Friday, February 25, 2011

The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry

In London, 1876, the bones of three females were discovered under the chapel in the Tower of London.  They were said to be the remains of two of Henry VIII's wives, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard and those of Lady Jane Grey.  The painter, Amos Roselli was summoned there to do sketches of the remains.

Amos didn't want to be left in the tower alone and asked for someone to be there with him.  In a short while, a yeoman warder, came in and they had a friendly chat.  When Amos finished the sketches, the warder was gone and the man who gave him the commission showed up with his wife.  He knew nothing about the yeoman warder.  When Amos made inquiries about the warder he was told the man had been dead for many year.  This started the strange sightings and creepy feeling which plagued Amos throughout the novel.

Amos recently hired a new maid, Beth for his humble home.  He didn't pay her much as he was a struggling artist.  However, Beth took to her work and master and did the best she could. 
Things were looking starting to look up for Amos.  Amos's inspiration/muse and childhood  friend, Daphne had married a very wealthy man, Oliver Ramsey, one year ago and Amos had just been commissioned to do a portrait of Oliver.  Amos knew that if Ramsey liked the portrait he would most likely gain more commissions.

Amos was happy that he was finally going to see Daphne again and once he arrived, their friendship continued like it was never interrupted.  Daphne confides in Amos that her marriage wasn't what she expected and the Oliver was very disappointed that she hadn't produced an heir yet.  Poor Daphne was stuck in a loveless marriage and it soon became apparent that Ramsey had his sights on another woman.  He wanted to get rid of Daphne one way or another.

During his visit with the Ramseys' many strange things happened.  He keeps seeing a woman from a distance that appears to be Daphne but couldn't be.  Later, Beth said that Daphne had dropped off some flowers while he was gone however, Daphne had been with him that entire day.  To add fuel to this strangeness, Daphne like to hold séances with her guests after dinner and there were some cryptic messages from the dead.

Robert parry's poetic prose painted a haunting portrait of Victorian England and his characters.  He deftly weaved the story in with the story of Anne Boleyn .  It felt very authentic.  The characters were so well developed that I felt as if I was transported to Victorian England every time I picked up the book.  I felt like I was one of the characters.  There were a couple slow places in the book but those were minimal and then the book picked up again.   I loved The Arrow Chest and did not want it to end. 

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Let Them Read Books, ends March 5th


  1. Thanks for this interesting review! I love the Victorian period and must pick this one up!

  2. Joanne,I would love to see your review. I hope you do read it.