Cover Image: Cry of the Innocent

Cry of the Innocent

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Member Reviews

'Cry of the Innocent' follows Faith Clarke, a widowed tavern owner in Williamsburg at the start of the American Revolution. When a body is found in her tavern, a witch-hunt ensues for the person responsible. I didn't expect to enjoy this one nearly as much as I did! It combines two genres I really enjoy - historical fiction and mysteries/thrillers - in such a neat way. It's extremely clear the author did thorough research on the time period. Really excited to see more from her!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to read and review this book. I love a good historical mystery but this one dragged way to much for me. The characters and the plot were interesting and the book was a fairly easy read.
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I received this from

Set in colonial Virginia, April 1774. "Faith Clarke awakes in the middle of the night to discover a man savagely murdered in her tavern."

An okay read. It was interesting to read about life and times in revolutionary America.

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This was an enjoyable read that was part historical fiction part mystery. and it worked well. It was well written with good characters that were well developed and endearing. A good read
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This book is a bit historical fiction, a bit murder mystery and a great era.  

This is a wonderful story of murder, innocence, freedom.  It is such a well written and well researched book you feel you are there.  It is intriguing and interesting, easy to read as the story flows and you can follow it and understand it.

The characters have a strength and likability about them which makes the story all that more interesting.  The historical aspect is very interesting and the murder/mystery makes it more exciting.

Highly recommend this great book.
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Widowed Faith Clarke is awakened to horrible news: the man she is in debt to has been savagely murdered in her tavern. The British are eager to find any resolution and make an example, but Faith is more interested in the truth of the matter.  She quickly learns that the truth is tangled up in a web of secrets and may be more dangerous than she is prepared for. 

This was an interesting read.  Faith was a compelling character.  I respected her desire to remain neutral in the midst of a highly charged political atmosphere. She simply wanted to protect her family from danger. She took what steps she could to learn the truth,  and that seemed realistic. 

There were a few details that did take away from my full enjoyment. Her complaints about the clothes style of the time seemed out of place. I suppose it is possible that she could not afford properly fitted underclothes and that's why she complained about how tight the stays were, but it made me roll my eyes every time. Just a personal quibble.

I'm also not sure why the majority of the story stays with Faith, but there is a random section around the 40% mark where we go into the background of one of the slaves. It doesn't further the story, and it doesn’t give our main character any insight. It was very confusing.

Overall, it was a well-written murder mystery. Ones interested in a mystery set before the American revolution will no doubt enjoy it.
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I read this ARC for an honest review
All thoughts and opinions are mine

A very different premise which was really interesting to me
Really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more from this author
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Cry of the Innocent has an interesting premise: A young woman raised Quaker who ends up owning two slaves and needing their help to make a living in Williamsburg, Virginia just before the Revolutionary War. I had a little trouble understanding why her mother-in-law is allowed by her family members to be so hateful, but the rest of the story felt very authentic. This appears to be the first in a series. The author does a great job of creating an interesting story with a strong ending while also leaving room for her characters to grow in future works. I look forward to reading them.
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Julie Bates' debut novel 'Cry of the Innocent' is a historical mystery set in 1774 Williamsburg, Virginia. The novel's protagonist, Faith Clarke, finds herself searching for the murderer of a man, who was found gruesomely stabbed to death in her tavern's private room. Since the law, headed by a dashing British captain, appears to be satisfied in accusing the murdered man's hapless young slave, Faith feels compelled to investigate herself. Although she goes about this rather clumsily and gets herself into precarious situations in the process, this allows the author to delve into number of social and political issues of the time: the brewing discontent of the colonists with their British overlords, the extreme social discrepancies among the population and slavery. 

Although the plot was in essence interesting, and political as well as social issues appeared authentic and researched, albeit shallowly, it was presented in a helter-skelter manner, its fluency often marred by irrelevant asides, tiresome repetitions of the protagonist's sentiments, and disregard of previous revelations. I also found the prose exasperatingly immature and grammatically faulty at times, which marred my reading pleasure significantly. Lastly, I could find very little convincing character development, which was weak at best, or severely exaggerated and cliché,  e.g. Eugenia. 
Having complained about all these shortcomings, there is however one scene that sticks in my mind as totally lovely, and that concerns Olivia's and Titus' courting in the yard, where sentiments are beautifully expressed in well executed dialogue. 

