‘The House on Vesper Sands’ by Paraic O’Donnell

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the darkness is complete”

Wow, what an opening narrative hook! I absolutely loved the first chapter, clever, intriguing and mysterious; a perfect way to engage your reader.
This book didn’t disappoint; set in the winter of 1893 in London the snow is beginning to fall on a collection of seemingly disassociated characters, who’ll eventually collide in the latter climax of the novel.
I loved the feel of this world and it’s been described by other reviewers as having a Dickens, Collins and Doyle vibe and there are elements of the atmosphere of those novels.
The London of ‘A House on Vesper Sands’ is a dark and dangerous place, the novel balances this with humour and witticisms. Okay, so it’s not historically accurate and the actions of some of the characters you’ll perhaps never find in Dickens, for example how Octavia Hillingdon, a socialist, parades around London on her bicycle without getting her long dresses snagged up on the wheels, but I really didn’t care!
There’s also a supernatural vibe building throughout and this worked well for the most part. I enjoy fantasy novels so I was happy to go along with it in the spirit of fiction, however I think a more serious historical fiction fan might find the ‘light’ (can’t say no more for spoiler purposes) incredibly daft!
Overall, I was very happy immersing myself in this novel for a couple of evenings and delighted in the characters and their journey. I’m a happy reader who had a great time disappearing into this world.

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