The Wicked Cometh
The year is 1831Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city's vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets.Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations.Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they've ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking . . .

The Wicked Cometh Details

TitleThe Wicked Cometh
Author
ReleaseFeb 8th, 2018
PublisherHodder and Stoughton
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction

The Wicked Cometh Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Laura Carlin pulls us into the atmospheric, overflowing poverty, and the filthy, disease infested alleys and backstreets of 1830s London. In this distinctly Dickensian world, the young Hester White resides in the slums, she has lost her parents, and is in search of any route that will take her out of her dire circumstances. Dark nightmarish deeds are taking place as poor folk disappear in the city, but little attention is paid, after all, it impacts only those of little consequence. After being Laura Carlin pulls us into the atmospheric, overflowing poverty, and the filthy, disease infested alleys and backstreets of 1830s London. In this distinctly Dickensian world, the young Hester White resides in the slums, she has lost her parents, and is in search of any route that will take her out of her dire circumstances. Dark nightmarish deeds are taking place as poor folk disappear in the city, but little attention is paid, after all, it impacts only those of little consequence. After being injured in a horse and carriage accident, Hester finds herself in a more fortuitous position. The carriage owner, Calder Brock offers medical attention and sweeps her away to stay at his country home. Hester acquires the post of companion to Calder's sister, Rebekah. Rebekah is an intelligent, strong, determined and independent woman, who takes Hester under her wing, providing tuition to a grateful Hester. The two women develop a close relationship, although it soon becomes clear that the Brock family past festers with murky secrets. Hester is warned to leave the household before harm befalls her. Hester and Rebekah are tested to their limits as they are drawn into investigating the wickedness that pervades and stalks those in London in their efforts to discover the horrifying truth whilst surrounded by a web of deception and facing great danger. Thanks to the hand of fate, Hester escapes her social strata, but finds herself with a family with a complicated history. The romance and passions that burgeon into existence challenge the society norms and conventions.Carlin writes in vibrant prose with descriptions that easily evokes the London of that period. However, there are times that this feels like an uneven read, largely due to the mixed pacing that does not always work. This did not interfere with my overall enjoyment of this wonderful piece of historical fiction. A highlight is the relationship between Hester and Rebekah. This is a compelling and entertaining read which I think many will enjoy reading. I look forward with great anticipation to Laura Carlin's next novel. Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of Hester White, who lives in London. The year is 1831 and life is hard. Hester was born into a family that was reasonably well off, but her parents both died when she was younger and for the past few years she has been living in poverty with her parents' gardener and his family.People are going missing in London. Hester knows about this but doesn't know who could be responsible. She is out one day and a horse and carriage knocks her down. The carriage is owned by Calder Brock, This is the story of Hester White, who lives in London. The year is 1831 and life is hard. Hester was born into a family that was reasonably well off, but her parents both died when she was younger and for the past few years she has been living in poverty with her parents' gardener and his family.People are going missing in London. Hester knows about this but doesn't know who could be responsible. She is out one day and a horse and carriage knocks her down. The carriage is owned by Calder Brock, a physician, who helps Hester by treating her injured leg and then taking her to stay in the country with his family. Calder's sister, Rebekah, begins to teach Hester and Hester starts to fall in love. Then Hester is sent a note telling her to leave before she is hurt.This was a good story, and although it was quite a convoluted plot, with many twists and turns, I was always able to follow exactly what was happening. The story takes a dark turn as it goes on, and I must admit I felt quite distressed in a couple of parts. The whole story is written from Hester's point of view, and I found it easy to empathise with her, and root for her. The descriptions of London were so vivid that I could almost smell it at times, and it was not a nice smell!The only thing that I will say is that at times the book was very wordy, and possibly a little too convoluted. I wasn't bored at any time but a couple of times I wanted the story to move along a bit quicker.I felt the book was very well-written and I would definitely be reading more from this author.Definitely recommend this book.Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me read this book.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Despite some brilliance in the evocative and lyrically expressive style, the book spent far too long lost in itself and was resolved by an 'actually-this-is-what-happened' ending in the form of a reported tale that was beyond ridiculous. The story started slowly, but for the most part that worked effectively to build the necessary character study of Hester as she escapes from her desperately poor situation into the possibility of a new life. Carlin was great here, building tentative but deep rel Despite some brilliance in the evocative and lyrically expressive style, the book spent far too long lost in itself and was resolved by an 'actually-this-is-what-happened' ending in the form of a reported tale that was beyond ridiculous. The story started slowly, but for the most part that worked effectively to build the necessary character study of Hester as she escapes from her desperately poor situation into the possibility of a new life. Carlin was great here, building tentative but deep relationships between the protagonist and supporting cast whilst the darker themes ran beneath: the questionable nature of the Brock family's past, the missing Londoners as well as two of the house's previous servants, and just what kind of people Hester has fallen in with. She has a strong, individual voice and her burgeoning love for and uncertain relationship with a certain character are strikingly rendered. A race through the pages part of the book that had me thinking 5 stars. And then the book lost its way. It's somewhat difficult to discuss why without spoilers but it felt too contrived and therefore lost its vitality, I quickly lost interest. Whilst the ending gave some kind resolution, its melodramatic and far fetched nature contrasted too greatly with the dirty realism of the London streets to which we had been so successfully transported by the author. It made it even more unrealistic and pulled the illusion firmly from my eyes.There's some genuine talent in the descriptive parts of the writing, but there needed to be more show, less tell, and some serious editing. ARC via Netgalley
