Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley

The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley
Pages: 248
Release Date: July 7th, 2011
Date Read:  2011, November 22nd-30th 
Received:  NetGalley
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  13+

Francoise has never known wealth or even a good life.  Her mother came to New France a whore and married her father, a drunken soldier.  Together, they barely scrapped a living - relying on Francoise for much.  Francoise herself, however, has never given up her dreams of a fine life.  When tragedy befalls her family, she takes her chances as a lady's maid.  But how can a girl of the streets survive in such a place?  Francoise's mistrust may be the end of it all.

I love it when I'm right.

I've had my eye on this book for months, before it even came out.  Despite its unappealing cover, I was intrigued.  I entered a contest for it but didn't win, so I waited.
Then it popped up on the screen on NetGalley - I did not hesitate.  Yet I started it warily, unsure, but totally loving it and hoping it would stay amazing.

Yes - it did stay amazing.  So amazing that I held my breath the entire time.  Many people said that the suspense was lost because too much was revealed.  (I even guessed a few things correctly, which I usually don't do because I don't like to speculate or I just can't figure it out.)  But the main thing to do while reading this is to speculate as little as possible.  Just enjoy the story - suspense in other areas will keep you.

The writing, I must say, gripped and held me.  It was beautiful prose and Francoise's voice was strong and prominent from the first pages.  The writing has a huge role in reeling me in - I was definitely caught by the bait!  That and the prologue - I think it's so great to start the story toward the end, to give a taste of foreboding danger.

I loved every character within these pages.  The book is so short that I expected it to be like other short books with little character development.  I don't know what happened, but these characters were like magic.  As soon as they were presented it was like I immediately knew them.

And while this could be said about every single one, I must say something specific about Francoise, for it was especially true for her.  It was literally the first page, the prologue, that had me going, "Wow!  I like her style, her voice; I sympathize; I fear for her - wow!!"  After that I felt like she was able to grow as a person because she was already developed in my mind.  It was a lovely display of one aspect of great literature and I heartily give my applause.

I have a thing about disliking short books.  I'm not trying to, but I feel like I don't like almost any of the short books getting rave reviews.

But here - here! is one of the few that I love.  Because of the characters, as I said before; and because the world isn't a complex fantasy world, there was no need to explain a lot or get the reader to picture everything correctly.  It was our world, through and through, easy to imagine, and therefore leaving room for things to grow naturally in the reader's mind as the story progressed.

Now, I'll admit - it's a simple story.  Don't read too much about it, or else it might make it seem even less complicated.  Go in with very few expectations, and you should be just as awed as I was.  Because there are really only two ways it could go.

I will tell you now that I literally had NO clue until the very. last. page!  Talk about suspense!

In any case, I love the path the story took, how it was straight to the point but still had a good amount of emotional depth.  I am so pleased.

Commanding.  I say this because it commanded my attention from the very beginning.  I hope more people enjoy this book and put it on their shelves, as I hope to do when I make my next Amazon order.  Oh, and important note - don't read the Goodreads summary - it gives away a lot of the story.  Just add it and get off - let yourself be surprised! :)

For the Parents -
A few references to whores.  Francoise is a thief sometimes. +13

*This ebook was provided by NetGalley in return for an honest review. I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.*

1 comment:

  1. I agree, the cover is not to good. :/ I've never heard of this one before, so I look forward to trying it. Since you've given it 5 stars, it must be amazing. :) I need to read this!