Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence

Hannah Trevor, a midwife in a small Maine town, discovers the body of a young wife and mother, along with a note naming Hannah's secret past lover and the father of her illegitimate daughter as the woman's murderers.

Ever since I read, and really enjoyed Sara Donati's into The Wilderness that I have been looking for books with a similar setting. Hearts and Bones is also set in America and around the same time and I couldn't resist picking it up.

Unlike Donati's this book is a murder mystery. The heroine is Hannah Trevor, a midwife living with her aunt and her deaf, and illegitimate, daughter in Rufford, Maine. When she finds a young woman raped and murdered who left a letter accusing three men, one of which is Hannah's child's father, she can't resist doing an investigation of her own. Unable to believe the worse of the man she loved she eventually finds a link between the dead woman, the three mentioned men and some others not mentioned in the letter.

Despite being a great lover of mysteries I think what I loved best in the story was the sense of time and period. How life was actually hard for this people, how some of the wounds of the Revolutionary War were still open and how Hannah, that we could consider a bit too modern for those times, is looked sideways for her behaviour does making it believable. However I found that she unraveled what was happening a bit too quickly to be believable.

The story is dark, there are some pretty horrible crimes mentioned and some people never recover from them. The aftermath and consequences of the war are very present here and play an important part in the action. It's also very atmospheric; you can almost see the characters as they walk around doing their business, which definitely contributed to my enjoyment of the story. It made for an interesting read and I wouldn't mind picking the other books in the series to find out what happens next to Hannah and Daniel.

Grade: 4/5


  1. I too loved Sara Donti's Wilderness series. This book sounds good. I've added it to my TBR pile. Thanks