Posts Tagged ‘Victorian’

I am so excited to be able to share the cover of a remarkable book with you today, this has to be one of my highly anticipated reads this year and I’m sure once you see the cover and find out a little more about it you will see why and may be persuaded to check it out too!

A Pattern of Secrets EBOOK COVER FINAL

A Victorian mystery for children, A Pattern of Secrets, is Lindsay Littleson’s third novel and will be published by Cranachan Publishing on 16 April 2018. 



Can the secrets of the past save the future?

The worlds of rich and poor collide in this gripping Victorian adventure as Jim and Jessie unravel the past and its pattern of secrets…

Paisley 1876. 12-year-old Jim has escaped from the Poor House and now he must save his little brother from the same fate.

His only hope lies in a mysterious family heirloom—a Paisley-patterned shawl that has five guineas sewn into its hem—the price of freedom.

Now Jim must find the shawl and break into the big house to steal it back…

But the girl with the red hair is always watching…

You can pre-order a copy via the publisher today


The cover from the publisher’s perspective, Anne Glennie:

We really want our authors to love their covers and one of the advantages of being a small publisher is that we can work closely with our authors. From the beginning, Lindsay had been sending me wee pictures, colour ideas and fabric samples – so I started to build up a mental picture quite quickly. We had to have Paisley pattern fabric, including deep purple shades. As the book is a Victorian mystery, the cover needed to suggest this too – so a fancy Victorian font was in order. Then we needed our protagonists, Jessie and Jim and, although the books are historical, we want them to be just as attractive to our readers – so that means no period costumes; silhouettes were perfect for this cover! Then it was simply a case of adding some final touches to hint at the sewing/fabric theming. Luckily, Lindsay loved all of the cover versions I sent her – the hardest job for us was choosing the final one!


The cover from the author’s perspective, Lindsay Littleson:

If I had talent in book cover design, I would have designed this cover for A Pattern of Secrets, so thank you, Anne Glennie of Cranachan Books!

During the last year I have bombarded poor Anne with photographs of random items in bright pink, red and purple Paisley patterns. The famous pattern is such an integral part of my story that I was very keen for it to be on the cover in some way, but had no clear idea of how that could be achieved.

Thankfully, Anne is multi-talented, and when she sent me the first cover ideas I was absolutely thrilled by how she’d managed to include Paisley pattern without making the cover look too busy.  The glowing colours are really striking against the black background and the ornate Victorian title font is gorgeous in gold. The little golden thimble and reels of thread give further hints that this is a story set in Paisley’s rich textile past.

Anne produced several stunning covers, some with a single silhouette, but we both decided that having the boy and girl silhouettes on the front cover was vital, as the story is told from the perspective of both children; Jessie, the feisty daughter of a wealthy Paisley shawl manufacturer, and Jim, a homeless boy on a desperate quest to save his family. Their stories are equally important, two separate strands that weave together as Jessie joins Jim in a frantic race against time to solve the mystery of the missing heirloom before his mother and siblings are torn apart.

With such a gorgeous cover, who wouldn’t want this novel on their bookshelf?

About the Author:

Lindsay Littleson has four grown-up (ish) children and lives near Glasgow. A full-time primary teacher, she began writing for children in 2014 and won the Kelpies Prize for her first children’s novel The Mixed Up Summer of Lily McLean. The sequel, The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean, is also published by Floris Books. In 2015 her WW1 novel Shell Hole was shortlisted for the Dundee Great War Children’s Book Prize and she enjoyed engaging in research so much that she was inspired to write another historical novel, A Pattern of Secrets, this time focusing on her local area.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.lindsaylittleson.co.uk
Twitter: @ljlittleson



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Published: 1 June 2017



An irresistible mystery set in 1890s Edinburgh, Kaite Welsh’s THE WAGES OF SIN features a female medical student-turned-detective, and will thrill fans of Sarah Waters and Antonia Hodgson.

Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and society. As part of the University of Edinburgh’s first intake of female medical students, in 1892, Sarah comes up against resistance from lecturers, her male contemporaries, and – perhaps worst of all – her fellow women, who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman…

When one of Sarah’s patients turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh’s dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers – and a confrontation with her own past.


My Thoughts & Review:

“The Wages of Sin” is a wonderfully atmospheric fictional thriller, it is steeped in fantastically rich detail that portrays life in the late 1800s as both interesting as well as fraught with danger.

Society deemed that women in this era should know their place, that being in the home raising families, tending to the needs of their husbands or generally being gentile and “ladylike”, and most definitely not wielding scalpels and training to become surgeons at Edinburgh University.  Society clearly never encountered Sarah Gilchrist and her 12 like minded classmates it would seem.
Having disgraced her family in  London, Sarah is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Edinburgh, and it is agreed that she can attend her studies at the university so long as she is ferried back and forth by a driver and kept from any temptations or situations that might besmirch the good family name any further.

The adversity and oppression faced by women in this era is demonstrated well by the author, attitudes of those around Sarah blatantly showing horror at her chosen career path, her fellow students keen to ridicule each other and the rivalry between both male and female students rife.  Indeed, there seems to be more rivalry between the female students who seem more eager to bring each other down than to support and hold one another up.

Through her work at the local Infirmary, Sarah comes into contact with those less fortunate, the poor and destitute pouring in through the doors in search of medical help as well as the women from the surrounding brothels.  Unfortunately for Sarah, one of these women seeks assistance that cannot be given, abortions being illegal at the time.  From here Sarah embarks on a journey of self destruction, believing that something is amiss and nefarious practises surround her.  Her detective skills might be somewhat lacking but her heart is in the right place, she is determined to find out the truth behind the death of a patient, even if it means casting accusations wildly.

This is a very well thought out and well researched book, the topic of female emancipation making for interesting reading.  The descriptiveness of characters and settings in this mean that readers can conjure vivid images in their heads of the squalor of the slums, the opulence of Society and the bitter chill of a Scottish winter.
Sarah is a character that is well crafted, initially a broken and seemingly fragile creature, her studies give her hope and something to work towards, she develops well but still retains some vulnerabilities and naivety.

Kaite Welsh has crafted a clever tale of corruption, wickedness and discrimination that seeps into all tiers of Victorian society.

You can buy a copy of “The Wages of Sin” via:

The Book Depository

My thanks to Headline and Tinder Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.



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