Book Review – Arrowood

I found this book because of a blind date. More specifically, it’s a program our local library put together for the month of February in 2019 – “Blind Date With a Book”. A variety of titles were put in solid colored gift bags with each color signifying the genre of the book it held. The bag was taped shut and a synopsis of the title – with all clues as to title or character names removed – was attached to the outside of the bag. They even went so far as to put the bar code number on the outside of the bag so the librarian didn’t even have to peek inside the bag. 

In short – I loved this book! When I went to post my status on Goodreads I was thrilled to discover that this is only the first in a series. I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes so I was definitely intrigued by author Mick Finlay’s premise: where would London’s poor and destitute, unable to afford the likes of Sherlock Holmes, turn for help? Finlay’s answer is William Arrowood and his friend Norman Barnett. Not only does Arrowood take on cases for those who could never afford Holmes, he never even attempts to hide the fact that he despises the renowned detective.

Told entirely from Barnett’s perspective, this one kept me guessing right up until the action-packed ending. Arrowood and Barnett are flawed, frustrating, lovable . . . there was a never a moment that I wasn’t rooting for them and never a moment that I doubted how passionate they were about doing the right thing. Surrounding these two partners are a rich cast of characters – Arrowood’s sister Ettie, the young boy Neddy who works for the twosome, Police Inspector Petleigh and more – who bring depth to the story as well as helping the reader to understand more of the Arrowood’s character. 

I picked this book blindly, drawn to it because of my love for the Holmes stories. I wasn’t sure what to think of a book whose protagonist despises this well-known character. Turns out I love Arrowood’s work just as much!

From My Bookshelf – The Prophecy of Three (The Starseed Trilogy Book 1)

I discovered this book through a random social media encounter – it was a Twitter discussion about self-published/indie authors – where I met the author. Do yourself a favor – read this book!

I’m going to try to keep this brief because I could go on about this book for awhile. Let’s start with something “technical” – the Bechdel Test. For those who don’t know, the Bechdel Test came about as a result of a 1985 comic strip created by Alison Bechdel. Originally intended as a way to “rate” movies, the Bechdel test has three basic goals – (1) There must be at least two female characters, (2) Both female characters must have names, and (3) They must have a conversation that is about something OTHER than a man. This book EXPLODES those three criteria. The book focuses on three women who don’t know they are sisters (triplets, to be exact) and their mother and her two sisters. Along with these six characters, there are other women who play significant roles in the story as well. In the course of the story, you learn their names and their personal histories. Their conversations involve the family history, the reasons that the triplets were sent to live with adoptive families (with their magic bound since they were born witches), learning to use their now un-bound powers, and the fact that these three just might be a set of sisters spoken of in a prophecy millennia before.

The characters can be strong or vulnerable, confident or frustrated, focused or confused. In other words, they are real and relatable. None of them is perfect or completely flawed but you are rooting for them every step of the way. You cheer as they become more able to control their various powers, you are genuinely worried for them when a loved one is in serious dangers . . . and when Lily has to make a heart-wrenching decision regarding someone who helped to raise her? I literally held my breath!

If you like believable, strong, multi-dimensional female characters and a well-written plot, read this book! Warning – there is a mountain of a cliffhanger at the end!