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    So the circle is closed; the merchants have become the goods.I enjoyed this story greatly. It was atmospheric and an interesting storyline. I didn't guess what was going on to well into the second half of the book. The crimes were definitely of the age. The pace was a bit slow in the middle. I enjoyed the blossoming romance too.Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. All opinions are my own
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  • Bex (Beckie Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    🌟🌟🌟STARS.ARC-ReviewRelease Date-8/2/18The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin is a middle of the fence story for me.It is set against the backdrop of the slums of London in 1831 and features Hester White born the educated daughter of a parson she has fallen on hard times after the passing of her parents.Taken in by the gardener and his wife Hester soon Finds herself far far down with the dregs of society Using an opportunity of chance Hester finds herself in service to the Brocks using a falsehood to 🌟🌟🌟STARS.ARC-ReviewRelease Date-8/2/18The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin is a middle of the fence story for me.It is set against the backdrop of the slums of London in 1831 and features Hester White born the educated daughter of a parson she has fallen on hard times after the passing of her parents.Taken in by the gardener and his wife Hester soon Finds herself far far down with the dregs of society Using an opportunity of chance Hester finds herself in service to the Brocks using a falsehood to secure an improvement in her station, Hester finds a growing friendship with the enigmatic Rebecca Brock her new teacher.But there are secrets afoot and it's not long before Hester and Rebecca are caught in a web of intrigue and danger.So with this, I really enjoyed the beginning and I also found the end to be very exciting.However, the middle of "The Wicked Cometh" I struggled with, I found this to be a trifle long winded and I did find myself skimming quite frequently.This is the main reason I have rated this down slightly.Despite that, there is still plenty here to keep the attention and I must admit that I did become misled in regards to plot direction so bravo to the author for that.I also loved the uniqueness of this tale in regards to the relationship between Rebekah and Hester.And also the underlying mystery here, that managed to keep this afloat.And also found the language used here was of a very lyrical nature.This was also a nice touch.So that's about it, there were positives and negatives to this story for me.It was an alright read but didn't blow me away.NetGalley provided me with an ARC of "The Wicked Cometh" by Laura Carlin of which I have reviewed voluntary.All opinions expressed are entirely my own Reviewed By Beckie Bookwormhttps://www.facebook.com/beckiebookworm/www.beckiebookworm.com.
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Hester White, is a bright young woman and is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible. Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent ans mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations. Their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begi Hester White, is a bright young woman and is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible. Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent ans mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations. Their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the city where something some depraved is lurking.Set in 1832. This book has the perfect mix of setting and atmosphere., a friendship between two very different class of women from very different backgrounds. The story does seem to drag a bit in the middle, but it's still a good book. This will suit readers who like seedier plot lines.I would like to thank NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author Laura Carlin for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lucy Banks
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Lovely style of writing, intriguing topic, but meandering at times.Victorian setting, mysterious disappearances, a family with more secrets than you can shake a stick at... what's not to like?For the most part, this was a book that worked well - an authentic-feeling glimpse into Victorian life, told through the eyes of Hester, a quiet girl raised by a rough London couple after the death of her parents, then catapulte I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Lovely style of writing, intriguing topic, but meandering at times.Victorian setting, mysterious disappearances, a family with more secrets than you can shake a stick at... what's not to like?For the most part, this was a book that worked well - an authentic-feeling glimpse into Victorian life, told through the eyes of Hester, a quiet girl raised by a rough London couple after the death of her parents, then catapulted into a gentrified world after an accident on the road. But children are going missing, and gradually, the reader discovers the grisly reason why. I particularly liked the conclusion of this book (I won't spoil it for you) - it wasn't something I saw coming, and it worked well. There were a few moments where I had to suspend my disbelief a little (especially at the very end) - but I was happy to do so, as it was a compelling enough storyline. My main issue was the pace of the book - I felt it could have done with a little tightening; my attention did wane in a few places. However, I'm glad I stuck with it, it was entertaining and I very much liked the characters.
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  • Mackenzi
    January 1, 1970
    gimme.