All in all, this book was not for me, although I can understand that readers would be attracted by this murder plot set in the last years of America's colonial times. 

This novel came to me as an eARC, courtesy of NetGalley and the publishers.
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This was so so so good. It felt like I was sitting in the 1700’s. This is by far one of the best mysteries I’ve read this year and probably will become one of my favourite mysteries ever it was that good. The author just has a way with words. It was amazing. It just felt super authentic and that’s what I appreciated most about this book and will definitely keep an eye out for the authors other works too absolutely!
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Cry of the Innocent: A Faith Clarke Mystery. Julie Bates

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers 

I enjoyed this, the historical side really made me feel there with the characters, exactly what makes a book for me. I love the details of the day to day stuff, the food, the chores, the realities of life as a woman, as a slave, as a child. The divide between those who have wealth and those who don't. Looking at this from today's perspective its awful, but back then it was the norm and people just had to get on with it. 
I liked how Olivia struggled with the conundrum of slave owing and being a Quaker. Its not as simple as just setting them free, I didn't realise she would need permission from the Governor to do so. And that she would need a good reason before it would be granted.
The story itself is almost basic, someone gets murdered in Olivia's property. She needs to find the culprit for a number of reasons, she and her slaves could be held responsible, especially as she is in substantial debt to the victim, the scandal could affect her tavern and thus income, which is already finely balanced. The slave girl, Stella, widely thought to be responsible is just a child and badly abused and she doesn't think Stella could have done it, but knows as she's a slave no-one else will really look to help her. 
What starts off simply gets more complex and involves far more folk in what seemed like a simple murder, and Faith gets put into danger for her sleuthing. The more she looks into it the more reasons and motives others have for the murder, and the more danger she gets placed in. She can't just leave it though, she's become in danger either way. 

Stars: 4. The story weaves together through into a fascinating snippet of history, a fictional tale that probably played out in similar ways over and over in real life ;-(  

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
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Faith Clarke is an inn keeper in Williamsburg in 1774. Revolutionary mumblings are in the air, Boston is suffering from the aftermath of their Tea Party, but Faith has more immediate concerns. One of her regulars, Phineas Bullard, has been murdered, a regular to whom she owed a lot of money, a nasty man with a lot of enemies. The Sons of Liberty had left their calling card in the form of a banner by the corpse. The initial suspect, Stella, the slave of the victim, has run away and is captured by  a lynch mob and only saved from said lynch mob by a gallant British Captain, Stephen Grant. The book starts well plunging the reader straight into the mystery as to who killed Phineas Bullard, a wealthy storekeeper involved in the shady practice of capturing and reselling freed slaves. Shortly after the murder there is a fire at the inn, burning the room of the murder. So we have a lot of action at the start. Faith is keen to solve the mystery as not only she but also her slaves Olivia and Titus could well be suspects and the murder is bad for business. But the pacing is odd for a murder mystery after a dramatic beginning, Faith makes almost no progress on solving the mystery until 80% into the book. There is a lot of historical detail and the Wiliamsburg of 1774 is brought to life. We also get a lot about how the owning of slaves grates with Faith's Quaker beliefs, the slaves were a present from her late husband's family and now with her husband gone, she would like to free them but lacks the means, and even freed Virginia is not a safe place for African Americans with those like Phineas Bullard and his ilk looking to make a quick profit from human cargo.

This was an enjoyable read, the character of Faith was well drawn but I'd have liked more development of secondary characters like the printer's indentured servant, Will MacKay and Faith's difficult mother-in-law Eugenia. The historical detail appears authentic, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have cameo roles, when they meet up in the inn with Faith's father-in-law, Ezra. The book feels like the opening of a series with more to follow as the Revolution becomes more widespread.

Thank you NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read and give an honest review of this book.
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Reading this book you really get thrown back into 1770s Virginia. You can tell just how much time, effort, and research the author put into making this book as authentic as possible. The pacing was excellent throughout and really kept you wanting to read on. You could really feel what the protagonist felt and you felt it right alongside her.
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