This follow up to Blood & Sugar is equally as compelling to read – but sometimes the intricacies of the plot can become slightly overwhelming in places.
Filled with secrets, intrigue, corruption and exploitation there is certainly plenty for readers to immerse themselves in Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s follow up to her critically acclaimed Blood & Sugar.
While Blood & Sugar focused on the Henry Corsham, Daughters of the Night puts his wife front and centre in what turns out to be a murder mystery that affects her family in unexpected ways. Much of the focus of this plot is placed on the murder of a well-dressed lady who Caroline discovers dying of her wounds at the Vauxhall Pleasure Garden. But with plot twists aplenty, the story takes an even darker turn and Caroline herself finds herself in mortal peril even with the assistance of thief taker Peregrine Child.
Written with great detail and insight, the images of Georgian London conjured up by the author are impressive and certainly makes the reader feel as though they walking alongside Caroline as she attempts to discover the truth while trying to deal with her own personal problems . It is a very gritty and dark story – particularly when it goes into depths of the poverty of London at that time and the reality of brothels and the lives of those who worked in them.
There is confidence and boldness in the style in which Shepherd-Robinson writes which is really wonderful. Her characters are all flawed but they are human and you really do get a strong sense of what who they are and what they stand for. Caro in particular is strongly charismatic and certainly ahead of her time – frustrated by the bounds of society but doesn’t let that stop her from getting to the truth behind the murder and justice for the woman who turns out to be a prostitute. Equally, she offers an opportunity to re-examine being a prostitute in that era – offering a more sympathetic glimpse and highlights the level of exploitation of young women in that line of work.
However, I do feel in places that it can be difficult to keep up with each character’s involvement in the increasingly entangled web of lies and deceit that lies at the centre. The attention to detail is wonderful – but the complexity of detail with each plot twist can be slightly confusing and I found myself having to go back and double check certain details – even if everything is tied up very neatly in the end.
There is no doubting that this is a very worthy sequel despite this and is still worth a read for anyone who enjoyed Blood & Sugar.
By Emma Clarendon
Daughters of the Night is available to buy now.