The Penmaker’s Wife by Steve Robinson is the story of a young boy born into poverty in 1875 London, and his mother determined to give him a better life.
As the book begins, Angelica Chastain seems to be afraid and running from someone wanting to hurt her and her son – then 5 year old William. Climbing to the top of London Bridge, she tells him they must end one life to begin another, and together they jump into the rushing River Thames. The first example of the lengths Angelica will go to provide better for her son, and by far the most innocent.
As the book progresses it becomes apparent nothing with Angelica is as it seems, except that in her mind she ‘does it all for William’.
I have to admit I was not terribly interested through the first few chapters of this book, but it became a page turner as bits of truth began to be revealed. I also found it difficult to truly care about the main character Angelica, but was intrigued by the storyteller. And once their identity was revealed, to learn their motives – who they were relaying this to and why.
I ultimately did enjoy this book and recommend to anyone wanting a story of love, deceit, money, murder, and the lengths this mother would go to secure her son’s future in late 1800’s England.
** don’t want to give spoilers here, but I’m in the US so things began to fall into place a bit more once I googled and learned the significance of Winson Green, Birmingham.