If you didn’t know, we at THP have recently fallen in love with historical fiction! So when we heard that Betsy Cornwell’s latest novel is a historical thriller, you know we had to jump at the chance to review it.
Betsy Cornwell’s Reader, I Murdered Him, combines two of our current favorite genres and tells a story that we can’t help but speed through. Today, we’re giving you our three favorite things about it!
Content Warnings: violence, death, murder, sexual assault, mention of rape (Read at your discretion!)
Summary: Adèle grew up in the shadows–first watching from backstage at her mother’s Parisian dance halls, then wandering around the gloomy, haunted rooms of her father’s manor. When she’s finally sent away to boarding school in London, she’s happy to enter the brightly lit world of society girls and their wealthy suitors.
Yet there are shadows there, too. Many of the men that try to charm Adèle’s new friends do so with dark intentions. After a violent assault, she turns to a roguish young con woman for help. Together, they become vigilantes meting out justice. But can Adèle save herself from the same fate as those she protects?
With a queer romance at its heart, this lush historical thriller offers readers an irresistible mix of vengeance and empowerment.
We don’t know about you, but we were hooked on Betsy Cornwell’s Reader, I Murdered Him, right when we read the title. Not only does the title grab your attention, but so does the first-person narration! Seeing Adèle’s perspective gets us up close and personal with her actions and thought process in the heat of the moment. She’s someone we can easily root for. And she keeps us on our toes, wondering what will happen to her next.
Themes Of Female Empowerment
Set in Victorian-era England, many of the young girls in the novel had their futures determined long before they could have a say in it. But Adèle helps them realize that they can change their unhappy fates. She protects her classmates from violent male suitors and reminds us to trust our instincts. Adèle would rather become a villainess than a compliant member of high society, and we love that for her!
A Satisfying Ending
We’ll try not to spoil so much of the ending, but Reader, I Murdered Him has an unconventional happily ever after. Adèle doesn’t end up married, nor does she bear any children, as societal norms would have it. She and her love interest live their lives as free women, with enough space to pursue their passions and love each other. The novel ties up its loose ends, and we couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion!
Betsy Cornwell’s Reader, I Murdered Him, is out November 15th and is available for preorder here!