You may remember that a few weeks ago, I hosted young indie author Victoria Lynn here on the blog. The tour was to celebrate the one-year publication anniversary of her novel London in the Dark. I got a chance to read the book finally, and today I’d like to share my thoughts with you!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Budding Private Detective Cyril Arlington Hartwell has a conundrum. London is being ravaged by the largest run of thefts in recent history. His hunch that it is all tied together may put him and those he loves in more danger than he could have reckoned.
Olivia Larken Hartwell is just home from boarding school for the summer anticipating time with her adoring parents. She misses her absent brother, Cyril, hoping for the day he will finally come home. But tragedy strikes, causing upheaval for all concerned and changes her life in a way she never could have imagined.
Olivia, Cyril, and their friends must bring the hidden to light, seek to execute justice, and dispel the darkness that hovers over London… and their hearts.
This was a quick, enjoyable read. What it lacked in writing quality, it made up for in engaging events and realistic, sympathetic characters.
I’ll start off by just saying that yes, it is a self-published book by a young author, and it does read like one, with the style feeling a bit amateur. I expected that going in – one reason I don’t read self-published books all that often is because I feel like sometimes they get published before they’re ready or before the author’s voice has matured. Once I got into the story, though, the writing didn’t matter quite as much and I was still able to enjoy the book.
The characters were probably the highlight. They were interesting, multi-faceted, and sympathetic, the kind of characters that feel like stereotypes, and are therefore easy to understand as you read, and yet go so far beyond the stereotypes when you actually stop to think about them.
Olivia is sweet, yet strong, and I mourned along with her and cheered her on in everything that she went through. Dudley is amazing (my personal favorite character), yet thankfully not perfect; Mrs. Larken is such fun, and Cyril’s character development is beautiful to watch.
The plot was well-written and kept me interested, especially the way everything started to come together near the end. As a writer myself, I can’t imagine ever attempting a mystery. There are so many plot threads and clues and elements to weave together, and Victoria did it really well!
The themes are beautiful and wholesome as well, a reminder of the grace of God and his support in our sufferings.
My one complaint is that the epilogue skipped ahead too far. It featured an event that, while I wanted it to happen, I wanted to be able to read about everything leading up to it (sorry to be so cryptic, but I can’t give details without spoilers). I just really wish that story had been a whole separate companion novella or something (maybe someday, Victoria? Please?), which in itself is a testament to how much I loved these characters.
Content-wise, there is some violence, especially a death that is pretty gruesome, plus explosions and guns and stuff like that. Tasteful, but there. Otherwise, there’s really nothing to worry about.
London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn
3.5 stars: an enjoyable and clean read
Recommended for ages 12+
What do you think? Have you read London in the Dark? If not, will you check it out? Share in the comments!