Book Review: The Birth of Blue Satan by Patricia Wynn

The Birth of Blue Satan
Patricia Wynn
Pemberley Press, 2001
ISBN 0970272707
Hardcover–also available in Trade Paperback

Gideon Viscount St. Mars, son of the Earl of Hawkhurst, is a somewhat reluctant part of the aristocratic social world of George I’s London.  Being members of the Tory party makes him and his father, the Earl of Hawkhurst, anathema to the king, who has been convinced by the Whigs that Tories are loyal to the Pretender. Gideon, though, is in love with the daughter of a Whig and can be found at many of the social events where the business of arranging marriages takes place.

Suddenly, Gideon finds himself accused of a heinous murder and cast out of Society. No one but a few loyal servants will help him and he withdraws into the shady world of criminals, determined to find a way to clear his name and regain his position — and Isabella, the woman he loves.

There is, however, one other person from his past who believes in him. Mrs. Kean, an impoverished relation of Isabella, provides his only means of learning what is happening with the investigation of his alleged crime and with his inheritance and Isabella.

Patricia Wynn has brought 1715 England to life through exacting research and a command of the English language that makes this book a joy to read. The story, which evokes thoughts of Jane Austen and the Brontës, is uniquely Ms. Wynn’s, and she has created a lively plot and appealing characters. Even many of those characters who are not so likable are memorable and the reader can’t help caring a bit for them. The mystery of who really committed the crime and how Gideon will save himself is well-crafted and Ms. Wynn left this reader eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. Although it was early in the year when I read it, The Birth of Blue Satan was on my list of the Best of 2001.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, 2001.  Slightly revised 2010.
Review first published on murderexpress.net in 2001.