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The Locksmith's Daughter: A Novel by Karen…

The Locksmith's Daughter: A Novel (edition 2018)

by Karen Brooks (Author)

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545319,193 (4.32)None
Title:The Locksmith's Daughter: A Novel
Authors:Karen Brooks (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2018), 576 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Locksmith's Daughter: A Novel by Karen Brooks



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This book is not of a genre I would normally pursue. I saw it at the Porter Library in Westlake, Ohio and checked it out along with another book. Each book was something that could be checked out for 7 days. I had not started The Locksmith's Daughter when my 7 days were yup - so I purchased a copy of it. I am so glad I did! The period of history covered in this book (Elizabethan England) is one that I have always enjoyed and am fairly well read in, Karen Brooks did a wonderful job of incorporating history into the Life of Mallory Bright. Absolutely one of the best books I have read in a long, long time.

"This book was originally published back in 2016 by Harlequin MIRA. Some may have been given the impression this is a traditional historical romance, but it is not. It is pure Historical fiction- with a love story written into it. HF lovers will not want to miss this book!! " I copied this brief paragraph from another reviewer: wagner.sarah35 That person said it so much better than I. ( )
  JanicsEblen | Mar 15, 2019 |
Set in Elizabethan England, this novel is well-researched and follows the increasing dangerous adventures of Mallory Bright, a locksmith's daughter, as her lock-picking skills lead her into a dangerous line of work as a spy for the notorious Sir Francis Walsingham. Filled with plenty of twists and new connections between all the characters, this novel is fast-paced without being hurried and manages to check almost all the boxes for elements I appreciated in historical fiction: a plot rooted in actual historical events, complex characters, insights into actual historical figures, and female characters who take charge of their own fates. An excellent read for fans of historical fiction set in the Elizabethan era. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Dec 4, 2018 |
The Locksmith’s Daughter by Karen Brooks is a 2018 William Morrow publication.
A skillfully crafted novel of historical fiction-

Mallory Bright’s unorthodox upbringing paves the way for her in unexpected ways when she makes a grave error in judgement and finds her reputation in ruins.

As the daughter of a locksmith, Mallory was taught the trade by her father, much to her mother’s intense dismay. But Mallory would never have guessed that her talents would lead her to the queen’s personal spymaster or that she’d become his protégé and most valued asset.

This Elizabethan historical drama is chock full of intrigue, vivid, authentic settings and details, heartbreak, and heart pounding suspense, with an unconventional love story capping it off.
This book was much more than I anticipated. The acute religious strife regarding Catholics and Protestants is at the center of the story. Sir Francis Walsingham – a true historical figure- is obsessed with maintaining protestant power over Catholicism. To that end, his training and directives to Mallory were to flush out Catholic spies. Mallory is a much better student than her master could have hoped for. But when she witnesses the results of her handiwork, her heart and mind are conflicted.

“I saw no traitors plotting to bring down a queen, only desperate people; people whose world was in disarray and who felt threatened. Who prayed to the same God, only differently. Did this make what they were doing illegal?”

To complicate matters, Mallory learns some shocking revelations about her own past and struggles to tolerate Nathaniel- an obnoxious friend of a friend, who knows entirely too much about her work with Sir Francis, but who may well be the only person who can help her.

This period in history is so interesting. I never tire of reading novels set during the Elizabethan era. This story highlights the fevered religious paranoia towards Catholics. It was not entirely justified, but there were very serious and real dangers to the throne posed by Catholic spies. The book also touched on the impact the “Bartholomew's Day massacre” had on Sir Francis, which is what helped to fuel his prejudice against Catholics. There was a lot of tension, misinformation, and confusion regarding religion. The fear increased as more assassination attempts on Queen Elizabeth rose. Public executions, such as those described in this novel did indeed occur.

The author did an amazing job of recreating that tension and highlighting the moral dilemmas and atrocities that occurred in the name of religion and politics. The Locksmithing craft and the clever spy codes of the day is very interesting and fascinating. But, the characterizations in this novel are what sets it on a higher pedestal. Mallory is an outstanding personality. Her loyalty, her strength, talent and courage captured my imagination. She is quite the heroine. Nathaniel is truly nasty, in the beginning, but I grew to love him, and loved him even more for loving Mallory. Their love story is not at the center of the novel, but in many ways, it is at the heart of it – maybe even the soul of it. With so many villainous acts, so many selfish and manipulative plots afoot, with the danger at a fever pitch, their relationship lit the way to honor, bravery and hope.

