The Angel Makers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

this series just keeps getting better and better , love the characters and can't wait to read more of this series , with that said i want to say thanks to Netgalley for letting me read and review the second book in this series in change for my honest opinion
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The Angel Makers by Tessa Harris is the second A Constance Piper Mystery.  Constance Piper is a flower seller in 1888 London where Jack the Ripper is making his presence known.  Constance is out with her sister, Florence and their friend, Cath.  Cath is still reeling from the death of her daughter, Evie a year earlier.  She left her with baby farmer who promised to find Evie a good home.  Cath changed her mind the next day only to be told that Evie died overnight.  The next morning Cath is found dead in Clark’s Yard from strangulation.  Constance with the aid of her ghostly friend, Emily Tinsdall sets out to find who harmed her friend.  The police are not going to look to deeply into a prostitute’s murder.  Constance begins her investigation by gathering intel on the woman who took in Cath’s daughter, Mother Delaney.  There seems to be something sinister going on in that Poplar household.  As the evidence mounts up, Detective Sergeant Hawkins joins Constance on the search for truth and justice.

The Angel Makers has an intriguing premise.  I had not heard about baby farmers prior to this book.  These poor women trusted an individual to watch their child (for a fee) or to find a loving and caring family to adopt their child.  Unfortunately, it was a different era without the proper protections in place for the mothers and their children.  The Angel Makers is based on an actual case.  The author provides details at the end of the novel on Amelia Dyer and her misdeeds.  While the mystery was interesting, I had a hard time wading through The Angel Makers. Tessa Harris’ descriptions of the area, the clothing, and their speech were accurate for the time period.  The descriptions allowed me to visualize the scenes.  The author included historical details that enhanced the book.  You can tell that Ms. Harris did her research for this series. I found it difficult, though, to get into the story.  The POV switches between Constance and Emily Tindall which leads to a disjointed book.  I would get involved in Constance’s story and it then switches to Emily.  So, I switch gears and find out what Emily is up to.  Just as you get involved in the scenario, it switches again.  I found the writing awkward, formal and stilted. The pace of the book was slow (I think snails move faster than the storyline). I believe The Angel Makers would have been better if it had been written from the third person.  While the mystery is complicated, I found it a simple matter to pinpoint the guilty person.  The Angel Makers can be read alone.  Details from The Sixth Victim are included.  My rating for The Angel Makers is 2 out of 5 stars.  While The Angels Makers was not a hit with me, that is not true for other readers.  I suggest you obtain a sample to see if this The Angel Makers is the right fit for you.
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I have to pass on the sequel to The Sixth Victim, as I did not care for the character Emily's role in the book as a spirit. I started the Angel Makers and saw that she was still in the series :(  It just didn't jive for some reason.  While I still rated the first book a 3, I have a feeling I will rate this one lower so am going to pass on reading it.
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The Angel Makers, book two from A Constance Piper Mystery series,  is a pretty good mystery. I enjoyed it and give it 4 1/2 stars.
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"In Victorian England, flower seller Constance Piper goes searching for the truth behind a new rash of murders in London’s East End...

In November 1888, the specter of Jack the Ripper instills fear in every woman who makes her living on the streets of London. But there are other monsters at large, those who shun fame and secretly claim their victims from among the city’s most vulnerable...

Options are few for unmarried mothers in Victorian England. To avoid stigma, many find lodging with “baby farmers”—women who agree to care for the infant, or find an adoptive family, in exchange for a fee. Constance Piper, a flower seller gifted with clairvoyance, has become aware of one such baby farmer, Mother Delaney, who promises to help desperate young mothers and place their babies in loving homes. She suspects the truth is infinitely darker.

Guided by the spirit of her late friend, Emily Tindall, Constance gathers evidence about what really goes on behind the walls of Mother Delaney’s Poplar house. It’s not only innocent children who are at risk. A young prostitute’s body is found in mysterious circumstances. With the aid of Detective Constable Hawkins, newly promoted thanks to Constance’s help with his last case, Constance links the death to Mother Delaney’s vile trade. But the horror is edging closer to home, and even the hangman’s noose may not be enough to put this evil to rest..."

Yes, it's true, say Jack the Ripper and I'm interested...
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This one was a disturbing read for me because of the subject matter involved: a Victorian baby selling ring that is headed by a viperous woman (based on the very real Amelia Dyer) who has no concern for, and, indeed, causes the deaths of, the infants she deals in.

