The Gilded Ones by Brooke Fieldhouse
|The Gilded Ones by Brooke Fieldhouse
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: An elegantly-written piece of fiction which rises above the usual genre writing. There's an excellent evocation of time and place from an author to watch.
|Date: June 2018
|Publisher: Troubador Publishing
|External links: Author's website
It was a hot day in 1984 and Pulse had two job interviews for the day, but the heat wasn't the only reason why he wasn't feeling on top form. He'd had a disturbing dream the night before. He'd been following a Porsche on a difficult route, probably somewhere in the Alps when the Porsche went off the road. The passenger, a man, was dead, but the woman was still alive. I'm Freia..., she said. It's spelled the German way. Of the two job interviews, the first was with an up-and-coming design studio in Brighton and it would almost certainly be good for Pulse's career. The second was with a run-down practice based in an old London house and headed by Patrick Lloyd-Lewis, whose wife, Freia, had recently died in unexplained circumstances. The link with the dream of the night before was too much for Pulse to refuse the offer of a job. He couldn't resist the lure of the mystery.
I'll confess to having been a little reluctant to start reading The Gilded Ones. The problem was the final two words of the book's description on Amazon: disturbingly gothic. The portentously horrifying doesn't worry me, but too often - and in the hands of a debut novelist - it's an excuse for sloppy plotting and characterisation. I needn't have worried though: Brooke Fieldhouse might be a debut author, but there's nothing sloppy about this book. The writing is classy and the book rises above the usual genre offerings.
The choice of a design studio as the setting is inspired: Fieldhouse has a background in the business and it shows in the writing. This doesn't come from someone who's collected a few choice phrases to give the right impression: it comes from a writer who obviously knows a great deal more about the subject than needs to be put on paper.
I spent a lot of time in London in the eighties and Fieldhouse has it perfectly. Not only that, but it was done effortlessly: there are no crude signposts as to period, but as you read you know that it couldn't be any other time. Characterisation too is excellent. Pulse is working class: he's not quite out of his depth in the Lloyd-Lewis practice, but there's a feeling of separateness, that he's not quite one of them, no matter what attempts are made to make it look otherwise. We're not short changed on any of the characters: even those who appear only briefly are completely fleshed out. The dialect was perhaps over done in places, but that's a very minor quibble.
The plot is slow burn: if you're looking for a book with plenty of action then it might not be the one for you. On the other hand, if you're searching for a psychological crime drama, elegantly written and with plenty of plot twists then you'll feel more than adequately rewarded by this book. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Gilded Ones by Brooke Fieldhouse at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Gilded Ones by Brooke Fieldhouse at Amazon.com.
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