Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret--She's Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won't rest until they've taken the magic that keeps her alive....

In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...
As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.

My thoughts- 

I love books that are rooted in history and this book definitely had some historical aspects. In fact, I was unfamiliar with John Dee, Edward Kelley and Elisabeth Bathory so through reading this, I was introduced to a whole side of history I was unaware of and I love that. I definitely did some research after I was done to learn more about each of them. Besides the historical aspect of the book, there is also a modern day story interwoven which is another thing that makes me love this novel. I like having a novel having both a present day story and a story set in the passed and threaded together. It is like getting a two for one deal and it is always really cool to see how everything comes together in the end. It has been a while since I have read a story with supernatural elements so I was due for a nice fantasy like novel and this one didn't disappoint. For me, The Secrets of Life and Death was a page turner. Since I was unaware of the true to life magic and witchcraft stories (although the novel is loosely based on the acutal events in history) I was hooked on finding out exactly what happened to John Dee and Edward Kelley. The present day story about Jack and Felix and the girl that Jack is trying to save is also very intriguing. I spent the entire book wondering what would become of all of the present day players because it really could have went several ways. This is a quick and very interesting read. I would recommend it to anyone interested in historically based fiction or stories about witchcraft. 

You can get your copy of The Secrets of Life and Death on 

About the author-

Rebecca Alexander is a novelist and poet that lives in North Devon, England. The Secrets of Life and Death was her dissertation novel and was a runner up in the Mslexia 2011 novel writing competition. It is the first part in a trilogy!

Connect with Rebecca Alexander on Goodreads

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