Cover Image: Crimson Cobblestones

Crimson Cobblestones

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Member Reviews

Crimson Cobblestones is a dark and atmospheric thriller set in 1739 Philadelphia. Charlotte finds herself caught up in a series of grisly murders that seemingly have a satanic bent.

I found this novel to be both creepy and suspenseful. I couldn’t read it at night as the graphic content and skewed viewpoints left me with a sense of dread. I’d recommend it to any reader who enjoys twisted tales and alternate versions of history.

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"Crimson Cobblestones" by Marie LeStrange transports readers to a dark and atmospheric Philadelphia in 1739, where grisly deaths haunt the gaslit cobblestones. In this Gothic thriller, historical nuance merges seamlessly with chilling suspense as Charlotte, grappling with the loss of her mother, delves into a world of deceit, murder, and dark magic. LeStrange weaves a captivating tale where love and danger intertwine, leading Charlotte and her enigmatic lover, Ben, through a labyrinth of secrets. While the echoes of ancient incantations and the presence of a sinister cult add to the intrigue, the narrative occasionally struggles to maintain its momentum. Despite this, "Crimson Cobblestones" offers a riveting journey through a blurred world where the past refuses to stay buried, earning its place among Gothic fiction enthusiasts.

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Charlotte Scott is a young woman living in mid-18th century Philadelphia. She lives with her father, Thaddeus, and their housekeeper Nelly. Her mother died mysteriously years ago. Charlotte is a reader, socially awkward, and introverted. Her life changes when she is invited to dine with none other than Benjamin Franklin and his family. Charlotte finds herself irresistibly drawn to Ben. Naive and trying to figure out herself and find her footing in society, she also becomes entangled in a murder mystery. A serial killer stalks the streets of 18th-century Philadelphia and begins targeting her loved ones.

Crimson Cobblestones has something for everyone, romance, witchcraft, mystery, murder, conspiracies, and…erotica. While I’m not a fan of romance, Lestrange weaves in an intriguing murder mystery that held my attention. Lestrange also ends each chapter with a cliffhanger, which kept me turning the pages.

Lestrange doesn’t shy away from gory details as she writes chapters from the point of view of a killer. She’s also adept at crafting a compelling story with enough red herrings, twists, and turns to make one’s head spin. I admit, I did suspect who the killer was but wasn’t sure if this was the route Lestrange would go. She successfully turned my attention to other possible suspects. I wasn’t disappointed in the ending at all.

In Charlotte Scott, she created a sympathetic protagonist who embarks on a journey of both self-discovery and life discovery. Lestrange maintained a good balance between making Charlotte believable as a young woman living during the 18th century while not making her a two-dimensional stereotype. Charlotte is independent, intellectual, and assertive but still has characteristics typical of her time period. Her misjudgements are also a product of her naivete such as assuming all occultists are evil devil worshippers.

The book is a pleasure to read. Lestrange writes prose with a darkly poetic flourish. She effectively sets a mood that drips with dark gothic menace in appropriate places and is light-hearted and romantic in others.

Marie Lestrange’s Crimson Cobblestones has a little something for everyone. If you love murder mystery, supernatural horror, romance, and a bit of erotica, I recommend Crimson Cobblestones.

(My review will be published on my WordPress blog on May 28

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The author writes with feeling, and this is an atmospheric novel that evokes its time and place. It's a fascinating era.

Unfortunately, the book was categorized as Horror and the original blurb fit that genre. I'm glad to see the blurb has been revised. Crimson Cobbles will appeal to many readers, particularly those drawn to Dark Romance.

There's a strong sense of place, crimes, and suspense. For me, the featured romance was and not at all what I expected when I chose the book. If I'd known it featured Ben Franklin as a lover, I wouldn't have selected it. Nothing against him or Romance. It's simply not a fit for me. I respect the work that goes into combining genres. I wish the author and the book's audience all the best.

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This book is an enjoyable read. However, I did feel as if it had too much going on and sometimes it seemed like the plot was just happening to the characters without them fully participating in it. I think some of it could’ve been left out and the book would’ve been better. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my review.

