Sarah L. King ~ The Wax Artist
Spring, 1803. An uneasy peace between Britain and France endures – for now. In Edinburgh, as speculation grows about the resumption of war, the city’s parlours and taverns find distraction in the intriguing new faces appearing in the affluent New Town. On Hill Street, the Andrews family arrives from London, reeling from a recent scandal but determined to make a fresh start. And on Thistle Street, Marie Tussaud’s waxwork exhibition opens, offering vivid glimpses of French royalty and revolutionaries alike.
Glimpses which French émigré and psychic Ailsa Rose does not welcome.
However, unwanted reminders of bloodshed and strife are the least of Ailsa’s worries. When her spiritual abilities cause her to cross paths with the Andrews family, she foresees the death of the eldest daughter, Clara. Disturbed by the violence of her vision, Ailsa feels compelled to investigate and to thwart Clara’s dreadful fate.
But as Ailsa digs deeper into the young woman’s secrets, she also finds herself unearthing the ghosts of her own past, including those she thought she’d left behind in revolutionary France…
It’s often easy to think that the French Revolution mostly affected those in France. Yet with any uprising, there are always those who must flee.
Alisa and her mother choose to flee to Scotland. Despite the poverty and difficulty, King still manages to make Edinburgh seem magical. Her visual prose is wonderful and really builds up a strong picture of the sights, sounds and smells of the city.
The story itself is interesting: an historical fantasy meets detective story. Although the story is slow, it doesn’t grate and flows nicely, allowing plenty of time for us to get to know the characters and root for them. They are all described well, although lack the attention given to the setting.
The fantastical elements are discreet, meaning that they are realistic and entirely plausible. Events are nicely tied up, but with hints of what is to come…
If anything it was too short. I feel there was more that could have been explored – particularly her mother’s life and their time in Paris. I was disappointed that Madame Tussaud played such a small role in the book. What drew me to the story initially was the promise of learning more about this marvellous woman who has held my fascination since I first learned about the Chamber of Horrors at a young age (and was subsequently terrified on my 6th birthday by the gruesome gore I witnessed).
Overall it’s a promising start to the series and I look forward to the next one of Ailsa’s adventures.
I received an eBook from Love Book Tours. Opinions my own.