It was incredibly exciting to receive an invitation to join Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose on their second mission in ‘The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth’ as they follow the trail of the coveted Jewelled Moth from the high society of debutantes to the dark and dangerous East London Docks. This book was on my list of most anticipated reads of the year and it has not disappointed, Katherine Woodfine has created a dramatic, thrilling adventure which is an absolute delight to read.
I loved the drama of the opening chapter when we first meet Mei Ling and get a real insight into the harshness and adversity faced by the families in Chinatown. The dastardly Baron and his boys are spreading their intimidation further and making everyone’s lives a misery and falling into despair and admitting defeat feels inevitable. Katherine’s wonderfully descriptive writing alerts all your senses so you can picture this squashed up house Mei lives in, smell the aromatic spices, hear the horses clattering over the cobbles and feel the warmth of the sun streaming in. The fear and poverty in this world contrasts sharply to Sinclair’s Department Store as we journey across London to the heart of the West End to meet this season’s debutantes. It seems that the most difficult choice they will be forced to make is which hat will make them most attractive. That is until Lil and Sophie receive a mysterious note from one of the most prominent debutantes asking for help.
On a mission to find the missing Jewelled Moth which has seemingly vanished into thin air, Lil and Sophie don disguises and attempt to blend into high society to discover the whereabouts of the illusive jewel. We are given a glimpse into what is seemingly the idyllic lives of these young ladies but in reality we see what lies beneath the glamour of beautiful dresses, endless tea parties and coming out in society. The rigid rules of etiquette which control their behaviour, the constant desire to be thin and desirable and the lack of choice they have when making a suitable match are all highlighted. In contrast the freedom that our heroines have seems enviable as they are able to make their own rules and choose their own way in life.
What at first glance seems to be a simple case turns out to be covering up an elaborate plot of secrets and lies and they find themselves unwittingly crossing paths with the dastardly Baron again. Events take a dangerous turn at the Masked Ball but our determined duo are willing to risk themselves to do the right thing and expose the truth. It’s up to Lil and Sophie with the help of their friends to try and unravel this complex web and unmask the Baron to reveal his true identity. This is a truly marvellous adventure which will keep you turning the pages and I was totally gripped throughout. There is a point in the story – you will know when you get there – which will leave you desperate to find out more. Katherine has assembled a fantastic cast of characters with real depth who you become totally engrossed in their lives which make the story even more compelling.
Thank you to Egmont for sending me this book to review.