  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Hester Hester what a character you are. How I loved being dragged into your world. I say dragged as it’s a fully immersive experience and the stench and squalor of your London is not for the faint hearted but what a journey it was!A girl from a poor family, raised by a rough couple and then in to a world of gentrification. There’s a good story right there. But this had missing children, missing children no one seemed to care about as they were from the poor part of town.Full review nearer the ti Hester Hester what a character you are. How I loved being dragged into your world. I say dragged as it’s a fully immersive experience and the stench and squalor of your London is not for the faint hearted but what a journey it was!A girl from a poor family, raised by a rough couple and then in to a world of gentrification. There’s a good story right there. But this had missing children, missing children no one seemed to care about as they were from the poor part of town.Full review nearer the timeLaura, Laura - please write more!
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    On a dark winter night, a book that promised to draw me back into the 19th century, into a story of family secrets and terrible crimes, called to me.It began with a newspaper report.‘This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type’ The Morning Herald, Tuesday 13 September 1831And then it told me the story of Hester White.H On a dark winter night, a book that promised to draw me back into the 19th century, into a story of family secrets and terrible crimes, called to me.It began with a newspaper report.‘This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type’ The Morning Herald, Tuesday 13 September 1831And then it told me the story of Hester White.Hester was a bright young woman who had very bad luck. Her childhood home had been a country parsonage, and she had been a much loved only child, but when her parents died, one after the other, she found herself alone in the world with no family to claim her. The elderly couple who had been the family’s servants took her in, hoping that the new parson would employ them and help the child. He did neither, and so they took her with them when they set out to look for work.They struggled, they found themselves living hand to mouth in a London slum, and Hester learned some very hard lessons.The writing was wonderful, I was very taken with Hester, and I was happy to follow her as the story unfolded.It was maybe because she was worried about one of those missing persons that she didn’t look where she was going and was crushed by a gentleman’s carriage. She was badly injured, but she was lucky because that gentleman took her home in her carriage, he made sure that she had all of the care and attention that she needed, and then he made her extraordinary proposal. He wanted her to stay, and to be educated by his sister; because he was a social reformer and he wanted to prove that slum dwellers could be educated, that they could better themselves …Hester seized the chance of a new life, but things went terribly wrong, she received a warning and she had to flee. She found though that she couldn’t go back and that she couldn’t let go of the new life she had been promised.I understood why she acted as she did, why she felt as she did, and I loved her voice as she told her story.I was interested in the relationships I saw, and with the relationships that were growing, with people she knew in London, with the servants who looked after her at Brock House, and with the Brock family and the people around them. There was one person in particular, a relationship that was uncertain at first but became firmer and stronger.I loved the way that the intrigue had developed. The Brock family relationships were strained and it was clear that there were dark secrets. Two of their servants were missing, as well as the missing Londoners, and it was by no means certain that Hester was safer there than she had been on the streets.I wish that I could say that the playing out of the story was as good as the setting up, but I can’t.It’s difficult to say why without saying too much, but there was a change of direction and it was too melodramatic and too far fetched for me, and the characters and relationships were compromised for the sake of the plot.There were times when questions should have been asked, but they weren’t; because the plot was rushing forward to the finish.It wasn’t entirely wrong, but it wasn’t right, and I couldn’t help thinking that the author was trying to do too much in one book and that there wasn’t the space to develop all of the different aspects of the story.I loved her writing, I loved her ideas, but the book as a whole didn’t quite work.The ending was infuriating. A door was very firmly closed, and then it was forced open again when it shouldn’t have been. I had thought the conclusion that I wanted couldn’t be, and just as I had accepted that I found that it had happened after all. It was right but it was wrong!I can believe that a different kind of reader would love the whole of this book.I can’t, but I found enough to admire in this book to be interested in seeing what its author does next.
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  • Bee (Heart Full of Books)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 43%The blurb was so gripping, but the story was just not. For me, there wasn't enough intrigue and the plot wasn't moving fast enough. The opening was a huge info-dump, and I know that because it's adult fiction the rules are slightly different, but that's no excuse for it to be dull. Maybe I'll pick it up again one day when I'm more in the mood for a slow start, but right now, it's not keeping my attention.
