Friday 5 December 2014

Review ~ The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox.

Title: The Goddess and the Thief.
Author: Essie Fox.
Publisher: Orion.
Genre: Victorian Gothic Mystery.
Publication Date: November 20, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Uprooted from her home in India, Alice is raised by her aunt, a spiritualist medium in Windsor. When the mysterious Mr Tilsbury enters their lives, Alice is drawn into a plot to steal the priceless Koh-i-Noor diamond, claimed by the British Empire at the end of the Anglo-Sikh wars.

Said to be both blessed and cursed, the sacred Indian stone exerts its power over all who encounter it: a handsome deposed maharajah determined to claim his rightful throne, a man hell-bent on discovering the secrets of eternity, and a widowed queen who hopes the jewel can draw her husband's spirit back. In the midst of all this madness, Alice must discover a way to regain control of her life and fate...

The Goddess and the Thief is an unusual, beautifully told novel and one which really captures the imagination. I was fascinated and completely enthralled by the author’s atmospheric writing, and the way she intricately built the plot up, with every page laced with secrets and lies. Once I picked this book up, I was instantly intrigued with the first chapter headed ‘The Letter – Never Sent’, and I did not stop reading until I had finished this wonderful novel. Each chapter title was interesting and set the scene, each chapter itself brought more gorgeous writing and the book ended on a high note too, with an ending I wasn’t expecting. I loved The Goddess and the Thief.

The book follows Alice, a young girl who is being raised by her aunt Mercy in Windsor after being uprooted from her home in India. Alice finds herself to be under the control of her aunt and things only worsen when the mysterious Tilsbury arrives on the scene. I could really get behind Alice’s character right from the beginning of the book and enjoyed reading the development in her character, from where she starts as a slightly na├»ve, easily controlled girl to a young woman who is more informed and understanding of the people in her world. I was always supporting and rooting for her character and it was sad to see some of the situations she found herself in when I was eager for her to take control and learn who to trust. Learning who to trust, however, was something even as a reader I couldn’t work out. Everybody seemed to have an ulterior motive, to be someone else completely, and I loved reading these characters because the plot was in turn unpredictable and very absorbing. The characters were each multi-layered and developed strongly and with every new name brought in, I knew they were about to surprise me.

The author’s writing was brilliantly descriptive and I loved her portrayal of the age and the setting. I found it quite detailed at times but this really helped capture the essence of the actual plot and I think it worked because I never felt confused or out of sorts despite reading about a time I have no knowledge on. I’ve only recently started reading historic novels but this was ultimately the most gripping and involving. We’re brought more stunning descriptive writing, in the form of the things Alice sees unfold but the author’s telling of the action in The Goddess and the Thief is captivating too. There’s plenty of twists throughout the novel, some subtle and some more dramatic and they’re all faultlessly entertaining. The Goddess and the Thief’s prose was enchanting, thought-provoking and ultimately delightfully told. I’m really excited to read more from Essie Fox.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. Your review is great again

  2. I've enjoyed Essie Fox's previous books and this one sounds great too. Thanks for the review.

    1. Thank you - I'm looking forward to reading her other books. :)


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