When knowing is a burden

The Fire in the Glass by Jacquelyn Benson

r/suggestmeabook: I want a mystery set in Edwardian England focused on a defiantly independent and lonely young woman with precognition.

Movie rating: PG

Pages: 494

Publisher: Vaughn Woods Publishing

Series: The Charismatics

From the publisher: For as long as she can remember, Lily has been plagued by psychic visions of the future. Never once has she been able to prevent the horrors she foresees from coming to pass. Now a mysterious fiend is stalking London. The tabloids shriek of vampires, but Lily knows the killer is a different kind of monster, one who could be caught and brought to justice before he strikes again.

The satisfaction at concluding a well told tale never gets old, and Jacquelyn Benson delivers that lovely feeling with this marvelous book. The characters are compelling and well drawn, the plot intriguing, and the prose lively. Even though this is envisioned as the first installment in the series, it feels complete in itself.

As she climbed, she watched for Cat, an enormous beast who did not belong to anyone in the house but was impossible to eradicate. Cat had a penchant for sleeping in places designated to endanger the lives of unsuspecting passersby.

Jacquelyn Benson, The Fire in the Glass

The details of Lily’s estrangement from her fellows may differ from what you or I may have gone through, but the experience of feeling excluded, of being different because of factors you can’t control—that’s not so different. Lily struggles with doing everything herself, taking on more responsibility than she should, just to protect her heart, to keep from being vulnerable.

She kept trying. She fought to win her lonely battle against fate despite the steely opposition of the nannies and the guilt, grief, and gutting frustration—right up until the day her mother died.

Jacquelyn Benson, The Fire in the Glass

But those details are what makes the story intriguing, as well as the way in which she begins to face up to her fears. There’s Estelle, the neighbor who has wormed her way into Lily’s heart, making her irreplaceable and any threat to her unthinkable. Estelle introduces her to the mysterious Mr. Ash, who asks for more faith than Lily has. Lily also meets the enigmatic Lord Strangford, who has secrets of his own.

The words resonated. Lily knew that fear. It had lingered at the back of her mind for as long as she could remember. Humanity was not kind to difference.

Jacquelyn Benson, The Fire in the Glass

The pace builds well over the course of the story, and the anomalies of Lily’s life as an Edwardian woman are dealt with head-on—mostly by her class and background justifying her refusal to act completely within society’s dictates.

The ton was generally happy to presume that a child conceived in sin carried the same loose morals in her blood like some sort of hereditary disease, one they apparently thought contagious.

Jacquelyn Benson, The Fire in the Glass

The theme of the willingness of powerful men to sacrifice powerless women is explored within the novel, and although most of those men still find themselves justified, there are some who are enlightened in the process. There’s a darkness at the heart of the story, but it’s a darkness which is being fought.

The Fire in the Glass was a pleasure to read, and I look forward to the next installment.

2 thoughts on “When knowing is a burden

  1. *waves!*

    You left a comment about this novel on a post I was replying to on the 13th Shelf!? I hoped you might have blogged about it yourself – after a few tries, I found your Book Index and it led me (after I searched by title) to this lovely review! I love moments like those – where I get to find out about a book/author I hadn’t heard of previously and get to randomly visit a new book blogger to boot! Speaking of which – if you want to know which authors/stories made my Top Memories for 2020 be sure to read my #BestOfBooks2020 (first post in January, 2021) as much as my final post for 2019 which was called: Jorie’s favourite #newtomeauthors of 2019 — as I actively have Indie Authors taking top slots in my readerly life whenever I am compiling favourite lists!! You might spy out a few new series/authors for yourself.

    Now, then,… about the story at hand,..

    I am wholly intrigued by the plot and the character but I am concerned about a few particulars – such as the beast and the darker forces churning in the background. I sometimes get burnt on mysteries and/or thrillers to where I have to caution my own instincts about what I’m reading. Hmm… I’m a bit on the fence with this one. Glad to know its PG that was another concern as I don’t like overt violence anymore than I want explicitly peppered vuglarity. I’ll have to weigh it a bit more but I’m thankful you’ve reached out and mentioned this title.

    In regards to how its a genre-bent tale, that definitely appealled to me!!

    Liked by 1 person

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