Snares and Nets
When Nesta Davies moves from bustling Oxford to sleepy Hollyhill to look after her son’s wife, Joan, she expects to spend her time quietly tending an invalid and using her midwifery skills to bring in some extra pennies. Instead she finds herself in the middle of a series of mysterious attacks and deaths: a fellow midwife, young goodwife and the local constable are all targeted by an unknown assassin.
Then a young noblewoman, Blanche Bellefleur, goes missing after fleeing the church during her own wedding, and her naturally curious nature leads Nesta to investigate the crimes. Using her medical knowledge and a good nose for gossip, Nesta sets out to unmask the perpetrator and so restore peace to the community.
Snares and Nets is set during Henry VIII’s relationship with Anne Boleyn, and her need to produce a male heir is paralleled time and again within its plot. It’s an effective device that helps to add period flavour to the narrative. The actual mystery is not so hard to solve, but the characters and settings are so nicely drawn that it doesn’t detract from the novel’s charm.
Nesta is an engaging character who carries the story well, and it is to be hoped that this is the first of a series of novels featuring the feisty midwife.