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  • Leonie Byrne
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley, Hodder and Stoughton and Laura Carlin for my ARC of The Wicked Cometh in exchange for an honest review. I’m really cheering Laura on as an author since I found out that like me, she lives in Derbyshire! It’s always great to discover an author from your own area, but anyway, I digress, on to the review! The Wicked Cometh is the debut novel from author Laura Carlin. Set in 1831 during the short reign of William IV and people are going missing. But only poor people, so it do Thank you to Netgalley, Hodder and Stoughton and Laura Carlin for my ARC of The Wicked Cometh in exchange for an honest review. I’m really cheering Laura on as an author since I found out that like me, she lives in Derbyshire! It’s always great to discover an author from your own area, but anyway, I digress, on to the review! The Wicked Cometh is the debut novel from author Laura Carlin. Set in 1831 during the short reign of William IV and people are going missing. But only poor people, so it doesn’t really matter right? But somebody has noticed, and somebody cares. Thrown together by chance, Hester White a young woman whom fortune has dealt a difficult hand, and Rebekah Brock a young woman fighting to be heard and respected in a man’s world, begin their own investigation into what is happening on the murky streets of London’s underworld. I loved the character of Hester right away. She’s down on her luck and in a position that she doesn’t deserve to be in, but there’s no sense of entitlement or ‘woe is me’ with her. She sees improving her position as working her way up there her dreams reach as far as becoming a ladies’ maid or a dairy maid, never does she think she deserves to be in some elevated status. I also liked Rebekah who is a fiesty feminist who clearly wants to be recognised for her intelligence and personality. Definitely not your typical woman. I loved the way the romance was handled too. I’m not going to say who it was between as I don’t like giving spoilers but I will say that for the time period this was set, it was so well written. It didn’t feel obligatory, or forced, it fitted into the story as a side story to the main event and played out perfectly. Happening naturally and with plenty of shipping from me, the reader. The writing style is impeccable and the storyline kept me engaged throughout, I didn’t feel it was ever losing my attention, it was very clearly well thought out and I loved the twists! I didn’t see a lot of what is coming which is rare for me lately. Overall a fantastic debut and I’ll be looking out for more from Laura.
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  • Karina Read
    January 1, 1970
    I flew through this novel, and despite quite a slow middle, the last third kept me up reading until the end. A bit darker than I expected, Carlin transports the reader back in time to the dark, gritty, poverty-sticken areas of London in this rags-to-riches-esque historical mystery. Her writing is atmospheric and creates vivid imagery through her descriptions. The tension between some of the characters and the desciption of Hester’s daily routine at Waterford was reminiscent of Du Maurier. It lef I flew through this novel, and despite quite a slow middle, the last third kept me up reading until the end. A bit darker than I expected, Carlin transports the reader back in time to the dark, gritty, poverty-sticken areas of London in this rags-to-riches-esque historical mystery. Her writing is atmospheric and creates vivid imagery through her descriptions. The tension between some of the characters and the desciption of Hester’s daily routine at Waterford was reminiscent of Du Maurier. It left me feeling uneasy in the first third of the story as I wasn’t sure which whispers to believe in regards to the Brock family. In fact, Carlin is excellent at making you feel unsettled which fit the mystery-murder plot well. The crimes were very much of the time which I appreciated, and I felt it came together believably.There are times where the writing is a bit clumsy and could do with a more show-not-tell approach and I think the middle section could be cut down to keep the pace flowing. I also felt that perhaps the romance could have had a slower build up. I realise that it begins in the slower section of the book, but i felt Hester became too obsessive a bit too quickly for it to feel natural. Even a comment on Hester’s previous feelings towards family/friends/potential love interests would have fleshed her out a little more and shown us how she normally interacts with people. The rapidity of her obsessiveness contrasts with the apparent ease in which she leaves other characters behind without much care as to whether they’d miss her, or her them. She didn’t seem to be particularly attached to anyone until Waterford, but I digress. Overall a good, fun read and I look forward to seeing more from the author.Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC :)
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    An intense and melodramatic tale of love and peril in darkest Victorian London. Velvety and rich atmosphere. 3.5 stars.
  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up an advanced proof copy of this at work and boy am I glad I did. This novel had the perfect mix of detail to atmosphere/setting and compelling characters who keep the story moving through all the beautiful descriptive writing. Carlin portrayed the period so authentically, particularly the disparity between the wealthy of early 19th century England and the poor living in London’s east end. I loved the protagonist and the host of characters surrounding her, they were all so unique and r I picked up an advanced proof copy of this at work and boy am I glad I did. This novel had the perfect mix of detail to atmosphere/setting and compelling characters who keep the story moving through all the beautiful descriptive writing. Carlin portrayed the period so authentically, particularly the disparity between the wealthy of early 19th century England and the poor living in London’s east end. I loved the protagonist and the host of characters surrounding her, they were all so unique and realistic. The way that Carlin releases new information about them slowly worked so cleverly, to the effect that I found myself repeatedly gasping at new revelations as I read. The novel overall reminded me of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, which shares many similar themes (and is also about queer women), so if you enjoyed that then I highly recommend giving this book a try when it comes out on February 8th.