Ms. Harris is a talented writer who spins a unique tale, bringing together plot, characters, and historical fact in a fascinating, if dark story, set against the backdrop of the Jack the Ripper murders. The twist in this series is compelling. Constance is a flower girl who has developed a psychic connection with the spirit of Miss Emily, a murder victim Constance had known in life. Miss Emily is integral to solving these despicable murders.

Constance is a winning heroine who works to rise above her poverty and lack of education, and her sleuthing brings her into contact with all layers of Victorian society and especially into the orbit of young Detective Constable Hawkins. 

I will look forward to Constance's third outing.

Full Disclosure--Net Gallery and the publisher provided me with a digital ARC of this book. This is my honest review.
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This is a Victorian murder mystery loosely based in part on the infamous baby farmer Amelia Dyer. It took me a few chapters to become accustomed to the style of writing, as the author writes in the present tense swapping between the voices of our heroine Constance Piper and the spirit of her former teacher Emily Tindall who comes to her aid at times of crisis. Not such an odd concept for the Victorians, a lot of whom were quite at ease with mediums and the spirit world. Although the book is perfectly enjoyable on its own, I personally would have much preferred to have read the previous book first as quite a lot of references are made to events which have happened previously and I think this would have given a better background to the story. There is a good plot and lots of action, making this a book I very much enjoyed and am happy to recommend.
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Jack the Ripper casts a gloom over this novel but it's not about him- it's about women and babies who were exploited.  The story is told in alternating chapters by Constance and her dead friend Emily.  There's a paranormal element to this (Constance is clairvoyant and Emily is, well, dead) but it's in keeping with the Victorian era where this was a big thing.  Good characters and atmospherics but this is less a mystery than it is about how the evil Mother Delany (she so doesn't deserve that title) is uncovered.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  This is the second in a series but can easily be read as a standalone.  For fans of historical fiction.
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Historical mysteries are my favorite genre, so I was really looking forward to reading The Angel Makers. The action takes place in London of 1889, about the same time and place as the Jack the Ripper murders. It involves the notorious baby farming industry, with portrayals of the evils of the poverty and class inequality of the era. For those who care, there’s no romance and it’s actually based on real events. The book’s descriptions of the setting as well as the speech patterns of the characters all seem to be authentic, which usually allows me to get lost in a different place and time. Unfortunately, the writing style stopped me from getting too involved.  It is written in first person present tense which is a tricky thing to pull off in a book. Descriptions tend to be awkward and stagey, instead of the natural flow when using past tense and a certain depth of experience is missing. The narration in the book also flipped between two characters every chapter which became very irritating as it made it hard to get vested in either character. The suspense was ruined too, because it made the action somewhat choppy.  I finally got into the plot by the middle of the book. There was a good story here, which I eventually enjoyed. But I think it would have been better served using a different style.
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London, 1888. In the middle of the hunt for Jack the Ripper, a new series of murders arises. A series of infants are being found choked to death and disposed of. At the same time, a woman is found dead with markings of string around her neck. The police is not so keen to investigate ; however, Constance Piper is not going to let her friend's murder go down unpunished. 

Between searching for her friend's murderer and investigating for a mother whose baby was mysteriously lost after being put up for adoption in a strange family, Constance will find herself,  guided by the spirit of a lost friend, in the middle of a dark baby farming scheme. Will she be able to uncover the truth on her own? Are the police going to believe her? And is she in danger herself?

The Angel Makers is a mystery story, blended very well with historical fiction. Based on real events of the Victorian era, the setting is well researched and the story is very interesting. Even though it is part of a mystery series, the book stands perfectly well on its own, and all characters have a sufficient background story. Its descriptive scenes could probably have been a little shorter, but it was an interesting read nonetheless. Recommended for the fans of mysteries and historical fiction.
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Tessa Harris’s newest Constance Piper mystery will send you deep into the darkest corners of Victorian London.  Jack the Ripper is killing women, baby farmers are killing infants, and poverty and disease are killing everyone else.  The story is told by two characters, one alive, and one dead.  The clairvoyant aspect of this novel wasn’t as appealing to me as the atmospheric mystery, but I was intrigued and connected with Constance’s life and story.
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It's a well written story, with a great pace, good mix of paranormal and thriller. The atmosphere was great it gave the novel a gothic, eerie feeling.. It's not 5  star review because I knew who the murderer was early on.
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In this second book of the series, Jack the Ripper continues to terrorise London but the women still have other problems to contend with. Constance Piper, a clairboyant and flower seller, becomes suspicious via a friend of 'baby farmers'. Here we have the story told from Constance's point of view and also her dead friend, Emily Tindall. 
Unfortunately I didn't really get interested in the story or engaged with the characters.
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I got very emotionally invested in this story. I mean how can you not when you’re up against BABY FARMERS?! It’s also inspired by real life events, look up Amelia Dyer & her mug shots will give you the willies! 