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Marie Lestrange has already stolen my reader heart. Crimson Cobblestones is an eighteenth century style horror mystery about a girl named Charlotte living in colonial America. With a serial killer on the loose, as it causes past trauma to reflect in the protagonist’s mind. The characters were sometimes a little too bland but the overall twist was what really drew me in. I like trying to solve the mystery before it unravels and this did not let go.

As a first time reader of Lestrange, I’m interested in future releases and hope that she keeps the historical horror elements as that was what really drew me into reading this novel in the first place.

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Sinfully dark, highly recommend if you are a on the "Darker" side of tales.
The story itself is about a young women who lives in the 18th century Colonial America whose life is shattered by a series of brutal murders and sacrifices.
Highly recommend!!

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I wanted to love Crimson Cobblestones based on the synopsis, but it just became too much for me. There were some really fantastic elements - beautiful language and setting, for example - that were overshadowed by too much going on in the plot. So many ideas being throw in led to a really jumpy storyline, and much of it was unnecessary to create a great story. And since it wasn't particularly long, nothing felt completely developed, including the characters, so I didn't care about them much. Overall, it's more of a dark romance than it is horror, even with the killings involved, and I'm not a huge fan of that genre.

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First off, if I can make a recommendation... please update the blurb. Based on the current one there is no indication of a romance (and definitely not Ben Franklin sex scenes...). It came out of nowhere and would have influenced my decision to read/review this book. Honestly, going in blind would have been better because based on the blurb I had a preconceived idea of what this book would be and it definitely was not that.

Trying to put that aside, unfortunately this book really fell flat for me. I appear to be in the minority based on my fellow reviewers, but this book was not for me. Overall this felt less like a horror and more like a dark thriller, but was disappointingly predictable with a plot that felt choppy. There were so many elements jammed in that it felt like the plot was jumping all over the place and wasn't cohesive. The main character also didn't really seem to do anything except stumble into situations to progress the story, which is disappointing from a murder mystery. She didn't really solve anything, it just sort of presented itself to her.

I will give props for some creative kill methods, though one in particular clearly identified the killer before the "twist reveal".

I also feel like the choice to use a real historical figure was an odd one. I think it would have added more to the story to have an original fictional character - every time the historical figure's name was mentioned it really took me out of the story, especially when used in the settings of this book.

(I also feel it pertinent to mention I AM a fan of horror books with gore and violence, so that aspect of this book did not negatively impact my review).

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I was hooked from the cover and so glad I got to read this book. It had that horror element perfectly that I wanted in this historical elements. The concept worked well and had a great overall feel to the story and the characters had a realistic feel and worked with the story perfectly. Marie Lestrange has a great writing style and I'm glad I got to read this.

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If you've ever had sexual fantasies about Benjamin Franklin, then this is the book for you! I want to note that I found this book in the horror section, and while it does have horror elements, it is pretty much a Dark Romance, which is probably my least favorite genre. I realize that it may have been listed under various genres, but I really wish that the description would have been more clear that this is more of romance than anything. I probably would not have read it. If you're not a fan of dark romance books, I would avoid this one. This book was not for me, but I'm going to try to rate it for it is is (a dark romance).

As far as the writing goes, I do think that Marie Lestrange is a better writer than almost all dark romance writers that I have read. I do think that she has some talent and I'd say if you're a fan of Anne Rice, maybe give this one a read. I did like some parts of this. I love cult themed books and this definitely has those elements. I also loved the slow burn atmospheric descriptions. There were definitely some creepy moments in this book.

There was a significant amount of spice. I don't mind a little spice but the scenes were a bit repetitive. In one scene the author uses the word "mound" to describe lady bits at least 4 times in a page and a half. Also, I think one or two twists are great, but the ending of this book had so many thrown at you so fast, that I forgot who was who and what was happening. I know some people really love that, though. Also, I'm sorry but I was pretty grossed out by the Ben Franklin sex scenes, haha! I tried to see if I could find portraits of him young, and I couldn't so it just made the scenes that much worse for me.

