The Wells

Written by Patrick Gooch
Review by Barbara Goldie

The first of a series to be called the Hope Trilogy, The Wells is a long, well-written read, a lovely blend of fact and fiction. It is a thoroughly researched novel which brings the era and the location alive with rich historical detail and vivid descriptions. Set mainly in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells and partly in London, it charts the story of Marius Hope starting in the summer of 1736. The characters we meet along the way are complex and well-drawn. A series of events finds Maurice using his medical knowledge to help the authorities find the culprits when there are two fatal fires and a death on the town racecourse. He discovers that the incidents are linked to a scheme to take ownership of The Walks from the lord of the manor and its freeholders.

It is a good read for historical fans, lovers of fiction and those who know or would like to know more about Tunbridge Wells or London, and is very enlightening about the medical practice in the 18th century. The language is well matched to the era and reads easily; you can almost smell the town. The descriptive prose and dialogue are well interspersed, making it very readable. There are excellent compelling plots with twists and turns along the way, creating a page-turner which moves at a good pace. I would recommend this book a varied audience. Immerse yourself and take the waters; an excellent read.