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  • Beadyjan
    January 1, 1970
    An awful lot of historical murder mysteries with a blossoming relationship between 2 women from different backgrounds are inevitably compared to the wonderful writing of the inimitable Sarah Waters, and most fall terribly short of the mark.In the Wicked Cometh, this comparison is almost justified. Apart from a drawing out of the story in the middle which made it drag a teeny bit the storyline is excellent. Set in the grimiest courts and alleys of 1830s London where foul deeds are afoot, it is a An awful lot of historical murder mysteries with a blossoming relationship between 2 women from different backgrounds are inevitably compared to the wonderful writing of the inimitable Sarah Waters, and most fall terribly short of the mark.In the Wicked Cometh, this comparison is almost justified. Apart from a drawing out of the story in the middle which made it drag a teeny bit the storyline is excellent. Set in the grimiest courts and alleys of 1830s London where foul deeds are afoot, it is a rags to riches story of the very best kind which follows the fortunes of Hester, a young woman dragged up in the slums who lands in the lap of wealthy family by accident, literally, and ends up being offered a post as a companion to the mistress of the house the slightly mysterious spinster Rebekah Brock.As the two women are drawn together in their search to discover what is happening to the many folk in poorer parts of the city who are gong missing they become closer but the wickedness they uncover is darker than even they imagined.The characters have great pseudo Dickensian names, the locations are suitably filth and disease ridden to make one shudder and there is a budding romance. With a creditable twist in the tail and a real sense of misdemeanor and foulness its a gripping mystery and very dark in places. Well worth a read for anyone who like me is drawn to the seedier parts of london in a byegone era.
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin takes you on a trip back in time to Victorian London and the trials of being poor and living in slum conditions. I really liked the beginning of the book and the character of Hannah, but when she teamed up with Rebekah to try and solve the mystery of the people who had gone missing, I found the book lost a little of its charm. I would like to thank NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review
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  • Lauren James
    January 1, 1970
    With overtones of FINGERSMITH and THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE, this is a historical read for anyone who wants diversity in their gritty Dickensian rags-to-riches-and-back-again coming of age novel. Slow to start, it quickly picks up the pace and was a delightful romp. I can't wait to see what Carlin writes next. This luxurious cover hides dark depths within.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    [Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for kindly providing me with an eARC of the book via NetGalley – I greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review titles prior to their release, but this does not affect my overall opinion or review of the book itself.]The Wicked Cometh marks a departure for me – it’s the first time in quite a while that I’ve chosen to read a book that has no hint of fantasy or magic, and is purely historical fiction, albeit with a generous helping of the Gothic. The W [Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for kindly providing me with an eARC of the book via NetGalley – I greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review titles prior to their release, but this does not affect my overall opinion or review of the book itself.]The Wicked Cometh marks a departure for me – it’s the first time in quite a while that I’ve chosen to read a book that has no hint of fantasy or magic, and is purely historical fiction, albeit with a generous helping of the Gothic. The Wicked Cometh is the kind of historical fiction I enjoy – it doesn’t sugarcoat or glorify the Victorian age, instead it presents a London that is more about the blood and excrement in the back alleys of the busy thoroughfares than the refined drawing rooms of the elite in society. It proclaims to be “a novel of darkest London” and this book goes to some very dark places indeed, with the book opening with its protagonist, a parson’s daughter, now down-and-out, Hester White, asleep in an outside shed with only the ragged clothes she’s wearing as protection against the cold wind of the night that whistles through the slums in which she lives, a slum from which many people are going missing, with no explanation, or concern raised. What emerges from this less than auspicious start, via the fortuitous happenstance of a carriage accident putting Hester in the path of the aristocratic Brocks, is a story about how far it is possible to rise and fall and what nature of crimes both the upper and under classes commit in everyday life. It concerns the question of the period – can the lower classes be educated and, therefore, have a better “value” in the eyes of the government and society at large? These macrocosmic concerns are, naturally, dealt with through the journey of the novel’s protagonist Hester, as she meets some unsavoury characters along the way, in the slums and drawing rooms alike.My real delight in The Wicked Cometh was in the setting. London can sometimes be glorified as a bustling metropolis full of industry and commerce, but it also has its flip side, it is the home of the darker, more insidious stories such as Oliver Twist and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the den of rapscallions and rogues where truly evil deeds are committed right under the noses of the police force, perhaps even aided by it. Descriptions of this London always hold a place in my heart – and Carlin’s novel is no exception. There are some stunningly evocative descriptive sections during which I could practically feel the stifling fog through which Hester moved, the stench rising from the gutters she crossed, the sound of footsteps on cobble stones behind her as she was hotly pursued by brutes. This all culminated to present a very gripping and atmospheric world into which it was easy to sink and devour the story as it unfolded.As far as characters go, Hester White was an intriguing protagonist. The use of first-person narrator means we are never