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.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||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
You can read more book reviews or buy The Gilded Ones by Brooke Fieldhouse at Amazon.com.
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