Book Review: A Golden Grave by Erin Lindsey
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Series: Book 2 of Rose Gallagher
Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 17, 2019)
Length: 400 pages
This paranormal historical mystery series is making me so happy! I was glad when I first found out about this sequel to Murder on Millionaires’ Row, and even gladder when it turned out to be just as charming and lively as the original.
A Golden Grave returns readers to late 19th century New York City with protagonist Rose Gallagher, former housemaid to the wealthy aristocrat and Pinkerton agent Thomas Wiltshire. Thankful for her help in cracking his last case and impressed with her independence and ability to solve problems, Thomas has recommended Rose to his employers, and as a result, she is now a junior agent and his partner. But although Rose has always dreamed of having excitement and adventure in her life, being a Pinkerton is not without its own set of unique challenges. Not only does the training include practical defense like how to fight or fire a gun, it also covers a wide range of skills that would help her in undercover missions of subterfuge. Discretion is now of the utmost importance now that Rose and Thomas are part of an elite unit that handles supernatural matters, and as it turns out, their latest case is especially sensitive.
With the mayoral election fast coming up, politics have become the hot topic among the residents of the city. Everyone is talking about the up-and-coming candidate Theordore Roosevelt, with all in agreement that the young man is destined for great things. However, it appears there are certain factions willing to go to great lengths to see him fail. At a local convention, six delegates in support of Roosevelt suddenly drop dead—all at the same time, and of the same cause. The press is told that it the deaths were due to poison or an illness, but Thomas and Rose know better: the delegates were all murdered, and it was carried out by a killer with a dangerous paranormal ability. Soon, it becomes a race against time to identify and stop the assassin before he kills again, and the Pinkertons have reason to believe that the next target might be Roosevelt himself.
While A Golden Grave is technically the second book in the Rose Gallagher sequence, fortunately it can stand perfectly well alone as a self-contained mystery—and as a great novel—in its own right. But of course, having read Murder on Millionaires’ Row will help a lot in the understanding of some of the story’s existing relationships, not only the complex one between Rose and Thomas, but also the ones between our protagonist and the supporting characters as well. Several familiar faces make their return, among them Clara, Pietro, and Mei. All these wonderfully crafted characters make up Rose’s incredible support system, but I also loved how the presence of so many vibrant personalities painted a lively and diverse picture of the author’s Gilded Age Manhattan.
Speaking of which, kudos to Erin Lindsey for making the setting play a much more significant role in this sequel. History is given a new twist with her take on Theodore Roosevelt as a “lucky” candidate, the term used to describe an individual gifted with a supernatural ability. Other historical figures to make an appearance include Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla. Now that becoming a Pinkerton agent has broadened Rose’s horizons, she’s getting her chance to rub elbows with the city’s rich and famous.
However, her sudden change in station has led to a thematic change in the narrative as well. While at its heart, A Golden Grave is a mystery, Lindsey does not forego any opportunity to explore and develop Rose’s character, and for that I am grateful. While there will be times where our protagonist will let the circumstances of her new life go to her head, at her core she remains the down-to-earth and unassuming Irish housemaid from Five Points who never forgets her friends or where she came from. Rose’s determination and loyalty are two traits I loved best from the first book, and I’m glad there were plenty of opportunities for her to display them here as well. Of course, the late 1800s were not exactly a great time for women, and for a strong and resourceful woman like Rose, some of the derogatory treatment she received was especially infuriating, but she was able to hold her own and handle herself with assurance.
Finally, the last point I want to touch upon is the romance, which was a strong element in the first book, but in this one it was toned down some. Quite honestly, I was glad of it, since it allowed the mystery plot to come to the forefront with minimal distractions. Even though I want to see Rose happy, and I can’t deny the intriguing chemistry between her and Thomas, I confess it wouldn’t bother me at all if their relationship remained professional for just a little while longer. Not only would this prolong the delicious tension, I think it allows for more interesting dynamics between the two of them.
In sum, A Golden Grave was another great read from one of my favorite authors. So far, I’ve read more than half a dozen of Erin Lindsey’s books and enjoyed them all, and she’s proven herself to be an extremely talented and versatile writer of multiple genres. In particular though, mystery seems to be her forte and nothing would thrill me more than to see her continue to expand the Rose Gallagher series, and hopefully the wait won’t be too long for another paranormal adventure with Rose and Thomas!
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Murder on Millionaires’ Row (Book 1)