Cover Image: Garden of Sins

Garden of Sins

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Member Reviews

Set in 1890 London, this Victorian mystery is well written with a bit of a bite to it.  Sara Bain Barrett, a crime scene photographer, and her husband Detective Inspector Barrett are on a train when it suddenly crashes.  Many people are injured and even killed.  The couple helps in the rescue effort and discover a dead woman.  Her death was not the result of the crash but has a more sinister cause.  

Sarah's father is in prison awaiting his trial for rape and murder which took place two decades prior.  Most feel he is guilty, a few feel he is innocent.  Sarah and her sister's views differ, too.  The Barretts investigate murder and Sarah's father's reputation affects her every move.  Not only are there murder and compelling complex family dynamics but also another set of characters at a dicey pleasure park as a side story.  The plot and subplots all tie in nicely.  

The most interesting aspects in my view are the Jack the Ripper reference and the royal connection.  Details like that really add; however, the sex scene does not.  The Victorian era is my favourite to read about but for some reason I did not feel the atmosphere here.

My sincere thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this fascinating book!
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When I chose this book I did not realize that it was part of a series, let alone book #6. However, despite not having read 1-5, I still thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was thrilling, sad and had me turning pages almost faster than I could read. 

The story centers around Sarah and Thomas Barrett. She a famous crime scene photographer and he a police officer. Apparently they had a hand in stopping Jack the Ripper, a story I must now read, prompting me to look for books 1-5. This time though Sarah is dealing with the impending trial of her estranged father, who is looking at hanging for the death of a young girl 24 years earlier. She has doubts on his innocence but is still open to finding out the truth. At the same time this is going on, Sarah and Barrett (what she calls him) are drawn into a murder involving a circus, royalty and a massive cover-up of heinous crimes. The events taking place at Cremorne Gardens, a place Sarah remembers her father taking her before he went on the run. 


Set in the Victorian Era, Sarah is unlike the other women of her time. She has a job most people consider to be unconventional and even unsavory, she's independent and sticks her nose in where it isn't welcome (from what I could tell from this book) I felt like the story for the most part fits the time period and I like the use of real places. I felt the pacing was good and the climax at the end was perfect, and a tad frustrating. But all in all, I really enjoyed the story and I am very much looking forward to picking up books 1-5 so that I can get to know these characters better!
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My first book in the series and I was so immersed and impressed with this story, that I immediately went in search of the previous novels.  It was well written, well plotted, and atmospheric which draws the reader in and keeps them captivated,
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This series is definitely one of the historical mysteries that I enjoy reading and I’m always looking forward to the next book. This is the sixth book in the series and I highly recommend reading the previous books because there’s some storylines in this one that won’t make sense. For example, the three plots regarding Sarah’s father, Jane, and Reid won’t mean much without the previous books. 

In this one, Sarah’s father’s trial is finally here. This causes some issues in many ways with several members of Sarah’s family, who all disagree on his guilt. It turns out that Sarah still has some plans to try to figure out what happened. 

At the same time, Sarah and Bennett find a body and it turns out there’s a connection to Pinkerton, a member of the Royal Family, as well as a seedy carnival/theater. 

This is a grittier historical mystery, which I like more than fluffy stories. There’s a focus on our unconventional heroine Sarah and her family and friends. I like that certain plot lines have been tied up and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to these characters going forward. My one issue is that the whodunit regarding her father’s trial was tied up a little too conveniently but I’m particularly interested to see if Sarah and her sister’s relationships improves at all. I’ll definitely be reading the next book when it comes out!
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#GardenOfSins#NetGally
By: Laura Joh Rowland
Review: Librarian

A troublesome theme park tries to make a questionable comeback in Victorian-era London. A married couple, she a photojournalist and he a policeman somewhat join forces to solve the brutal murder of a woman Pinkerton detective whose body is found in a train crash. Personal problems plus work conflicts pull the couple in opposite directions as they struggle to solve murders and solve the mystery of the theme park.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and publisher.
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I've read this series since the first book and have enjoyed watching the character development that began with Sarah on her own and then creating a little "family" with Hugh and Mick, her discovery of her half sister, and eventually her marriage to the police detective Barrett. I believe this one is book 6 and it focuses on Sarah's father being accused of rape and murder years earlier. It may be hard to follow for anyone who hasn't read the series from the beginning, which I highly recommend doing. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an early copy of another great addition to Rowland's Victorian mystery saga.
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3.8 Stars 