far from her innermost thoughts and feelings, which undoubtedly aids a reader to develop empathy for her trials and tribulations. Hester is inclined towards the hyperbolic as, I’m sure, we all are on occasion. However, it did slightly draw me out of the story at certain moments because her reaction seemed so overblown and heightened in its phrasing that it felt fake – I suddenly became very aware I was reading a crafted novel where, I’m sure, the author carefully crafted a beautiful, if over-dramatic, turn of phrase. Given that Hester can easily slip between “London vowels” (whatever they are) and a more aristocratic way of speaking, perhaps this heightened inner monologue is just the author’s way of illustrating it.I’m afraid that the reason I didn’t quite love this novel was purely down to narrative style, which is a matter of taste. Carlin does extremely well at emulating the tones of, especially, Charles Dickens in her sentence structures and lexical choices, but she does almost too well (for me) because her narrative also falls into a more sedate pacing that is common in 500-plus-page nineteenth-century novels. However, given the dark and twisted subject matter of just how little valued the underclasses of Victorian London are (or, rather, where their value lies – the concept of which, I loved), the plot often felt hampered by the narrative style which didn’t have quite as much urgency or suspense-building as I would have liked. It just didn’t quite work for me. Also, this is the third book in a row I’ve read (of all different genres) where the author chooses to tell the story in present, as opposed to the more commonplace past, tense… for no apparent reason. It doesn’t particularly aid the story in any way, it just creates a somewhat jarring effect for the first few pages, and meant I took longer than I ordinarily would to slip fully inside the world of the story, which I’m sure is the precise opposite effect of what telling a story in the present tense is meant to do.Overall, this was an extremely interesting concept which, for me, fell down slightly in execution. However, for any readers who enjoy authors such as Sarah Waters and Sarah Perry and Dickensian tales of the murky, deplorable backstreets of Victorian London, complete with ne’er-do-wells and bodysnatchers, The Wicked Cometh is an accomplished debut novel with solid characterisation and plotting that promises stunning things to come from Laura Carlin in the future.
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  • Mike Sumner
    January 1, 1970
    A most accomplished evocation of early nineteenth century England, written in prose that dazzles. Such erudition is the result of Laura Carlin’s impeccable research into life in the 1830s in London and the provinces. Hester White, a parson’s daughter, has fallen on hard times following her parents’ untimely demise at their Lincolnshire parish. Circumstances dictate her remove to London to live with her father’s gardener Jacob and his wife, Meg, whose services are no longer required by the incomi A most accomplished evocation of early nineteenth century England, written in prose that dazzles. Such erudition is the result of Laura Carlin’s impeccable research into life in the 1830s in London and the provinces. Hester White, a parson’s daughter, has fallen on hard times following her parents’ untimely demise at their Lincolnshire parish. Circumstances dictate her remove to London to live with her father’s gardener Jacob and his wife, Meg, whose services are no longer required by the incoming priest. The slum life that Hester endures is accompanied by the alarming disappearance of vulnerable innocents from London’s streets. When fate takes a hand Hester’s fortunes are changed for the better following an accident with a horse drawn cab. The occupant, Calder Brock, is a physician and Hester soon finds herself convalescing in an aristocratic world and seizes the chance to improve her wellbeing under the tutelage of the intelligent Rebekah Brock.Past events soon thrust Hester and Rebekah into a sinister world. Do the disappearances of persons in London have repercussions closer to home? What will happen when they are faced with unfathomable evil? Evil described in such graphic detail. There is a whiff of Edgar Allan Poe here, amidst the pallor of murky London: ”London Particular; it tastes of coddles eggs and coal-smoke, smells of quenched fires and horse-dirt…”And passages that have even Wikipedia confused: ”…sells you the best and most fashionable frocks and sutes of Fustian, Ticken and Holland, stript Dimmity, flannel and canvas…”The Wicked Cometh is a remarkable book, particularly as it is Carlin’s debut novel. It is like reading something published in the nineteenth century and yet with great lucidity; part romance, part Gothic terror and a final redemption that is totally satisfying.I loved this book and recommend it without reservation.With thanks to Hodder & Stoughton, Laura Carlin and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Vikki Patis
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely love a good historical fiction, especially those set in Victorian England. What a dark, dreary world it was. The Wicked Cometh looks at the era through both a poor and a privileged lens. Hester is an orphan, brought low when her parents died and living with their old gardener, whose past criminality tries to drag Hester down even further. Rebecca comes from a wealthy family, and is instructed to become Hester's teacher, when Rebecca's brother brings her back to their family home. Bo I absolutely love a good historical fiction, especially those set in Victorian England. What a dark, dreary world it was. The Wicked Cometh looks at the era through both a poor and a privileged lens. Hester is an orphan, brought low when her parents died and living with their old gardener, whose past criminality tries to drag Hester down even further. Rebecca comes from a wealthy family, and is instructed to become Hester's teacher, when Rebecca's brother brings her back to their family home. Both are women, suffering from the pressures that were put upon women at the time. They may be separated by class, but their experience is similar enough for them to find common ground, as women tend to do. They join together to solve the mystery of various disappearances, and find a deep friendship is blossoming between them. This is a great book, similar to others of the same ilk, but it stands apart as an enjoyable, exciting piece of fiction.
