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The Blackstone Key
Blackstone Key
by Rose Melikan

Period novel with delightful main character and action packed hunt
for clues to a political mystery

In 1795, Mary Finch sets out from Mrs. Bunbury's school to make her way in the world and meet her wealthy uncle, a man rendered mysterious on account of his estrangement from Mary's family. On the way from Cambridge to Suffolk, Mary is waylaid by a horse race, a roadside accident in which she is called upon to render assistance to an injured man, and a series of adventures full of deception and political intrigue. When the injured man issues a stern warning and she discovers one of her uncle's items in his possession, Mary's determination to unravel the mystery suddenly makes her question the configuration of those people surrounding her on this voyage. As Mary tries to ascertain their character, she comes face to face with a world more dangerous than that of the closed society of Mrs. Bunbury's world. The violence of the recent French Revolution reverberates in the shadows of the English mind and France's declaration of war sets the stage for plots of spies, traitors and smuggling. Can Mary trust Mrs. Tipton, a woman helping her rise above her station in life but who watches her actions a little too closely? Is Captain Holland the protector he appears to be? What about the shadowy man from St. Lucia, a certain mysterious Mr. Deprez who understands her artistic nature but has a dangerous underside? Is there more to Mr. Hicks than meets the eye? Mary Finch rises to the challenge, using her intelligence, her study of character and her intuition to solve a secret code and discover a plot that could endanger her own life, the life of those around her and indeed all of England itself.

Rose Melikan's THE BLACKSTONE KEY has a delightful combination of period dialog, manners and mores as well as suspenseful action that hinges on an intriguing historical detail. Mary Finch's character draws the reader into the story. Her fanciful imaginings and moments of covertness bring a smile but Mary is also a woman who buckles down to solve the details of the mystery despite the kinks and difficulty presented before her. Somewhat innocent, generous, and full of imagination, her character is balanced with a sense of integrity and ability to question herself. Rose Melikan's historical novel brings the period to life with its language, a language reminiscent of novels written during the period. With an academic background in 18th and 19th century British political and constitutional history, Rose Melikan integrates her knowledge of the period seamlessly and directly into several cruxes in Mary's adventures while giving the reader a look into social history as well. THE BLACKSTONE KEY is a novel to be savored in every detail by enthusiasts of the period. All in all, THE BLACKSTONE KEY is just one fun read. Once the reader gets to know Mary's charismatic character, the pages just fly as the reader becomes immersed into this historical world and the emerging political intrigue.

Publisher: Touchstone (August 5, 2008)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Review Courtesy of Amazon Vine
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