Set in 1707 in Scotland the citizens are unsettled at their union with England. In order to appease them, England has gone to their coffers to pay those families of men who died in the Darien expedition eight years earlier, an event that made Scotland all but bankrupt. When a young widow of a Darien soldier comes forward to claim her husband’s wages an investigation takes place to determine if they were actually wed. Set at the cusp of the eighteenth century during a politically motivated time, Adam Williamson finds that there is more involved than the meager wages of a sailor and must set aside his own growing feelings for the widow to figure out the truth.
Other than reading the Outlander series which is set slightly later than this book, I don’t know that much about this time in Scotland’s history. Set during the Jacobite rebellion with flashbacks to the late 17th Century you get a good feeling of what it was like to live during this troubled time when the change in monarchy also meant a change in accepted religions. You also learned a lot about what it meant to be female during this times and were made glad that you live now versus then. Narrated through the investigator, Adam Williamson’s eyes, we learn of Lily’s life from childhood to adult and as we do we serve as judge and jury in deciding if we believe in her story.
During the flashbacks we learned about Lily’s life. Her mother died when she was very young and her father sent her to his mother to be raised in the country where she met her childhood best friend Jamie. Although they were from different levels of society her country upbringing allowed her a closeness with his family that she wouldn’t have had in a city environment. When she moved to Edinburgh and her father dies she is raised by her Stepmother but circumstances force her into becoming a maid to help bring in money. As she grows older her circumstances change again but she still stays on that lower rung of Scottish society and it was really interesting to read, especially in how she viewed herself at these different times of her life. Did it help Adam Williamson determine the truth? You’ll have to read this one to find out. I will say I became very engrossed with her story.
When I read a historical mystery I like a nice methodical pace and The Vanished Days was a slow moving book. Despite the author stating this is book 3 in the series, the characters are not interconnected and this can be read as a standalone novel. If you are like me and really like historical mysteries with a hint of romance I think you’ll really enjoy this novel. The characters were believable, had emotional depth, and I got invested in their story very quickly. This was a good book!
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review and it was honest!
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