This is a not only a stunning historical novel, but, a compelling story of the true meaning of love and family.

Note: This book was originally published back in 2016 by Harlequin MIRA. Some may have been given the impression this is a traditional historical romance, but it is not. It is pure Historical fiction- with a love story written into it. HF lovers will not want to miss this book!!

5 stars ( )
  gpangel | Sep 2, 2018 |
Mallory Bright is returning to her family home in disgraced. At nineteen, she ran away with a man she believed to be the love of her life only to be taken advantage of. Her father has rescued her and her mother has created a less shameful ruse for her to live by. However, Mallory is still seen as a blight by her mother and neighbors. Her father, a locksmith has taught Mallory skills over the years. Mallory is his lock pick, testing his wares. He calls on an old friend, Sir Francis Walsingham to find employment for Mallory. Walsingham sees potential in her skills and brings Mallory on as a watcher in his spy network. Mallory is the key in exposing several Catholic threats to the Crown. Although, as Mallory begins to see the destruction she is causing, her loyalties to Walsingham begin to waver.

From the moment Mallory is introduced, I was latched on to this historical thriller. Mallory is intelligent, thoughtful and eager to learn. She is desperately trying not to let peoples thoughts of her and her past effect her. I immediately wondered what her shameful secret could be and why she blamed herself. Then, I was brought into Mallory's world of locks and lockpicking. I learned about the intricacies of the locksmith world in Tudor England and how valuable a well made lock could be in this time-period. Through Mallory's eyes I was taken into the dangerous world of Sir Francis Walsingham's spy ring and was able to see the talent and the tasks that were deemed necessary in order to keep Queen Elizabeth safe. As Mallory trains and becomes and agent, she finds purpose and begins to forget her nightmarish past. However, as her actions as a spy begin to bring harsh consequences to the people around her, Mallory wonders if the people Walsingham has deemed dangerous really are as threatening as he perceives, or if they are just people trying to practice a religion of their own. Historical accurate detail of the political climate and descriptions fill out the writing, from stage production, food, dress and housing, I could picture Elizabethan England. I also don't believe I had ever read about a hanging, drawing and quartering in enough detail to turn my stomach. A dash of sweet romance from a brusque Lord Nathanial helps to round out this fast paced historical thriller.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review ( )
  Mishker | Aug 11, 2018 |
An absolutely gripping page-turner of a novel set in Elizabethan times, The Locksmith’s Daughter is told from the first person point of view of a young woman named Mallory Bright. The story starts a little slowly but the pace soon quickens, and the plot begins to twist and turn in unexpected ways.

Mallory is the daughter of a master locksmith who has taught her all his secrets. One evening her father is visited by the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Frances Walsingham, and Mallory is asked to show off her skills. She finds herself being trained as a spy to work on Walsingham’s behalf, and is drawn deeper and deeper into a dark and violent world.

The book is set during a time of intense religious strife, when Jesuit priests were being hunted down and hanged, drawn and quartered. Mallory finds herself caught with divided loyalties and in danger herself.
The world of Elizabethan England is captured with all its myriad sounds and smells, and I particularly loved all the details about devious locks and how the Elizabethan secret service worked. It felt so real and authentic, it was as if I had actually slipped back in time myself – always a sign of meticulous research and attention to detail. ( )
  Jawin | Mar 19, 2017 |
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There is less danger in fearing too much than too little. - Sir Francis Walsingham
This book is for Kerry Doyle and Peter Goddard, beloved friends and extraordinary people whom I'm so very fortunate to have in my life.

It's also for my partner in everything, Stephen - the man who has always held the key to my heart, and always will.
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The old wherry glided up the bank and halted in the thick silt.
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"Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London's most ingenious locksmith and has apprenticed with her father since childhood. After scandal destroys her reputation, Mallory has returned to her father's home and lives almost as a recluse, ignoring the whispers of their neighbors. But Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster and a frequent client of Mallory's father, sees potenial in Mallory and draws her into his world of danger and deception. The locksmith's daughter is not only good at cracking locks, he discovers; she also has a talent for codes, spycraft, and intrigue. With Mallory at his service, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery. But Mallory's loyalty wavers when she witnesses the brutal and bloody public execution of three Jesuit priests and realizes the human cost of her espionage. And later, when she discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she is forced to choose between her country and her heart. Once Sir Francis' greatest asset, Mallory is fast becoming his worst threat-- and there is only one way the Queen's spymaster deals with his enemies..."--Page 4 of cover.… (more)

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