When Mallory Bright comes back to London after a scandal has destroyed her reputation, she is unable to get back into her old life. Her father, a famous locksmith, then seeks the help of his old friend, Sir Francis Walsingham, to find employment for Mallory.
Sir Francis, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster and Secretary, draws Mallory into his own web of secrets and network of intelligencers. Under a false identity, Mallory must use her sharp mind and remarkable skills to unmask Catholics and traitors.
Soon, she realizes that her espionage entails serious consequences she could never have foreseen for both the guilty and those she loves the most. When everything and everyone is at risk, Mallory will have to decide where her loyalties lie and what she is willing to do to save herself and her loved ones.
GENRE: Historical Fiction
The Locksmith’s Daugther was a wild ride. Full of secrets and intrigue, filled with love and affection, this is a solid, brilliantly crafted historical fiction novel.
It will punch in the gut. Make you weep buckets and shudder in horror and wish you could hold Mallory Bright in your arms at times. But you will also close the back cover with a small smile trailing on your lips.
If you think an emotional train wreck of such is not for you, or you need further convincing to actually go on Goodreads and add this book to your To Be Read pile, keep reading. I put together a list of 4 reasons why you should pick up The Locksmith’s Daughter when in search of your next historical fiction read.
1. THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE THAT IT IS
I don’t know how she did it, but Karen Brooks crafted a richly detailed novel that can be considered as a dense read, but never a dragging one. She did exhaustive research on the late 16th century England, and it shows. She describes places, outfits, the craft of locksmiths and the place of women with such thoroughness in eloquent and precise prose.
Karen Brooks also has a talent for capturing complex emotions and conveying them accurately. That allows us to develop a strong bond with Mallory and to have a deep understanding of the pain and the implications of what she went through (and is still struggling with).
However, there’s a downside to the rich details Karen Brooks provides us with: we are not spared the details of very gory and grotesque scenes. Regardless of the discomfort these scenes may cause, they are necessary to have a full grasp of the horrors some of the characters go or have gone through.
The meticulous research Karen Brooks has made combined with her incredibly rich writing style make for a very immersive experience. We are literally transported in Mallory’s shoes in 16th century England.
2. MALLORY’S MYSTERIOUS PAST
We know from the start that a scandal has destroyed Mallory’s reputation and though we are given some information about it (and are able to guess some), we don’t know the full extent of what happened to her until very late in the story. That adds a layer of mystery and, in a way, draws us closer to Mallory.
I think not knowing the details of what happened to her, but seeing her very distressed and haunted because of it, makes us feel even more sympathetic to her. If something is so shameful, so horrible that you never want to think about it, let alone confide in someone, then it must really be traumatic stuff.
What she’s been through has also shaped her, and now Mallory is a very mature and capable young woman. Following a strong and resourceful yet vulnerable main character is wonderfully refreshing when most the time, we encounter characters that are either strong or vulnerable.
3. THE SLOW-BURN ROMANCE
The romantic relationship between Mallory and a certain Lord doesn’t play a major role in The Locksmith’s Daughter. This is great news for those of you who are not big fans of romance in books. Romance lovers (like myself), don’t despair. There is a romance going on, but it’s very slow-burn, which gives us the time to root like crazy for Mallory and her man.
I like that the book takes place over two years because it makes this relationship believable. Let’s not forget that Mallory is in the middle of a spy mission and that being courted by a man doesn’t make it to her list of priorities. Nonetheless, the romance in this book is swoon-worthy and just impossible not to root for.
4. ALL THE TWISTS AND TURNS
That’s the best part. Unexpected twists and turns will slap you in the face. I never expected that many crazy things to happen in The Locksmith’s Daughter. Obviously, we know from the start that the activities Mallory partakes in are potentially dangerous for herself and her loved ones. Nothing good ever comes from spying and conspiring. She will learn it the hard way (and us, too).
Be ready for some espionage, shocking revelations and a rollercoaster of emotions.
The Locksmith’s Daughter is the perfect historical fiction novel. Richly detailed, enthralling, spine-chilling and romantic, this book is everything you’re looking for and more.