The Wicked Cometh | Review

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

The year is 1831. Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city's vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.
When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations.

Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they've ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking . . .

Drama! Suspense! Absolutely beautifully writing with descriptions so vivid you can see them! The Wicked Cometh has all this and more. And yet I wasn't completely thrilled by it. Going in I was super excited to read a historical fiction with a happy ending for the f/f couple - and it was good, the ending was happy and cute and nobody died but for me it just felt a little flat.  After all the build-up and drama of the previous chapters we only get two pages of the women actually being together and being happy which just seemed a little bit 'oh' to me. (But then I am that person who would happily have the couple get together in Chapter Three and spend the rest of the book reading about their daily lives. This is not a book like that.)

Despite the ending this is a beautifully written book; a dark, detailed and twisted tale with a streak of love shining right through the centre. Hester & Rebekah’s love for each other was built up subtly & realistically throughout  and the suspense of the narrative was drawn out just enough to keep me guessing but not so much I got bored waiting for the plot to thicken.  There were so many twists and turns that I actually gasped when something was revealed - Laura Carlin is definitely a master at crafting and creating words to paint a beautifully intricate picture.

Whilst the high level of detail is wonderful when describing a room or the streets - you definitely get a feel of the places - that same level of detail was slightly less wonderful when applied to gross medical situations and discoveries of body parts.  Due to this I did feel very icky reading some parts, one page in particular made me put the book down for a few hours and read something lighter, which altered my position on the rest of the book - see below for a list of trigger warnings - but I also hold a firm hatred & fear of all horror type films so this is more personal taste.  Obviously though you couldn't really have an extreme level of detail when talking about a dinner and then skip lightly over the pivotal parts so you know, it's good but not for me. (Can you tell I have very mixed feelings about this book?)

Overall it was readable and a pretty alright book but I’m probably not going to re-read it. Three Stars.

Trigger Warnings: semi-graphic description of dead bodies / body parts, animal cruelty.

For books similar to this (but slightly less ew) you can check out the queen of historical lesbians Sarah Waters - Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet and The Paying Guests are all amazing books!  If historical fiction isn't really your thing you can always check out my masterpost for something different!

eloise x

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