Reviews! The Mapmaker’s Daughter, The Fossil Hunter and Murder at Midnight

I wanted to clear my Netgalley shelf by the end of March. That is not going to happen…. but I did pick up some of the books. Which means it is review time again!

I was really excited for this book (yet didn’t pick it up for months…). We follow two women in different time lines. Frieda is a Dutch woman who has had to flee her home in 1569, and has caught the eye of the Queen of England with her talent of making maps. In the current day we follow Robyn who has found the map and wants to find out the story behind it. Sadly, I didn’t care for either of these ladies. Both of them are acting in certain ways because they are dealing with trauma… yet I failed to feel sympathetic for them. I mainly thought they were irrational and annoying. I was also really looking forward to reading a book with a largely Dutch set of characters and seeing Amsterdam… but I never felt the connection I thought I would have. There were some more faults I found with the writing… like we were constantly being told how strong these women are. For me this is something that I need to be shown through the characters actions and determine myself, not constantly being told that they are. The dual timeline also added nothing to the story in my opinion. There certainly are good elements to the book as well, mainly considering the mapmaking process. But the potential this book had was let down by the writing and exhausting characters.

Sticking with dual timelines: The Fossil Hunter. This is the second book by Tea Cooper I’ve read, and seeing as I Loved the other book, I did have good in her being able to pull off the dual timelines. In 1847 we follow Mellie as she and a group of other girls visit amateur palaeontologist Anthea Wistanley, looking for the fossils of a sea dragon. In 1919 we follow PJ as she has just come back from the War serving as an ambulance driver. She goes learns about Wistanley’s finds in the Bow Wow Gorge, where her brothers used to go fossil hunting as well, so she travels back to Australia with her fiancé to learn more about Anthea and the girls. Although I found the 1847 timeline more interesting, I was never disappointed to go back to PJ as she is a wonderful character. Mellie is written very believably written and acts her age, while also having been through a lot and willing to take responsibilities. I really enjoyed slowly uncovering the connections between the two stories and finding out how it all comes together. My only irk is that the dialogue is a bit repetitive at times, and I feel times got a bit distorted now and then (the characters would go somewhere, but when they arrive there, they only do a 5-minute thing and then it will already be getting late, and they have to go back. This happened quite a lot). I did end up having a lovely time reading this book and will certainly pick up some of Cooper’s other books.

Let’s start this review of by saying I have never been this invested in a romance. I usually hate romances, tolerate them at best. But this series is doing something to me because Lily almost chose the wrong guy (in my opinion) and I actually had to tell The Husband about how big of a mistake she was about to make (because why would you not choose Captain Jack?). Yeah, who am I?

Anyway… Lily and a bunch of other rich people are at a ball when they get snowed in and have to spend the night. Of course, someone gets murdered, and it is up to Lily to find out who did it… making things worse, all clues point towards her friends so she has to find the real killer before the snow melts and the police can arrive. The mystery is intriguing, the plot very well put together and delightfully lacking filler (apart from the little bit of romance drama), and the setting is absolutely Perfect. Add to that some social commentary, Upstairs/Downstairs drama, both asexual and lesbian representation and a very fun main character… and you have a great cosy murder mystery to spend some time with.

And that is all from me for now. I do still have several Netgalley books to read soon ish, as well as a buddyread I still need to review, so I hope I won’t be gone for too long this time. But we shall see…

Hoping you are doing all kinds of wonderful,

4 thoughts on “Reviews! The Mapmaker’s Daughter, The Fossil Hunter and Murder at Midnight

  1. Great to see more reviews from you! 🙂 I hadn’t heard of the first two books, but dual timeline stories are hard so I’m not surprised to see your mixed reviews of them.

    I really am looking forward to continuing the Lily Adler series! So far I’ve only read book one, but I really liked it. (And yes, why would you NOT choose Captain Jack? That’s such an obvious choice.)

    Liked by 1 person

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