Crimson and Bone

Written by Marina Fiorato
Review by Mike Ashworth

1853. Annie Stride, a penniless prostitute, plans to kill herself by throwing herself into the Thames from Waterloo Bridge. Her life is changed—and turned upside down—when she is saved by Francis Maybrick Hill, a talented pre-Raphaelite painter. Maybrick takes her as his muse and model, changing her life from fallen woman to a darling of society. Her dark past is left behind, or is it? Is Maybrick Hill all he seems to be—a Victorian philanthropist, rescuing a fallen woman? Whisked off to Florence, she finds that her new life is not all that it seems, and his secrets are finally revealed in a gripping climax.

This is a dark, disturbing tale of love and obsession. With a strong plot and characters, this is a superb example of Victorian noir, which is combined with a historical romance to produce a well-written, gripping tale from an author at the top of her game. The plot is taut, with a series of surprises on the way, leading to a very satisfying ending. A great read. Recommended.