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The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore

The Companion (edition 2020)

by Kim Taylor Blakemore (Author)

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Title:The Companion
Authors:Kim Taylor Blakemore (Author)
Info:Lake Union Publishing (2020), 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore



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The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore

Well written, dark depressing story set in the mid 1800’s that is told by a woman sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of two women. The story begins with Lucy Blunt being employed by the Burtons to assist the cook. Her story is told from that day forward with segments of her life in prison interspersed. As there were no clues to indicate which portion of her life was being told it was not immediately known if she was in prison or back at the Burton home.

After finishing the book I have to say that I came away feeling unsettled. I never really could relate to Lucy or any of the characters in the story. I am still trying to figure out why the story was written and what message it was trying to relay. Lucy was not a good person but one who used her wits to survive...until her wits failed her.

Did I like this book? Not really
What was the quality of the writing? Very good
Would I read more by this author? Perhaps – I would not tackle one this dark and depressing, though

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Unioin Publishing for the ARC – This is my honest review.

2-3 Stars ( )
  CathyGeha | Jan 14, 2020 |
***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Like "The Favourite", but with murder...


Lucy Blunt is our unreliable narrator of the events that take place while she serves the wealthy Burton family as a maid and companion to Mrs. Burton.

I am not a thief, though I have stolen.
I am not a murderer, though I have killed.

The language is beautiful and crafty, especially when describing people - People called her "sweet" and "helpful" and "cheerful". Drop those words in a pot and stir and they might congeal into the word "thick." - and the natural world that changes with the seasons.

The only rough patch for me was the romance with Mrs. Burton - I didn't feel any chemistry between her and Lucy (or her and Rebecca) and I didn't find her an attractive character. If you can accept that as part of the plot and move on, though, the rest of the story is enthralling.

(And chilling - I had a vivid dream about being hanged one night after reading this.)

Thoroughly recommend. ( )
  Shabraque | Nov 19, 2019 |
The Companion is a top-notch piece of dark historical fiction with an unreliable narrator. Lucy Blunt tells us the stories of the murders she's about to hang for. She's not responsible for any of them. Or is she? As a reader I wanted to believe Lucy, but I also didn't trust her: there were so many troublesome loose ends and unlikely details. If you like historical writing, if you like mysteries that may never really be resolved, this is a book for you! ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Nov 11, 2019 |
Fingersmith meets Alias Grace. But, Lucy isn't as engrossing as Grace and her love affair with Gene isn't as enthralling as Susan and Maud's.

I think I would have appreciated this more had a few more things been flushed out, but there are a lot of loose ends. Who killed Mary? What was Rebecca's motivation?
And, really, Lucy didn't need that many tragi-secret backstories. One is actually enough. Historically, it doesn't take much to put a woman down on her luck and have no one believe her/be in her corner, so maybe stop at the one cause. Extras don't make it more believable or more sympathetic.
The denouement is also a bit chaotic, the big reveal of the events that lead to Lucy's imprisonment all happen in a rather madcap fashion that left me as much befuddled as enlightened.

That being said, I enjoyed this read and I think the frame narrative is really successful - I actually think I found it more compelling than the central plot. As Lucy is waiting for her execution (or stay from it) her days in prison are filled with interesting reflections, interactions with other characters (new and previously established), and come the conclusion of the novel, I think everything felt narratively earned.

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the arc to review. ( )
  alailiander | Oct 24, 2019 |
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