The Almanack by Martine Bailey
Isn’t this one of the most beautiful covers you’ve ever seen? Tabitha receives a summons from her mother to return home to her village of Netherlea from London, where she has been living a glamorous courtier’s life. She returns home to find her mother dead, just the night before, having drowned in the stream near their house. Although the rector is firm that the cause of death stands, things don’t add up for Tabitha, including the broken front door latch on her mother’s cottage or her mother’s head wound. She begins looking into her mother’s death, a threatening note signed by the same man who writes the yearly Almanack that the widow Hart lived by as her main clue. Tabitha pairs up with an educated newcomer in town to try to solve her mother’s murder. Soon another body, the Lord’s son, is found with a similar threatening note attached, and Tabitha’s new friend/lover is jailed for the crime, but she knows he didn’t do it. Can Tabitha work it all out and save the man she loves, as well as keep the entire village safe from further murders, before it’s too late?
This book is amazing! I picked it up at the library based solely on its beautiful cover, and what a delight it was inside. Meticulously researched period details provided a rich and transportive setting to the English countryside in the 1700s. Scientific details of the time were conveyed with a sense of excitement and wonder and you could see how people felt they were living in an era of great enlightenment. Bailey did a wonderful job of showing the discord that rose between thinkers of science and those less enlightened, cries of witch being thrown about here and there. The excitement was heart-pounding at times and as the truth unraveled, I was on the edge of my seat. Five stars all around.