The Crimson Rooms
International best-sellingauthor, Katharine McMahon, who gained both critical and popular acclaim for TheAlchemist’s Daughter and The Rose of Sebastopol, is sure towin an even bigger following with the release of her new thrilling tale, TheCrimson Rooms.
Set in 1924 England in theaftermath of World War I, The Crimson Rooms tells theheart-wrenching story of Evelyn Gifford, a 30-year-old unmarried woman whodefied conventions to become one of the country’s first female lawyers. As aMagistrate in the UK herself, McMahon based her fictional heroine, EvelynGifford, on Carrie Morrison—a real and historic figure who was the first womanto be admitted to the British Law Society in 1920.
Evelyn lives in povertywith her mother, aunt and grandmother, haunted by the death of her youngerbrother James, who was killed in the war. She constantly struggles with herremaining family and society on a whole in order to establish herself in thechauvinistic world of the legal system. Late one night Evelyn answers her doorbell to find a young boy, thespitting image of her brother, and the boy’s mother, claiming that it wasEvelyn’s brother who fathered the child just before being killed in battle.Little does Evelyn know that her new young nephew and his strangely charismaticmother will be catalysts that awaken Evelyn’s long-stifled passions, changingher life forever.
The story that ensues ispart mystery, courtroom drama, and love story—as well as a gripping tale of ayoung woman’s journey of self-discovery in a tumultuous time.
Here's what MotherTalk reviewers are saying about The Crimson Rooms:
Boojoos and Aprilcots says: "The writing is lush and poetic. The imagery is vivid. The world spun is one of determined desperation, with ghosts from the past lurking in every portico. The novel is a perfect blend of historical fiction and murder mystery, a combination that is not often done well. I couldn't put it down."
Fractured Toy says: "Exquisitely written, Ms. McMahon's lyrical snippets of darkness (as in "her smashed heart" and in her description of howling images of the dead) makes reading this book feel like you're reading a classic. All around me the clues were building and I had no idea the answer to the mystery until the very end. Ms McMahon's writing sets the entire scene for you, costumes and all, which makes this period romance simply enchanting. Before you know it, you'll be anticipating the next page and that's what a good mystery should do. And romance? Ah, the sweet heartache of love in postwar London."
Cuddle Cottage says: "If you're in the mood to curl up with a good read, Katharine McMahon's latest novel is one I recommend."
Mom of 2 Dancers says: "McMahon's writing style makes it hard to put this page turner down. Not only a Historical romance, but murder and mystery are involved. Beautifully written, in a classic writing style with descriptive settings and characters. I highly recommend this page turner!"
Dagmar's Momsense says: "This certainly is a very intricate, well-written story."
Ladybug Crossing says: "I won't tell you how it ends. You'll have to read the book and find out for yourself. I will tell you that I enjoyed the story. I like romantic historical fiction - what? I'm sucker for a little romance and a little history! It is a good read and I recommend the book. I think you'll find it on a lot of summer reading lists this year!"
Hamster Boy says: "This story had me hooked right away. Not only do I absolutely love historical novels, but the added element of Canada (my home and native land) delighted me to no end. The story follows so many little rabbit trails and as you get to know Evelyn better, you realize she has a stronger constitution than she gives herself credit for, especially when learning how one can make the ultimate sacrifice for love."
Compost Happens says: "The Crimson Rooms is a page-turner. It was difficult to put down; the dark moods and increasingly complex plot twists kept me rooting for Evelyn even as I wondered how much more she could realistically handle. Readers will admire her strength and still want to help heal the pain caused by the war and its aftermath, the travails of making her way into the men's world of London's courts."
Hip Mama's Place says: "I was immediately drawn to Evelyn Gifford's character in this story. She is a modest, yet determined young woman who wasn't afraid of facing the difficulties to find her place in a changing world. Part mystery, drama, and love story, The Crimson Rooms is an overall marvelous read!"
A Book Blogger's Diary says: "The Crimson Rooms is a bittersweet story of love lost and secrets revealed, of crime and passion. It takes readers on a journey that's a bit meandering, but ultimately very rewarding. The intriguing way it ends makes me hope that we'll get more to read about Evelyn's story, see how she makes the most of her new life and career."
Fictionary says: "The cover of Katharine McMahon’s novel drew me in before I even knew the genre, and I had to read it. The first chapter is graphic, but grips the reader’s heart and attention."
Cupcakes are Evil... says: "There are so many subplots; in another author's hands, the book could have been a jumbled, not-worth-the-effort disaster. McMahon somehow keeps all the plates spinning in the air. You get social justice, women's rights, family drama, class wars, murder, a poignant love story and even more, all rolled up into one book. McMahon provides us with a rich and thoughtful slice of life and a cast of believable, engaging characters (and there are many!)."
Dagmar's Momsense says: "The book promised to be interesting since it is about a young lawyer, Evelyn Gifford, after World War I in London. I love books set in the past and was hoping for a romantic love story. The first few pages are a little tough to swallow, the writing is so precise that it captures the gore of the war in detail, but the book is an enjoyable read after that."
Fractured Toy says: "It's romance and heartache, mystery, murder and sometimes justice in Katharine McMahon's the Crimson Rooms. Exquisitely written, Ms. McMahon's lyrical snippets of darkness (as in "her smashed heart" and in her description of howling images of the dead) makes reading this book feel like you're reading a classic."
Jo's Blog Spot says: "It turned out to be a complete page turner from beginning to end. There was mystery, suspense, thriller, and a touch of romance."
Knitty Reviews says: "Without having any spoilers, I can say only that Evelyn's character blossoms and she discovers throughout the novel how enmeshed ones life can become with those around you, and that a person's free will to make choices that will make their life livable are not always in line with 'justice' as seen by the eyes of the law."
Redlady's Reading Room says: "Ms. McMahon skillfully builds a story that is complex and layered with great detail. There is great depth to the story as McMahon builds strong characters and a complicated plot. At first, the story seems a bit mired in detail but I soon realized that the depth and detail was needed to weave the story that would unwind at the end...Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction with a dash of mystery and romance worked in."
Stop, Drop, and Review says: "In the end, I suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a bit of historical fiction, has a bent for feminism and generally likes a well-written book. I enjoyed it and will be passing it on to my friends as I do with all books that I thoroughly enjoy."
Mom of Two Dancers says: "McMahon's writing style makes it hard to put this page turner down. Not only a Historical romance, but murder and mystery are involved. Beautifully written, in a classic writing style with descriptive settings and characters. I highly recommend this page turner! The Crimson Rooms has it all ~ Mystery, Romance, Heartbreak, History, Suspense and more."
My Little Patch of Sunshine says: "I found the book well-written, with developed characters and plenty of detail about England after WW1. It's about family dynamics, and legal drama, and mystery. It is quite a delightful book, and one that I would recommend."
Simple Inspirations says: "The Crimson Rooms is a poignant and yet intriguing story. Evelyn is an engrossing character and her strength and determination in not only dealing with the shock of learning of her brothers child and the child mother, but also in the unique, and gruesome case she is faced with which calls into question not only her gender but her ability."