Sunday, May 5, 2019

Review: The Angel in the Glass by Alys Clare

The Angel in the Glass (Gabriel Taverner Mystery, Book #2)
by Alys Clare
Release Date: October 1st 2018
2018 Severn House Publishers
Kindle Edition; 240 Pages
ISBN: 978-0727829641
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

June, 1604. When the emaciated body of a vagrant is found on the edge of the moor, it's the verdict of physician Gabriel Taverner that the man died of natural causes - but is all as it seems? Who was the dead man, and why had he come to the small West Country village of Tavy St Luke's to die cold, sick and alone? With no one claiming to have known him, his identity remains a mystery.

Then a discovery found buried in a nearby field throws a strange new light on the case ... and in attempting to find the answers, Gabriel Taverner and Coroner Theophilus Davey unearth a series of shocking secrets stretching back more than fourteen years.

My Thoughts
The Angel in the Glass is the second book in the Gabriel Taverner Mystery series and while I enjoyed it a lot, I really felt like I was reading about a modern man during modern times rather than a historical mystery, which is rather unusual by this author as I am a huge fan of her Hawkenlye books simply because I love the historical information she infuses into those books, making me feel like I am there.  I didn't really get that feeling from this book.

First of all, I did enjoy the plot, but it was very much a plot-driven book.  There is a lot of information thrown in, with a lot of subplots, but it is woven together in the end, although I still felt like something was missing.  I was really looking forward to the historical element surrounding the religious upheaval during this time period, and while it was there, it was not the central plot theme of this book, which was somewhat disappointing.  I really felt like the turmoil surrounding Henry VIII and his religious wars would have made the better story rather than the one that became the central plot in this book which, although sad, didn't actually sit well with me as it didn't seem to flow very well with the rest of the story,  The story about the poor monk though, that was fascinating. 

Because this book was so plot-driven, I do think the author lost sight of character development so it was hard to really empathize with most of the characters.  And while their stories were rather sad, I definitely didn't connect with any of them.  I would have liked to have seen the story about the poor monk play a deeper role in this book as his story could have been the focus of this book which would have made it really interesting.  I really did see a good opportunity lost and instead, we got a story about a man and his desires and another story about a noble who destroys people simply because he feels entitled - boring.  Don't get me wrong though, I liked Gabriel and his sister, who really had no role in this one, but it would have been nice to see his forensic skills in action a bit more.  The plot should not revolve around his mishaps and what he always misses during an inspection, it gets old, fast. 

The Angel in the Glass definitely had a lot of potential, and it had its interesting moments, but I was a bit disappointed in the plot and wished the author had focused on some of the other elements rather than the one did ultimately did as they were much more interesting.  I really enjoy the main characters and would like to see a bit more character development rather than the book being so plot-driven otherwise they seem plain and lack quite a bit of depth.  The author does have a way of writing that is quite engaging however, and I will recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction.  I would also recommend they take a look at her Hawkenlye books as they are more character-driven.