blood and Sugar! It’s a sumptuous story that takes you on a breathtaking journey to solve a heinous crime. The moral depths of despair are laid bare so that the images conjured up by the narrative really do evoke a plethora of emotional responses.

Deptford isn’t a place I’d ever given much thought to before but this is the second book I’ve read in as many months that used the history of its shipbuilding and maritime industrial development in a storyline and I have to admit to being incredibly intrigued by it! The opening pages of Blood and Sugar have an horrific death described to the reader and I did wonder what on earth I was letting myself in for but then entered Captain Harry Corsham. I was immediately taken by his manner and intrigued by his home life which was only hinted at through glimpses into his household but seemed somehow to show more by telling little! A weird description I know but you will understand if you read it! Harry is visited by the sister of an old friend from university and is devastated to learn that his friend has gone missing. Against his better judgement but through the memories of their past friendship, he decides to investigate his disappearance. Tad Archer is a well know political activist fighting for the abolition of slavery and has let it be known that he has information that could do unprecedented damage to the slave trade. So has his disappearance been orchestrated by his enemies and if so who are they and what secret are they trying to hide? Harry follows in his friends footsteps meeting a cast of dodgy characters as he searches for his friend and ultimately the truth about his disappearance.

I have to admit to not knowing an awful lot about this period of history especially the abolition movement but this book brought it to life in a visually pleasing way in order to capture my interest. And I was hooked on the narrative as soon as I started reading. In fact, I felt like Doctor Who’s assistants when they step out of the Tardis for that first time into a noisy and colourful new world, full of wonder and excitement tinged with a fear of what they will find and how it will affect them personally. For me, it was a refreshing change to follow a crime being investigated in a time before the professional police force came into existence and I loved the characteristics of the central character Harry, as he diligently worked his way through the clues left for him to follow.

This is a fascinating and beautifully written book that will stay with me for a long time. It’s a rich, vibrantly chronicled tapestry of life and I adored it!

Meet the author…

Laura Shepherd-Robinson was born in Bristol in 1976. She has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. Laura worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian. Blood & Sugar is her first novel.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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