The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson

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The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: The Smoke Hunter is a fresh and exciting tale with a fierce heroine at its core. If you like adventure mixed with history and a bit of romance then you're in for a treat. A great read for lovers of adventure and historical fiction.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: November 2016
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1472238344

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Eleanora Mallory is an educated young woman living in Victorian London but she is restricted by the strict social codes of the late nineteenth-century. She's a historian, a suffragette, and is years ahead of her time much to the chagrin of her male work colleagues at the Public Records Office. After losing her job and finding a mysterious map abandoned on her former employer's desk, Ellie decides to take a chance at an adventure. She packs her bags and sets off on a journey to Central America, where the map shows the way to a legendary historical city. It's the expedition of a life time, but little does Ellie know that a team of fortune hunters are hot on her trail.

I do love a good adventure story. Sometimes you just need to sit down with a book that gives you twists and turns at every opportunity and The Smoke Hunter definitely achieves that. For a novel of nearly 500 pages I flew through this surprisingly fast and while there were some parts of the plot I had a little trouble with, I must say this was a truly entertaining read. The Smoke Hunter runs along the same vein as the Indiana Jones movies – lots of fast paced action with plenty of history at its core. It was refreshing to read a historical fiction novel set outside of Europe – it's lively and exotic and if you're in the mood for some real escapism then this ticks all the boxes. Plus, if you like a bit of romance with your adventure then it's got that too. Ellie teams up with the smooth talking Adam Bates, a fellow explorer who also defies society's rules to live a life of adventure. Their relationship is fuelled by sarcasm and wit and you know pretty much where it's going from the start, but it's still a lot of fun and I liked how they bounced off one another.

As entertaining as it was, there was one thing that bothered me a little. Ellie is an extremely intelligent and well educated woman for her time, and she does give her male counterparts a run for their money. However, there comes a point where the men kind of take over the story and Ellie gets shoved to the side lines. I know this is meant to be reflective of the period but I was a little disappointed with how Ellie became a bit of a spare part while the male characters took charge of everything. Thankfully, it doesn't last throughout the whole story because Ellie is a great character and when she shines she makes a great heroine in her own right.

This was a minor issue which in retrospect didn't interrupt the fun I had with this book, because that's what it is: fun. Lots of it and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. I'll be keeping my eye out for the sequel in the future. Thank you to the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then I recommend trying The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas which is another historical novel full of adventure.

Buy The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson at Amazon.com.


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