It is 1752. As winter approaches, two guilty secrets drive 17-year-old Agnes Trussel to run away from her home in rural Sussex. Pregnant with an unwanted child and carrying stolen coins, she is shocked by the squalor of London. She finds work as an assistant to a firework-maker, John Blacklock. Soon she meets Cornelius Soul, seller of gunpowder, and hatches a plan which could save her. But why does Blacklock disapprove of Mr Soul? And what is Blacklock hiding from her?
Meanwhile, her own secret is becoming harder to conceal, especially from the suspicious eye of Mrs Blight, the housekeeper with a thirst for hangings. Caught between her crime and condition, it appears that ruin must be inevitable.
When I started listening to this book, I felt the tone so dreary and monotone that I wondered how long I would last. But I became totally absorbed with Agnes and her view of the world in early 18th century. It is a beautiful story that exists in a dark and gloomy world. I have loved the experience.
I couldn't stop listening to this book. Brilliantly drawn characters, wonderful descriptions of life London and Sussex at that time. The writing is fresh and intense and the idea of the plot centred around the manufacture of fireworks so original I could easily imagine scenes from a film, I hope the book will be adapted for the big screen soon.
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