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  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyable enough...I felt for the first half,as we got to know Hester,and her feelings for Rebecca ,that we might well be in a Sarah Waters book...so similar was it.Then as we got more and more tangled in the story,it seemed like the without was throwing everything and everyone into the mix and making sure they all tied together.I thought it fairly obvious where the missing people were going,and obvious we were going to have our happy ending.Still enjoyed the many roads we went down to get there Enjoyable enough...I felt for the first half,as we got to know Hester,and her feelings for Rebecca ,that we might well be in a Sarah Waters book...so similar was it.Then as we got more and more tangled in the story,it seemed like the without was throwing everything and everyone into the mix and making sure they all tied together.I thought it fairly obvious where the missing people were going,and obvious we were going to have our happy ending.Still enjoyed the many roads we went down to get there.
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  • Judith
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC in return for an honest review.A beautifully penned debut novel from Laura Carlin with great attention to detail in portraying the massively contrasting lives of the rich and the poor in the 1830s in London and the surrounding countryside. Hester and Rebekah`s blossoming relationship is sympathetically evoked and the horrific nest of evil they become embroiled in compels the reader to keep going to the gory and inescapable co Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC in return for an honest review.A beautifully penned debut novel from Laura Carlin with great attention to detail in portraying the massively contrasting lives of the rich and the poor in the 1830s in London and the surrounding countryside. Hester and Rebekah`s blossoming relationship is sympathetically evoked and the horrific nest of evil they become embroiled in compels the reader to keep going to the gory and inescapable conclusion.The sole reason for awarding only 4 stars was the slowing of the plot denouement about halfway through the book but it was well worth persevering with it to the end.
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  • Karina
    January 1, 1970
    A richly textured, atmospheric novel set in England in the early 1800's, this has the plotting and tone of Dickens meets Jane Eyre with a dash of Sarah Waters thrown in.Tremendously entertaining and properly melodramatic in a Victorian sort of way, this book had me gripped to the end.The cover is also one of the most gorgeous things I've seen - worth framing.
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  • Nigel
    January 1, 1970
    Decent enough read, story was ok and characters were good. More than a 3, less than a 4 and rounded up for now. Full review nearer the time of publication.
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    This was very much a book of two halves for me. I struggled to get into it and didn’t overly enjoy the first half, but the second half really grabbed me and I couldn’t put it down. This book ticked a lot of boxes for me – Victorian, a mystery, dark deeds, murky London life and a bright, young heroine – I was very excited about reading it. The tale takes place in both London and in the country home of the Brocks. There is no denying that this book is beautifully written. Laura Carlin has managed This was very much a book of two halves for me. I struggled to get into it and didn’t overly enjoy the first half, but the second half really grabbed me and I couldn’t put it down. This book ticked a lot of boxes for me – Victorian, a mystery, dark deeds, murky London life and a bright, young heroine – I was very excited about reading it. The tale takes place in both London and in the country home of the Brocks. There is no denying that this book is beautifully written. Laura Carlin has managed to capture the dank, foggy, murky Victorian London streets superbly. You find yourself completely transported back to 1831, the people, the sights, the smells come alive as you read. It feels like you are walking the halls of Waterford Hall and the crackle of the library fire can be heard in your ear as you read about Hester and Rebekah.There are dangerous and sinister things going on in London and Hester and Rebekah take it upon themselves to seek the truth. People they know have gone missing without a trace and these two plucky, forthright ladies want to know what has happened to them. The truth is something neither of them can comprehend. Overall, I was slightly disappointed with this book, I wanted to love it but because it took me so long to get into it that took away from my enjoyment slightly. I think I was probably more my mind set than the book so please don’t let it put you off. The second half was fantastic! It is wonderfully written with twists and danger around every corner. I think a lot of readers will thoroughly enjoy it and I do recommend it.
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  • The Idle Woman
    January 1, 1970
    In the dark streets of early 19th-century Holborn, people are disappearing. Men, women and children vanish on their way home from work or after a pint in the pub. As the smogs thicken in the narrow streets, orphaned Hester White studies the handbills pasted up on the dank walls, begging for news of lost loved ones. It’s a bleak time to be poor in London and, when Hester suffers an accident near Smithfield Market, and is swept off for recuperation in the house of a wealthy surgeon, she thinks tha In the dark streets of early 19th-century Holborn, people are disappearing. Men, women and children vanish on their way home from work or after a pint in the pub. As the smogs thicken in the narrow streets, orphaned Hester White studies the handbills pasted up on the dank walls, begging for news of lost loved ones. It’s a bleak time to be poor in London and, when Hester suffers an accident near Smithfield Market, and is swept off for recuperation in the house of a wealthy surgeon, she thinks that she has escaped the dark belly of the underworld once and for all. Little does she know that she is only being drawn deeper into danger. A tale of Gothic threat and forbidden love, this novel reads like a cross between Sarah Waters and Grand Guignol...For the rest of the review, please see my blog:https://theidlewoman.net/2018/01/23/t...
