Thursday, May 10, 2007

Face Down Beside St. Anne's Well, K. L. Emerson

This is a new to me author, Kathy Lynn Emerson, who had this published through Perseverance Press in 2006. I have two older titles by her in my TBR. This copy is via the library, though. This title is set in 1575 (or thereabouts) Elizabethan England.

Lady Susanna Appleton is the foster mother of Miss Rosamund Appleton, who is the bastard daughter of Lady Susanna's husband. It's a long & complicated story. Kinda amazing, but who am I to ask too many impertinent questions?? Anyhow, Rosamund's a handful, even from my 21st centruy POV and so has been shuffled around in search of a suitable place for her to be 'trained.' She ends up in the tiny village of Buxton, notable only for the warm mineral waters from St.Anne's well (hence the title).

She and two coconspirators have snuck out of the house in the dead of night to have a go in the spa waters. Horror of horrors- they get caught. It was a neat opening scenario though, three middle school age girls sneaking into the spa in the dead of the night. Their French instructor, Mlle. Louise Portier, sends them home in disgrace and promises punishment to be handed out next morning after church. Only, the next morning Mlle. Portier is found dead by the well.

Why was her death ruled an accident, when Rosamund is sure it was murder? How can Rosamund investigate without raising suspicion or revealing where she actually was that night? Where did Mlle.'s special mushroom box get to? Lady Susanna descends on Buxton to get to the bottom of all these issues, bringing her stout housekeeper along for chperoneage. There are wheels within wheels, spies and counterspies and endless speculation. Not to mention a forced engagement & a creepy animal abusing teenage boy.

There are plenty of historical details, a May Day festival, nude mixed bathing, spelunking, Puritans and more. Not a hint of romance, although Ms. Emerson's bio on the inside cover says she's written a few of those too.


Jenster said...

I love that time period. Would you recommend it??

Bookwormom said...

Yes, absolutely. I have a couple of quibbles, but none serious.

Sylvia said...

Cool review. Interesting time period.

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