Hello Sunshines! I have the pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Killing Beauties by Pete Langman. I can’t wait to share my review with you all, so grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.
England, 1655. Following the brutal civil wars the country swelters under a cloud of paranoia, suspicion and the burgeoning threat of rebellion. With the fragile peace being won by Cromwell’s ever-efficient Secretary of State John Thurloe, the exiled king Charles Stuart sends two spies on a dangerous mission to wrest back the initiative. These spies are different, however: they are women. Their task? To turn Parliament’s spymaster into their unwitting accomplice.
Killing Beauties is a dark tale of subterfuge, jealousy and betrayal.
It is sometimes said that women are written out of history, but often they are not yet written in. Killing Beauties is based on the true stories of two female spies from the 1650s and gives them the voice that only fiction can.
I know the old saying says; ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ and usually I don’t jump onto a blog tour or take on a review by the cover alone, but I did instantly love it it’s so darkly gothic I was fascinated. Add an intriguing blurb, a historical tale all about unknown women from history then you have me hooked.
Set in 1655 during the English Civil War where the country is full of spies, danger, back-stabbing, death, and rebellion ready to tear the country apart even more then it is already. Exiled King Charles II wants more than anything to wrestle his country back and for eventual peace, something that looks set to be very difficult with Cromwell’s spy-master; Thurloe lurking bout in the shadows. So Charles sends his own spies into infiltrating Thurloe, but these aren’t just any ordinary spies they are women. Something which not only surprised me as I didn’t know that there were female spies in the period even existed, and now has made me want to learn more.
Anyone who follows me knows that I love reading about seemingly unknown historic women, I had never heard about Susan Hyde or Diana Jennings, in fact, I hadn’t known that King Charles had a league of female spies – a fact that I will definitely be reading more about. Killing Beauties isn’t a hugely taxing book to read and it is very enjoyable getting to know the author’s impersonation of these two fascinating women, there are times when the story sort of feels a little flat or vague at times but I looked past that and enjoyed the journey that the author was taking us on.
I really enjoyed this, it’s dark and gothic, Killing Beauties is based on the true life’s of Susan and Diana, their characters are well defined, they all work well with one another throughout and make the reader instantly like them and wanting them to succeed in their mission, even though this is predominately a work of fiction there is a strong sense of in-depth research that has gone into the story, which only makes the reader discover more about this fascinatingly complex era and the women who staying within the shadows to do a man’s job.
The overall story could have done with a bit of fattening up, there are gaps and moments which did keep me hanging on and wondering only for the story to move past and on to the next part of the story, something which is a real shame, but I liked Langman’s writing and the story did capture my attention.
Overall this is an interesting historical, not the strongest which I have read as it does have its weak moments but certainly, one to read for anyone who loves their women’s history, as there is promise for more.
About The Author
Pete Langman is a writer, academic, cricketer and sometime rock and roll guitarist who holds a PhD on Francis Bacon (the other one) and was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at 40. His non-fiction encompasses Cricket, Parkinson’s Disease, Music, History of Science, literature and culture, and has appeared in publications ranging from The Guardian to Guitar and Bass Magazine. He lives between Leiden and Brighton with his partner Dr. Nadine Akkerman, award-winning author of Invisible Agents, who supplies him with historical expertise and who keeps asking if they can have a cat now, please.
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