Martin Kobel specialises in helping people. That’s his job, as a therapist, people in need come to him and he helps them. And when he bumps into Annabelle Young at a cafe he sees in her someone he can help. But she hasn’t asked him for help, he passes her his card, hoping that will prompt her to ask for assistance. That doesn’t work. And she is a teacher, her trouble could easily damage a whole class of young impressionable children. He has to do something.
On the 9th of June, 1865, ten passengers were killed when a train crashed at Staplehurst. Among the passengers who survived the disaster was the novelist Charles Dickens. Meeting his friend, Wilkie Collins, soon afterwards Dickens describes a strange individual he came across at the site of the crash. This man, Drood, is to drag both Dickens and Collins into the depths of Victorian London’s criminal and poverty stricken underbelly. Will he also lead to murder and insanity?
When I first started reading this book I’ll admit to being a little bit confused. It was group read, for HistoricalFavorites, where was the history aspect. I kept waiting for flashbacks to old Salem and witch hunts. But instead I got the story of Towner Whitney and her family, and how the past is always around, especially when you try to ignore it.
Many of the Whitney family have the gift of reading lace, they can tell a lot about a person and their future, but ever since her sister committed suicide Towner has tried to escape that life. She herself suffered so much from the trauma of that experience that she felt she needed electro-shock therapy in order to overcome her anxieties. But that treatment ripped away many of her memories; now, back in Salem after her aunt’s disappearance Towner is forced to reconnect with people; friends and enemies from her past.