Cleopatra’s Dagger by Carole Lawrence a Book Review

An ARC copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A historical journey back in time and a period that I adore reading about. Taking place in the 1880’s during a time when New York City was still taking in new populations, struggling immensely with poverty and classism, we get a peek into the life of Elizabeth van den Broek. She comes from a well-to-do family with money and means. But her aspirations look beyond that of her position in society and attending social parties. She would rather spend her time writing, reporting the news and ultimately investigating a very disturbing serial killer.

Portrayed as the first female reporter for The Herald, she is making waves in the community of men she is surrounded by at the paper. Not only is she a woman, she seems to be unapproachable. But Elizabeth is a very unique individual that sees people by their character rather than their class. Sometimes, putting herself into very dangerous settings because she tends to see the human side of people and can lose sight of how much she stands out in certain settings.

While this story revolves around the investigation of a serial killer utilizing ancient Egyptian themes, I found myself drawn to the people in this story. Every single one of them. Carole Lawrence does an amazing job of describing each and every character in a way that made me just as inquisitive about them as Elizabeth herself was. It was very easy to put myself into Elizabeth’s mindset and view the characters and activity as she did.

Lawrence also does a phenomenal job of exploring the darker themes to Elizabeth. Her infatuation with these murders and following it all the way through. Not only is she reporting on the events, but she is ultimately placing herself right into the action in a way that she seems to find thrilling. There is something in the middle of the book that happens to her, which seems to remain unresolved, but colors a lot of the way Elizabeth changes in her own understanding of herself and which I believe colors her longer term development and interest in more horrific content. This psychological exploration was fascinating and has me really hoping for another book with Elizabeth to see how she progresses.

I’ll also mention that the horror and thriller aspects of this story are not without pause. I found myself anxious throughout the entire thing as I awaited the inevitable events.

This was a lovely read from start to finish and I’m looking into getting more books from this new-to-me author. I’d also like to mention that the book opens with a quote from Walt Whitman’s Crossing The Brooklyn Ferry which was a very important piece for me when I began my venture into literature.

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