Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT A Company Of Roses by Megan Goodenough @Book_Meg

Today’s team review comes from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

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Noelle chose to read and review A Company of Roses by Megan Goodenough.

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Book Review: A Company of Roses by Megan Goodenough

This is the debut novel of Megan Goodenough; I think she has a great imagination and did a fair job with a complicated Tudor historical mystery/spy story set in the current day. It has a spunky main character, a handsome, enigmatic tough guy who becomes her guardian, and lots of twists and turns.

Cas is a young woman who leaves London for Brighton, fleeing from her former life, at least for a while. She works in a jewelry store while house-sitting a flat. She and her good friend Lacey make it a habit of bar hopping at night, with Cas frequently drinking to oblivion. One night Lacey mysteriously disappears and Cas ends up in the hospital as a result of her binge. Lacey leaves behind a series of cryptic clues to an Elizabethan treasure, which Cas assumes is some of Elizabeth’s jewels but in reality lead to a modern and very dangerous conspiracy. Cas begins to take the clues seriously when she is attacked by a ruthless thug who is also looking for Lacey.

Hunted by criminals and pursued by a former Russian spy, Cas races across England pursuing clues and is helped along the way by Reuben, who claims he works for an insurance company. Cas alternates between trusting him and trying to lose him. Cas ultimately uncovers a society of women who have played an integral role in British history, bound by an oath they’ve held for a thousand years.

I loved the opening part of the prologue, set in the summer of 1563, when Queen Elizabeth’s closest lady-in-waiting smuggles a girl child, delivered by Elizabeth and called Rose, out of the palace to be raised in anonymity. Then the scene changes to the present day and a cryptic conversation between two women about one of their girls whose name came up in a dispatch order; a man is sent to keep an eye on her, and I was left wondering what was going on. Chapter One then follows Lacey and Cas on their drunken night out, being tracked by Reuben. By the time Cas is attacked by a thug sent by someone other than those who sent Reuben, I was lost. I did a reread but was still somewhat confused.

Cas is well drawn, but the clues she deciphers are so obscure that I was awed at her intuition. Reuben is amazing at showing up to save her at just the right times, always vanquishing the bad guys. Eventually it is revealed the thug who originally attacked Cas was sent by Lacey’s mother, who is a cruel and determined criminal. I remain somewhat unclear about her motives.

Thus the main problem I had with the book is trying to wrap my head around all the various plot lines, players and their different goals: Cas following clues, Reuben sent to watch her, criminals trying to stop her, and then the Russian thrown in for good measure.

It is clear that the author is knowledgeable of Elizabethan history and she is skilled at story telling; her writing is smooth. I do recommend this book to readers who like mysteries with a historical component and I will look for the next book by this author.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

 

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT A Company Of Roses by Megan Goodenough @Book_Meg

Today’s team review comes from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry chose to read and review A Company of Roses by Megan Goodenough

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A Company of Roses by Megan Goodenough

3 out of 5 stars

A mystery-thriller with a historical twist—wealthy young artist Lacey disappears after a boozy night out, and leaves friend Cas with cryptic clues to find both her and an Elizabethan treasure that holds the key to a dark conspiracy. Cas soon finds out, though, that she is not the only person looking for Lacey; enter Reuben, attractive undercover government agent who pretends to be an insurance investigator, accompanying Cas as she races around the country.

This novel started promisingly, with a nice bit of Tudor intrigue followed by the girls’ night out on which Lacey goes missing, as observed by Reuben. Cas is a most engaging character throughout, and I think she would appeal very much to other twenty-something girls just out of university and embarking on life in the working world, while partying hard—I liked her, she was very well drawn, and Reuben appealed to me straight away, too; I could see why Cas was so taken by him.

The book is very current, with some acute observations, like the description of girls shopping for engagement rings with their boyfriends as ‘sharp toothed trophy hunting demons’ (I loved that!), and Grandma’s advice that ‘it’s not people’s right to know things about you, even if they think it’s their right to ask’—so true! People familiar with the cities in the book will like reading about them, and the plot is a great idea, too. I’m afraid it didn’t quite work for me, though.

Many thrilling government conspiracy stories are perhaps a little far-fetched (though, indeed, who knows?), but even in fantasy the activities of fictional characters need to be feasible, and Cas’s almost immediate sussing out of the beyond cryptic clues and charging around the country followed by Reuben was, on many occasions, too unlikely to make me able to suspend my disbelief. Then there were instances like her buying a single ticket to York instead of a return, even though they were the same price and she needed to get back – this was explained as a hangover from her wacky student travelling days when she never knew where life might take her, but a ticket from Brighton to York must cost something in the region of £100, and Cas was just an ordinary working girl. Or Reuben leaping across over a bridge to stop a fight in a neighbouring carriage, then charging back in time catch their own train, even though it was moving off as he was running up the stairs (the doors would be closed!). If these sort of things don’t bother you, though, you’ll enjoy it.

I think a good, professional edit would iron out the daft/unlikely, and the few errors (things like something being ‘five foot away’ – it’s ‘feet’, ‘foot’ is the singular), and also it’s a bit messy, with some oddly or clumsily phrased sentences and narrative that needs tidying up. I believe this is Ms Goodenough’s debut novel; she clearly has a good imagination and storytelling skill, and this is a fair start. I wish her all the best with her writing career.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

 

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT A Company Of Roses by Megan Goodenough @Book_Meg

Today’s second team review comes from Karen, she blogs at https://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/

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Karen chose to read and review A Company Of Roses by Megan Goodenough

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My Opinion

This book introduces you to Lacey, Cas and Reuben. Glamorous artist Lacey disappears while being monitored by Reuben. Her friend Chastity ‘Cas’ tries to find her by following Lacey’s mysterious clues.

With A Company of Roses, Megan Goodenough has created a 21st century mystery with a historical twist. Worried about her friend, Cas finds clues to follow. It seems impossible to get rid of Reuben and the agency behind him. She is threatened by mysterious guys, running from them and hunting for clues makes for tiring days. The characters are believable and of sufficient depth. It is a pity that I could not really like Cas, she is nice enough; Reuben is a miracle. Despite the protagonist’s being on the run, the story has a slow yet steady flow. Some observations are spot on, the locations are easily recognisable. A few grammar flaws do not ruin the story. A Company of Roses is the promising début novel of Megan Goodenough, a mystery writer to watch out for.

This is for you if you like mysteries with historical twists.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com