I love supporting indie writers, especially women, but I really wish that there was more emphasis on this book being a romance in the description. I hope that the things that I didn't like about it may help sell it to someone else!

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I loved this story it was amazing. The cover is gorgeous and I think whoever picked it has good taste. The beginning was kind of difficult to get into but the further and further I go in I loved it. I would definitely recommend this book to someone else.

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Book review: Crimson Cobblestone by Marie Lestrange.

Crimson Cobblestone is a thriller/ historical fiction novel set in the 1800s. The protagonist, Charlotte is left rightfully scared by the murder of her mother. Years later more murders pursue in front of Charlotte, leaving her to try and figure who is behind all these murders.

Rating: 3.75/5 stars ⭐️ (rounded up to 4 stars)

Opinion: when I saw this on Netgalley, I was instantly interested. A thriller and historical fictions? Absolutely up my alley.

This book had many beautiful lines and was written well. The pacing is slightly off, especially towards the end. I was like “wait, why is this happening all of the sudden,” for many of the event.

I liked the main protagonist, and as traumatized as she was, I felt she could have shown a bit more emotion.

Kind of a spoiler, but this book does have smut, which I wasn’t expecting. It came out of nowhere honestly, and I was shocked. I have no problems with smut, but it just caught me off guard.

Overall, this is a fun book and it reads really quickly. I also liked the decals on the pages and the few images we get to see in the ARC. I hope to read this again after it’s published.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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4 very solid stars

What a fun and rare (for me anyway) experience of a really good historical horror!
Everything about this book just works. I think I would’ve enjoyed it a bit more if it was just a little longer and explored a few more details, but otherwise I loved it.

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Secret societies, witches, and murder at every turn - a true horrific delight.

“Crimson Cobblestones is not just a book-it's an experience, a chilling dance with darkness that will leave you breathless until its shocking finale.”

It delivered the above, and even more. The detail of the depravity the killer enacted was at times uncomfortable. Many authors leave this to the imagination, but every sick detail and thought was documented in this book.

Unexpected plots throughout - this is one not to be missed. However, be warned - it is graphic.

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This is the story of a young woman named Charlotte living in 18th century colonial America. Her previously peaceful life is shattered by a series of brutal murders that appear to be ritual sacrifices. A serial killer is on the loose, and the threat of more murders intensifies the protagonist's existing traumas and tragic memories of the past.
I like historical fiction with speculative elements, so this book seemed like a perfect choice for me. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. What I really liked was that it was set in colonial Pennsylvania, although I wish the specifics of the time and place in this book were more elaborated. I also liked the language, which was very rich and even poetic. However, when it comes to the plot, I think this book was just... too much? The mystery, the traumatic past, a secret cult, witchcraft, a romance with a historical figure from American history - to name the main tropes. The premise was great, but unfortunately I felt that none of these elements were really well developed. The murder mystery started well enough, but it's solution was too pretextual and the shock element seemed really forced. Also, I knew who the villain was from the start, and I'm not much of a mystery/crime reader. The characters also seemed rather flat, so I didn't really care whether they lived or died. But what really bothered me was that the characters were not really involved in trying to solve these murders - things were just happening to them. The female protagonist in particular seemed very passive throughout the book.
Anyway, I think the novel would benefit from being longer so that the crucial elements of the story as well as the characters could be better developed.

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Fans of Horror and Pride and Prejudice unit. This novel had good pacing leading to suspense. The deadly cults and mysterious characters were intriguing to me. I liked the main characters and the story overall. I would recommend this novel to others. It also reminded me of Dread Nation.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

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Do you like horror, history, head scratching murderous cults? If so Crimson Cobblestones is for you. The twists and turns were like a Riley Sager novel on steroids and I devoured the book in one sitting. The pacing and writing was gripping and you didn't want to look away. Each character contributed something and developed beautifully and one even shocked me.

If you love Pride Prejudice and Zombies but wanted more horror aspects please pick this Ben Franklin who'dun it cult novel up. I promise you wont be disappointed.

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

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Ben Franklin, death cults, political intrigue, rich language, and some VERY inventive kill scenes make this a fantastic read! Go get you a copy!

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