July 1, 1916. The Somme, France.
A British Officer prepares to go over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
March 28, 2016. Manchester, England.
Genealogical investigator Jayne Sinclair, a former police detective, is commissioned by a young teacher to look into the history of his family. The only clues are a medallion with purple, white and green ribbons, and an old drawing of a young woman.
Her quest leads to a secret buried in the trenches of World War One for over 100 years.
Who was the real heir to the Lappiter millions?
What I Thought:
At present, when the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme has just passed, it’s timely to read a novel relating to that era and that battle. What interested me most about The Somme Legacy though, was that it is not only a mystery, but a genealogical mystery – and they seem few and far between.
As an amateur family historian, it’s great to see the image of research, which certainly can be a little dry, used in solving a 100-year-old mystery, that of the Lappiter millions.
In the modern sections of the book, genealogical investigator Jayne Sinclair has only an old drawing and a medallion to work with, but the historical sections bring those artefacts and their owners vividly into life. The main characters in these sections, David and Rose, are strong, independent characters and the sections depicting Rose’s involvement with the women’s suffrage movement are well written and particularly enraging to read as a woman in modern times.
I can’t go into the later stages of the book without spoiling it, but reading about what eventually happened to Rose is enough to make you boil with rage and through reading about other women in similar situations, it was all too common a fate.
Although there were moments of rage, I enjoyed the book on the whole, and would definitely read more about Jayne Sinclair – if only she can get rid of her husband, who was incredibly annoying!
This book is the second in a series featuring Jayne Sinclair, but it can be read as a standalone – as I did – without spoiling the first book.
About the Author:
Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites. He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.
Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.
This review is part of a blog tour that has been running this week for The Somme Legacy, so do check out some of the brilliant blogs below for more about this book.
I was supplied with a copy of The Somme Legacy for review purposes, but all opinions are, as ever, my own.