Garden of Sins brings the famous photojournalist Sarah and her police officer husband, Barrett, back into action. This time, Sarah has more than her hands full with her father’s trial (a cold case), her sister’s anger as Sarah is still doubtful about her father’s innocence, the death of a stranger, the mysterious events at Cremorne Gardens, and the trouble in her newly married life. 
It’s too much to handle at once, but Sarah knows she has to do what she always did- tackle things head-on and trust her instincts. 
With danger and mistrust surrounding her, can Sarah come out victorious and save her marriage? 
I directly read book 5 last year and enjoyed the unconventional heroine from the Victorian era. The book doesn’t deal with nobles and balls but rather with the common folk. Though the language seems a bit too modern at times, I don’t mind it much. 
Book 6 brings a sort of closure to a couple of sidetracks from book 5. While the previous book wasn’t that hard to read and understand as a standalone, this one is different. It might seem too vague and messy without book 5 to support the storylines of-
•	Sarah’s father’s trial
•	The triangle of Sarah-Barrett-Jane
Both these have been more or less resolved in this book. The father’s trail is sorted (no spoilers) with a new twist that seems a bit too convenient. 
The actual case of the book is centered on the illegal activities in the seedy pleasure park called the Cremorne Gardens. The case involves even the royalty, and we cannot expect the expected outcome in such instances, can we? (Yeah, that’s me trying to avoid spoilers) 
Hugh is still recovering from his injury and heartbreak (ref: book 5). Mick and Anjali are more than friends, but Sarah is rightly worried about how it would affect the two. After all, they are still so young. 
I guess we can do without the mandatory sex scene between the lead couple just for the sake of it.
The book progresses at a steady pace, and the climax has good action scenes. The mystery element isn’t the strength of the book. The characters are, and that’s where the knowledge of the previous book ensured that I enjoyed this one. 
The author will have to come up with a new sidetrack for the next in the series, and I'm looking forward to reading that one (though I need to go back and finish books 1-4 in the meantime). 
To sum up, Garden of Sins is an interesting and engaging continuation of the Portrait of Peril. I’m not sure it’ll hold the readers’ interest as a standalone despite the backstory provided in bits and pieces. 
Thank you, NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for the ARC.
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I really enjoyed reading this book! I loved the strong, independent protagonist. She was sassy and brave which made her very likeable, although greatly uncharacteristic during the Victorian era. I didn’t want to put the book down as there were a couple different mysteries going on at the same time which kept me captivated as well as conflict amongst the main characters. The timing for clues to unfold was perfect as I had no inkling as to who was guilty of each crime until the author revealed it us. Thank you for this quick and enjoyable read
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London, November 1890. Crime scene photographer Sarah Bain Barrett faces a perfect storm of events. She and her husband Detective Sergeant Barrett are riding on a train that crashes. While rescuing other passengers, they find a woman who's been strangled to death. They face numerous obstacles trying to solve the young womans murder along with trying to help free her father who has been accused and is standing trial on charges of rape. I love this strong, female protagonist and now that she is teamed up with her husband, they are a formidable pair. The story a;; comes together in a very satisfying conclusion. This is a wonderful series and while this could read as a standalone, I recommend starting at the beginning so that things tie together a bit more neatly. Plus, they are all amazing reads. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced readers copy for review.
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It was OK, but I don't think this is an author I'll continue reading.  The characters didn't engage me and the sexual "exhibit" and the way the characters responded didn't work for me.
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Sarah and Bennett are drawn into a murder investigation while they are in a train accident. Sarah also sets out to clear her father’s name in a cold case. With the help of her friends she solves the first case and gets her father out of jail. The author clearly draws the line between the two cases and the investigations. The domestic part is churlish and hopefully cleared with this book. Other than that the plot and narrative are good but the conclusion leaves out the main perpetrator with just a dig at the monarchy.
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This is a series I discovered thanks to NetGalley when the last book was published. Since then I have read the entire series and love it! Gritty and realistic, the stories show the underbelly of London during the late 1800s. Saran Bain Bennett is a fascinating protagonist - a dedicated crime photographer in the nasty and competitive newspaper industry, she has flaws and insecurities but an overwhelming desire for justice for those who cannot seek it for themselves. Her husband, Thomas, a London police officer is a good match - he also has his flaws but loves Sarah despite her hang ups and he knows when to look the other way. The other supporting characters including Lord High, Mick and her sister Sally are all interesting as well. This particular mystery leads them into another crime with possible royal implications and of course, clashes with Inspector Reid.. While trying to solve one murder, Sarah's father is being tried for another. Torn between the two, she doesn't feel as if she is helping anyone. I can honestly say both murders come to a surprising conclusion. Thank you to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of #GardenofSins!
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I am a giant fan of Historical Fiction and have read a great many books set during the Victorian era and this book did not ring true- at all. The sense of place and time was missing -It felt modern with a few Victorian elements added. 

The language felt inauthentic as well. The dialogue and sensibilities did not read Victorian. 

All that before we even get to the mystery which our main character felt duty bound to solve and I couldn’t figure why. 

Not a series or an author for me.
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Book number 6 in this series, but the first one I read. It was bit hard to place the main characters as there is definitely a history there, but overall, it was not difficult to get into. We follow Crime Scene photographer Sarah Barrett and her sister through trial of their father who has been accused of rape and murder a teen 20 years ago. At the same time her husband (Detective Sergeant Barrett) and Sarah are asked to investigate a murder that leads them to Cremorne Gardens, a carnival/museum/theater … that has royal connection, so hush is the word.
I enjoyed the book, but reading the previous books will definitely help, I was a bit taken back about some explicit details in one chapter, and could probably have done without that.
Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an early read in exchange of my opinion.
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