The Opium Purge
By: Elizabeth Bailey
Publisher: Sapere Books
Published On: November 01, 2018
“The cloak splashed red against the pristine snow. Arms uplifted to the heavens, bare fingers catching at fresh flakes, the girl twirled on the vanished lawn of the Dower House, her countenance alight with pleasure.”
After taking in this scene, Lady Ottilia Fanshawe feels like she has witnessed a fairy dancing in the snow. Soon after, Lady Fanshawe decides to go for a walk, but when she arrives at the front parlour, she finds her dancing fairy in the middle of the room with a bloodied hand. It becomes apparent that the young girl has broken the glass in the door to gain access to the room. From her initial interactions with the girl, Tamasine, Lady Fanshawe realizes she has some sort of mental illness. Tamasine’s guardian, Sir Joslin Cadel, and Tamasine’s companion, Lavinia, arrive soon after in search of her. They apologize for the disruption, and they take Tamasine back to their adjoining property. Not long afterwards, Tamasine is back tapping on the glass to be let in. She comes in and announces she has pushed Joslin down the steps in the garden, and that he is dead. Lady Fanshawe can’t help but investigate Sir Joslin’s death. Although she is hesitant to believe Tamasine’s version of events, she does suspect that he has been murdered.
The Opium Purge is the third book in the Lady Fan Series, and the relationship between Lord and Lady Fanshawe continues to be one of the charms of the book. Lady Fanshawe is a strong-minded, intelligent woman who is determined to seek out truths. Lord Fanshawe’s gallant efforts to protect his wife and her honor, all while giving her the space she requires to carry out her investigations, is nothing short of regal. Throughout the story, they both show their love for each other in subtle ways, often by just a touch or a gentle word.
One of the interesting aspects of the story, and one that I found humorous, is that Lady Fanshawe asserts herself into Sir Joslin’s household under no one’s authority but her own. She is accosted by members of the household staff who question her authority to be snooping through the house. She lets their objections roll off her shoulders, and continues her investigations. It’s so Lady Fan of her :) !
Her investigation starts with a death that was apparently caused by a fall but is eventually ruled a death by opium overdose. This is but the first twist in this intriguing tale. The house is full of secrets and Lady Fanshawe must work through each of these secrets to understand the truth behind Joslin’s death. One of the secrets is Tamasine herself. Should we love her innocence or fear her twisted thoughts? Are those that surround her there to support her or take advantage of her?
The story kept me absorbed right until the very surprising ending.
I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.
Thanks to Net Galley and Sapere Books for an ARC of this book. #NetGalley #TheOpiumPurge