I love how THarris layered the mystery, I thought the culprits were all revealed until that little twist in the end. A small one but it sure made a big difference in the story & on my impression on the author as a whole (this is my first book of hers that I read). And though I missed the first book in the series (I don’t recommend it), the absence of an overarching arc helped me acclimate to Constance Piper’s world without a hitch.
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"A woman is most dangerous to herself when she is desperate to be loved." (Vanessa P.A. Evelyn)

And desperate times visit London in December of 1888. This is especially true if you are female, alone, and with child. The innocence that you carry within, under those circumstances, will be prey for the soulless evil-doers who bear no thought to the babe or to the mother herself.

Mother Delaney stands on a darkened corner in the Poplar district near the East India Docks. She listens for the hurried footsteps of Louisa Fortune. Louisa's arms are wrapped around her infant son, Bertie, for the last time. Fate and a spineless man have necessitated this baby exchange in which Louisa will thrust five pound notes into Mother Delaney's outstretched hands. Mother Delaney, rosey-cheeked and grinning, will see to little Bertie being placed in a good home. For that is her calling.......baby farmer.

Constance Piper, flower seller in the Whitechapel district, must be alert to the shadows in these streets that hide the likes of Jack the Ripper. But she and her sister, Flo, are celebrating Christmas cheer in a local pub with their friend Cath. Cath darts into the night excusing herself to run some late errands. One member of this trio will later be found dead in a back alley. Was it Jack or was it someone with a vengeance that she already knew?

Tessa Harris revisits the streets of Whitechapel once again in this second book of the series. The Angel Makers can be read as a standalone. Harris creates a multi-pronged storyline with short, action-packed chapters in the voice of alternating characters. Constance has the gift of clairvoyance and Harris uses this without over-kill throughout this story. It adds just the right amount of eerie and creepiness to those already mysterious streets in which a killer is on the loose and babies are at the mercy of a relentless grandmother.

Harris reveals her inspiration for The Angel Makers. Mother Delaney's character is based on the real-life Amelia Dyer who ran a baby farm with her daughter and son-in-law. Such reality makes the little hairs stand up on your neck.

The lively character of Constance Piper was front and center in the first book, The Sixth Victim. She remains so in this offering as well. Constance, bright and analytical, uses her gift to work with the police and with Louisa Fortune to uncover many dastardly deeds. The historically correct dialogue adds to the Victorian flavor and Tessa Harris presents another fine one, indeed.

I received a copy of The Angel Makers through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Kensington Books and to the talented Tessa Harris for the opportunity.
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I received 'The Sixth Victim' for review before, and was quite thrilled to receive this book as well. I really like the setting of Victorian London, including the various ways in which this book tells about this society. There was Jack the Ripper off course, and this book points out the practices of baby farming and how desperate some poor mothers were. Then there were the paranormal parts again - being vastly popular in this era, it seems to belong in a book like this.
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Tessa Harris is skilled with the narrative that switches POV between Constance Piper and Emily Tindall.  Constance is a a lowly flower girl in 1889 London.  Jack the Ripper is stalking the street but he is not responsible for all the deaths that are being found.  Most tragic is the infant deaths that are being discovered wrapped with twine in packages.  Emily is the paranormal force that leads Constance to aid the police in solving these crimes.  It would be best to read the first in this series "The Sixth Victim" to achieve all the necessary background. "A copy of this book was provided by Kennsington Books via Netgalley with no requirements for a review.  Comments here are my honest opinion."  Crime drama fans wanting a strong female lead will not want to miss this.
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This is the second book in “A Constance Piper Mystery” series. It’s set in Victorian England (1888). Jack the Ripper continues to send fear throughout London. However, he’s not the only concern for the women of the city.

Constance Piper is a flower seller who happens to be clairvoyant. She suspects something is going on with the “baby farmers,” and she sets out to discover just what that is. With her late friend Emily as her spirit guide, Constance will work with Detective Constable Hawkins to uncover what horrors are taking place in the city.
The premise of the book intrigued me, but it didn’t quite live up to its potential. The pace was on the slow side, and it was hard to stay engaged. The story is told in alternating POV’s (Constance and Emily), which muddied things a bit, as well. I never really developed much of a connection with either woman. There is more of a paranormal angle than I was expecting, but that wasn’t necessarily a problem. I didn’t read the first book in the series, so perhaps that would have made a difference. There are a lot of historical details, which was nice.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.
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