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The Acclaimed Author Of The Bestselling Jane Austen Mysteries Brings Rich Historical Immediacy To An Enthralling New Suspense Novel Centered Around Queen Victoria S Troubled Court And A Secret So Dangerous, It Could Topple ThronesWindsor Castle, For The Second Time In Over Twenty Years, Irish Barrister Patrick Fitzgerald Has Been Summoned By The Queen The First Time, He D Been A Zealous Young Legal Clerk, Investigating What Appeared To Be A Murderous Conspiracy Against Her Now He Is A Distinguished Gentleman At The Top Of His Profession And The Queen Is A Woman In The Grip Of Fear For On This Chilly Night, Her Beloved Husband, Prince Albert, Lies Dying With Her Future Clouded By Grief, Fitzgerald Can T Help But Notice The Queen Is Curiously Preoccupied With The Past Yet Why, And How He Can Help, Is Unclear His Bewilderment Deepens When The Royal Coach Is Violently Overturned, Nearly Killing Him And His Brilliant Young Ward, Dr Georgiana Armistead, Niece Of The Late Dr Snow, A Famed Physician Who D Attended None Other Than Her Majesty Fitzgerald Is Sure Of One Thing The Queen S Carriage Was Not Attacked At Random It Was A Carefully Chosen Target But Was It Because He Rode In It Fitzgerald Won T Risk Dying In Order To Find Out He Ll Leave London And Take Georgiana With Him If They Can Get Out Alive For Soon The Pair Find Themselves Hunted Little Do They Know They Each Carry Within Their Past Hidden Clues To A Devastating Royal Secret One They Must Untangle If They Are To Survive From The Streets Of London To The Lush Hills Of Cannes, From The Slums Of St Giles To The Gilded Halls Of Windsor Castle, A Flaw In The Blood Delivers A Fascinating Tale Of Pursuit, And The Artful Blend Of Period Detail And Electrifying Intrigue That Only The Remarkable Stephanie Barron Can Devise From The Hardcover Edition


10 thoughts on “A Flaw in the Blood

  1. says:

    I haven t read much of Stephanie Barron s work, but can say that of the few Jane Austen mysteries I ve read, I ve enjoyed her mixture of mystery, suspense and historical detail A Flaw In The Blood has all three of the above ingredients without Jane Austen being the sleuth.I always feel like such a snob when a book I enjoyed reading, and finished quickly, gets a poor review It s as if I m denying my own entertaining experience While this was a definite page turner, mostly due to the romantic tension between Georgiana Armistead, a controversial female physician, and Patrick Fitzgerald, an Irish attorney who is being hunted by Queen Victoria s henchman, Wolfgang von Stuhlen, for reasons unknown Georgie, as she is called by Patrick, is past the age of needing a guardian, but Fitzgerald considers her safety his responsibility When Queen Victoria s husband, Prince Albert, dies, a trail of destruction and murder that points to von Stuhlen indicates that both Georgiana and Patrick have become his targets They flee to Europe and there, begin to unravel the reason why von Stuhlen and Queen Victoria might want them both eliminated.The chase and suspense might make the book exciting to read, but, unfortunately, the plot and motive explaining it all is quite disappointing silly even von Stuhlen is practically a caricature of the classic bad guy he even has an eye patch and Victoria is portrayed as a narcissistic queen prone to hysterics, which may or may not be true Barron s attempt at including actual history, and unfortunately a documented genetic mystery, doesn t work She tried to do too much with what should have been a light weight Victorian mystery a formula she has already proven can be successful While I can t fault her for attempting to break away from a series, I hope she returns to the Jane Austen mysteries she writes so well.


  2. says:

