THE LOCKSMITH’S DAUGHTER
Brooks’ new novel is a carefully researched tale that captures Elizabethan England with prose and dialogue that perfectly matches the era. She lures readers into the dark world of spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham by using first-person narrative and then keeps the pages turning as the dramatic story, rife with intrigue, danger and religious persecution, unfolds. We come to care about the characters and are involved in their lives and stunned by the revelations that are divulged. Like all wonderful historical fiction novels, readers will learn something new and leave satisfied.
Mallory Bright is the locksmith’s daughter. Trained by her father, Mallory learns to pick any lock imaginable. However, it is her grasp of languages that brings her to the attention of Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. At first Walsingham wants Mallory to tutor his daughter, and then he recruits her as one of his spies. Though at first reluctant, Mallory accepts Walsingham’s offer, escaping a community that has publically scorned her. Though she realizes Walsingham could expose her own secrets — sending her loved ones to the Tower. In order to survive, Mallory pushes aside her softer side and strives to be as devious as her master. Her friendship with young Caleb leads her into the world of theater, the freedom of dressing as a boy and to an unexpected love. (WILLIAM MORROW, Aug., 576 pp., $16.99)