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    The Wicked Cometh is a deliciously dark historical novel that is very much a refreshing and modern read. It's a story about survival, hope, friendship, and kindness in the most darkest of times. It's a lovely book. Set in the grime and the heart of London, The Wicked Cometh is set during Victorian times when only the strongest and most quick witted survive. The novel revolves around the disappearances of several children in central London. What and who is behind this mystery? The novel for me wo The Wicked Cometh is a deliciously dark historical novel that is very much a refreshing and modern read. It's a story about survival, hope, friendship, and kindness in the most darkest of times. It's a lovely book. Set in the grime and the heart of London, The Wicked Cometh is set during Victorian times when only the strongest and most quick witted survive. The novel revolves around the disappearances of several children in central London. What and who is behind this mystery? The novel for me worked because it was so authentic. I felt like I was wandering around the inner city streets, amongst the most deprived in the city, and then, due to a life changing event, finding myself alongside Hester as she is transported into the warmth of the Brock family. This book is part historical novel, part mystery and ultimately it is a love story. There are many multilayered events to this novel that make it hard to define as simply one genre. It's just enough to say that it is a highly enjoyable read. So, we have Hester, born to privilege, an educated young woman who through the death of her parents finds herself thrust into poverty, as she relocates to London while living with her old gardener and his wife. It is only through a chance encounter with the gentleman Mr Brock, that Hester's life path is changed forever.This novel is refreshing as it focuses upon two very strong and inspiring female characters. Rebekah and Hester. Both women are from different backgrounds, different lives, and although Rebekah's role is to give Hester an education as part of a social experiment, it is actually Hester who inspires and teaches Rebekah. The two women complement each other and I loved the dialogue and interaction between them. This Wicked Cometh is beautifully written, it's deliciously slow paced which I found pleasantly surprising in contest to today's fast paced thrillers. The slow pace suited the narrative as we slowly followed Rebekah and Hester in their quest to solve the mystery of the missing children. Nothing is ever easy though, and the book proves this with several unexpected but delightful twists. I thoroughly enjoyed this dark, historical and mystery novel with its captivating characters and exquisite writing. It's a remarkable debut novel. With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy
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  • michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Hodder & Stoughton, Laura Carlin and Netgalley for an ARC of this book. The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carling is set in Victorian East End of London in 1831. 18-Year-old Hester White as fallen on hard times after the death of her parents. She lives with her uncle who wants to drag her in the dark murky slums. After an accident she is taken by a man called Calder to live with him and his sister Rebekah as experiment and teach her the finer things in life. They discover that young peopl Thank you Hodder & Stoughton, Laura Carlin and Netgalley for an ARC of this book. The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carling is set in Victorian East End of London in 1831. 18-Year-old Hester White as fallen on hard times after the death of her parents. She lives with her uncle who wants to drag her in the dark murky slums. After an accident she is taken by a man called Calder to live with him and his sister Rebekah as experiment and teach her the finer things in life. They discover that young people seem to go be going missing and Hester and Rebekah go out of their way to find out what is happening to them.I love historical novels and especially in this type of era. This was beautifully written. The style of writing and the characterisation in this book was good. But I found the start quite slow. I also didn’t much like any of the characters in this book. But after Hester met Rebekah the story I enjoyed it very much. 3 stars for me.
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  • michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Hodder & Stoughton, Laura Carlin and Netgalley for an ARC of this book. The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carling is set in Victorian East End of London in 1831. 18-Year-old Hester White as fallen on hard times after the death of her parents. She lives with her uncle who wants to drag her in the dark murky slums. After an accident she is taken by a man called Calder to live with him and his sister Rebekah as experiment and teach her the finer things in life. They discover that young peopl Thank you Hodder & Stoughton, Laura Carlin and Netgalley for an ARC of this book. The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carling is set in Victorian East End of London in 1831. 18-Year-old Hester White as fallen on hard times after the death of her parents. She lives with her uncle who wants to drag her in the dark murky slums. After an accident she is taken by a man called Calder to live with him and his sister Rebekah as experiment and teach her the finer things in life. They discover that young people seem to go be going missing and Hester and Rebekah go out of their way to find out what is happening to them.I love historical novels and especially in this type of era. This was beautifully written. The style of writing and the characterisation in this book was good. But I found the start quite slow. I also didn’t much like any of the characters in this book. But after Hester met Rebekah the story I enjoyed it very much. 3 stars for me.
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