Finding the Raven

Patty Dickson

Julia Dulac, the daughter of an actor in a theatre troupe, is forced to fend for herself after her father is murdered on stage. Rose Hillman, an heiress, has been dispatched to an undisclosed boarding house to cover up the scandal of her pregnancy. Both meet in the boarding house and become fast friends. Julia is robbed of her inheritance, and Rose makes a decision that leads to complications when she sees the man she truly loves in the St. Louis Exposition. In a world where women were still considered chattel, Julia and Rose find ways to break away from this confinement and find the love and life they truly deserve.

Ms. Pieczka’s writing style makes one imagine jumping into the pages of the novel to experience the story first hand. One can hear and see the bustle of the expo or the interior of the boarding house Julia and Rose live in. One feels the revulsion of the protagonists towards the character who makes life difficult for Rose (but who is also the key to Julia reclaiming her inheritance). There is conflict – a device in a writer’s toolbox that can make or break a story. There were sections where the narrative was longer than necessary, which watered down the tension. Perhaps the author can employ more micro-tension to keep the reader wanting to turn the pages to find out what will happen next.  Nevertheless, this was still a good read.

M.P. Ceja