The Midnight Peacock – Katherine Woodfine

It is with great sadness for me, that ‘The Sinclair’s Mysteries’ is coming to a close with the final explosive and dramatic instalment,  ‘The Midnight Peacock.’ I have been on adventures with Sophie and Lil right back from the very beginning when ‘The Clockwork Sparrow’ was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog and I’ve enjoyed every minute of these thrilling adventures. From the dark and dangerous, ‘The Jewelled Moth,’ to the sophisticated and complex, ‘The Painted Dragon,’ I have been totally enamoured with our fearless, intrepid heroines Sophie and Lil. The festive season has come to Sinclair’s and our heroines are invited to spend their holidays at the snowy Winter Hall. During their stay they can’t resist the opportunity to investigate sightings of a ghost who is terrifying the servants. Leadind them to inadvertently stumbling into the most baffling and deadly mystery that they’ve ever encountered. With the help of their friends can they uncover the truth in time to foil a truly diabolical plot? As sinister secrets are revealed and aspersion cast on friends, Sophie and Lil must determine who they can trust if they are ever to prevent a catastrophic disaster at the Midnight Peacock Ball.

Yet again Katherine has managed to capture the opulence and extravagance of the incredibly rich upper classes who live a very different Edwardian life from Sophie and Lil. The decadence of the Midnight Peacock Ball represents the great contrast between the immense luxurious world that was the norm for a minority whilst for the majority their existence was far from easy. Yet you must allow yourself to admire and enjoy this splendour because it is so exquisitely told with the most rich and evocative language that it is an irresistible and fascinating world. Brilliantly written, ‘The Midnight Peacock’ brings all the strands of the previous stories together in a plot more intricate and elaborate than the finest parcel from Sinclair’s store. Secrets that were only hinted at in the past are gradually revealed allowing the reader the chance to solve the puzzle at last, as the elusive missing pieces are finally slotted into place.

This is the kind of series that I want to thrust into the hands of readers. Not only does it offer thrilling adventures but it captures a really important piece of social history that must never be forgotten. Expectations for all women regardless of class, were governed within strict confines and their fates were controlled by a patriarchal society. Sophie at the beginning of this series is incredibly vulnerable, an poor orphan with no one to look out for her  who was at this time pretty much guaranteed to have a life of penury, but the lucky chance that was afforded to her by gaining employment at Sinclair’s was her lifesaver.  For Tilly a maid who is obsessed with how machines work studying mechanical sciences would be a dream, but her best hope would usually be to rise to the ranks of a lady’s maid. Katherine never allows us to forget that even privileged women had few choices in life beyond marriage and motherhood and were incredibly constrained by society’s expectations. However the aspirations of the female characters in the Sinclair’s Mysteries reflect the change that was bubbling underneath the surface of this time as the Suffragette movement gained strength. I have so much love for this glorious series and I urge you to read it if you haven’t already. I can’t leave without mentioning Karl J Mountford’s stunning cover and artwork which captures the elegance and spirit of these marvellous adventures perfectly.

Thank you to Egmont for sending me a copy of this glorious book, the entire Sinclair’s Mysteries is available to buy from all good bookshops.

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