    First Line When the agony of the state dinner was over and his wife was preoccupied with the other women, he ceased to talk quite so feverishly before the crowd of people who d come to the Rosenau to see them.As Prince Albert lies dying in Windsor Castle, his wife, Queen Victoria, summons barrister Patrick Fitzgerald, who helped defend the Queen against an assassination attempt twenty years before Victoria makes no effort to hide her contempt for the Irishman, especially when he refuses her demand Within hours he and his ward are almost killed in a carriage accident, his chambers at the Inns of Court are ransacked, and a girl is dead It takes no great stretch of Fitzgerald s imagination to think that all this is somehow connected to his command appearance at Windsor Castle What will strain his credulity is why it s all connected.I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Barron earlier this year, and she mentioned this book She loves to find small historical nuggets of information that just don t add up and then create a story that incorporates them That s what she s done very elegantly in A Flaw in the Blood.What little historical nuggets did she come across It is widely believed that Prince Albert died of typhoid due to the bad drains at Windsor Castle The truth is that he did not So what killed him It s also well known that Victoria passed hemophilia along to her children but what geneticists and genealogists want to know is how did she come to be a carrier of the disease in the first place These are the historical facts upon which Barron based her novel.Barron s story paints quite a different portrait of Victoria than the one we re used to, and it s a delicious portrait indeed Here is a woman of passions and appetites, a woman who thinks nothing of showing contempt for her own children, a woman who will stop at nothing to keep her secrets, a woman who is like her hated mother than she d ever admit Part of the novel is told by Victoria through entries in her secret diary Much of what she tells of herself fits historical record very closely, but Barron has added that delicious twist of evil that made me smile Although I doubt that Victoria herself would be amused Patrick Fitzgerald and his ward, Dr Georgiana Armistead, tell their part of the story as does Count Wolfgang von St len, a ruthless German who s chasing the pair These multiple viewpoints mean that the action hops around from place to place, and although I didn t find it confusing, I did find that those three characters weren t as finely drawn as Victoria.There were a couple of other points that didn t sit well with me Prince Albert consulting Armistead a woman about disease and sewage, and a crucial character in the plot being both a hemophiliac and a military officer, but on the whole, I loved the fiction that Barron wove around the facts If you don t like fact and fiction blended in this manner, and if you don t like seeing royalty portrayed in a less than flattering light, I would suggest that you stay miles away from this book However, if you do like the occasional well written and imagined blend of fact and fantasy, by all means get a copy of A Flaw in the Blood and read it If, like me, you want to know after you turn the last page, Barron has supplied the titles of several non fiction books to read.


  3. says:

    This novel was a bit of a surprise for me I ve read Stephanie Barron before and I always have the same experience the novels start out a bit slow and I have a difficult time getting into them This, I feel, is partly due to the style of the narrative, a little literary than I usually read But then, I keep at it and the plot starts to develop and the characters start to come to life and by the end, I sit back and feel the need to take some time to reflect on what I ve just read The same thing happened with this novel.There are two levels of mystery here The story takes place in 1861, during the early years of Queen Victoria s reign The street level mystery revolves around a series of deaths, potentially murders that seem to be tied to the Irish barrister, Patrick Fitzgerald, whom Queen Victoria has summoned to deal with the after effects of the death of her consort, Prince Albert All paths seem to lead to Fitzgerald in one way or another At the same time, a much larger mystery, grander in scope, is occurring This involves the Queen herself and the genetic flaw of hemophilia she passed to three of her children This leads to questions on how the flaw has genetically transferred from one generation to another and how she herself is involved with its transmission and ultimately to major questions on her parentage and right to rule.Most chapters are told from Fitzgerald s point of view but we do have quite a few from Victoria s herself There are quite a few characters sprinkled throughout and I found it confusing from time to time, trying to keep them all sorted The ending really saved the book for me 5 stars there but my struggles through the first three quarters will not permit me to grant than three and a half stars for the whole.


  4. says:

    It hurts my heart to give this book one star, but there was simply no avoiding it I have been singing the praises of Ms Barron s Austen mysteries for ages and will continue to do so, but this book was a monumental disappointment Every plot point somehow managed to be either a trope or annoyingly absurd I had very high hopes when I began as I wanted to see how Ms Barron used her myriad talents in a new setting Victorian, which I love and was left wishing I had not gone down this road I was intrigued at the start, though I should have seen warnings early on Miss Dr Armistead is the sort of character I loathe because all we hear about is how undeniably beautiful and irresistible she is, while at the same time being unlike any other woman of her era , and there was even a small bit where I enjoyed it there are some very Jane Eyre moments , but once I got deep into the book I knew I was going to ultimately be incredibly upset, and sadly I was It is back to the Austen mysteries for me, because those are far superior.And, just for the record, there appears to be a rather massive error in the blurb on the back cover It states that the protagonist, Patrick Fitzgerald, helped defend Her Majesty from a would be assassin when in the very first chapter and repeatedly throughout we are told that in fact Fitzgerald did not do so, but actually defended the would be assassin which is the antithesis of what the back cover asserts.


  5. says:

    I own all 13 of the Jane novels published to date and have thoroughly enjoyed every one This book, however, was a big disappointment To take a trivial example, an Irish character keeps saying look you I know a lot of Irish people, but I ve never heard that it is associated with the Welsh, although mainly music hall Welsh or perhaps Shakespeare I ve never heard it from a real Welshman either.As for the plot, unlike the Jane stories, this is totally unbelievable True, Albert s death is unlikely to have been caused by typhoid I believe modern thinking leans towards a cancer, perhaps bowel cancer Also, as far as I can make out, haemophilia usually begins spontaneously often coming from an elderly father, which certainly fits Victoria s case I also felt uncomfortable with the way the fugitives sold everything they had including their clothes, but were then able to buy new ones whilst always having enough for inns and trains.


  6. says:

    I enjoyed the mystery of this story very much It was wonderfully drawn out What I wasn t a fan of was the type of violence in this story a bit too graphic for my taste , and the relationship between Fitzgerald and Georgiana Don t put a romance in if it s almost like everyone is confused about what you mean to each other I can t even call it a romance really.


  7. says:

    spoiler alert Pretty well written, and the characters are not flat But the tone of the mystery feels too similar to The Da Vinci Code to thoroughly enjoy I say this because, in both books, by the end solving the mystery just doesn t matter After 150 years, it is is now immaterial whether or not Queen Victoria was perhaps illegitimate and thereby not the rightful heir to the throne of England.Which okay, this is just fiction we re just having fun and we re only reading a bunch of what ifs.But.Starting at page 270, the plot holes and out of character actions in this book begin to pile up For instance, after being chased over Central Europe in a very few weeks, after being kidnapped and almost raped, would Dr Georgiana Armistead arrive to a hiding place back in London and just send a maid to her residence for some clothes Would Davey, a cowering guttersnipe, who is bodily hauled into a court of law to give evidence, just stand up and willingly shout it out Would the Lady Maude Fitzgerald, said to be dying of syphilis and slow opium poisoning, who 100 or some odd pages earlier was described as blind and almost wholly mad would she be able to read, and understand a letter, then acquire a gun, dress herself and make her way across London to shoot and kill Count vonStuhlen And what I found most unbelievable of all would Queen Victoria, the model of Grieving Widows everywhere, do away with, actually kill her Beloved husband Prince Albert I dunno.The ending just felt too coincidental, like it wasn t set it up well, as if the author tweaked the story just once too often.I admit, the plot does include some really cool ideas, and in her Jane Austen Mysteries, Stephanie Barron usually does a decent job in setting aside the truth of history for a work of fiction, but this time I just don t think it works.


  8. says:

    I had very high hopes for this one A historical mystery about hemophaelia I probabaly spelt that wrong and how it came to be evident in Queen Victoria and Prince Albert s children sounded intriguing, but Stephanie Barron made the subject fall flat I usually take two or three days to read a novel, this one took me close to a week and a half Too, I really wasn t motivated to overly care about any of the characters Victoria makes you want to slap her, Fitzgerald you want to throw a bucket of water at, and you just want to shake Georgie until she opens her eyes Add to that the weird juxtaposition of victorian prudishness shown by Fitzgerald with the incredibly explicit explanations of arousal given by Victoria, and you have a book that is boring and startling in one Not a favorite, and one I won t be re reading.


  9. says:

    This is by the author of the Jane Austen mysteries, although entirely different Not at all the light romp through London society that we get in Pink or Tasha Alexander Monica I don t think you would like it It is very DARK and deals with a much less pleasant side of the Victorian age It is interesting, dealing with the hemophilia that Queen Victoria passed to three of her children, with the Queen as narrator at places The writing and structure are masterful, however It is a great example of Trust the reader in that she jumps from narrator to narrator with no warning It works though I also thought her method of disposing of the bad guy was a work of genius Good, just dark and depressing.


  10. says:

    Because I have loved all of Stephanie Barron s Jane Austen mysteries, I was eager to pick up this novel set in the Victorian era The story was good, as was the mystery, but the characters were not nearly as engaging as Jane, the Austen family, and the usual cast of assorted characters Patrick Fitzgerald is no Harold Trowbridge I was disappointed in comparison to her other books, but as a stand alone novel, I enjoyed it.