The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester

Title: The Hourglass Factory
Author: Lucy Ribchester
Published: January 15th 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Amazon UK

Blurb: 1912 and London is in turmoil...The suffragette movement is reaching fever pitch but for broke Fleet Street tomboy Frankie George, just getting by in the cut-throat world of newspapers is hard enough. Sent to interview trapeze artist Ebony Diamond, Frankie finds herself fascinated by the tightly laced acrobat and follows her across London to a Mayfair corset shop that hides more than one dark secret. 

Then Ebony Diamond mysteriously disappears in the middle of a performance, and Frankie is drawn into a world of tricks, society columnists, corset fetishists, suffragettes and circus freaks. How did Ebony vanish, who was she afraid of, and what goes on behind the doors of the mysterious Hourglass Factory? 

From the newsrooms of Fleet Street to the drawing rooms of high society, the missing Ebony Diamond leads Frankie to the trail of a murderous villain with a plot more deadly than anyone could have imagined...

With a major film, Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham-Carter and Carey Mulligan coming soon, suffragettes will be back in the limelight once again, nearly one hundred years after they fought for votes for women.

*First of all I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: The Hourglass Factory is a brilliant debut set in 1912, when the suffragette movement is determined to be heard in London and an entire branch of police has been set up to deal with it. Frankie, the main character, finds herself in the middle of all this when she is asked by her newspaper to interview trapeze artist Ebony Diamond, who happens to be a suffragette. Ebony has no time for interviews as she has some other urgent matters to attend, but Frankie who wants to prove she is as good as any other male journalist doesn't let her go so easily. But then, Ebony disappears and Frankie, looking for her, ends up in a crime scene. Something is going on and she is determined to unravel it. 

From that moment we follow Frankie's investigations and with the help of a snake dancer and some of her contacts, she soon discovers that Ebony's disappearance is surrounded by secrets and something big is about to happen. The plot is full of twists and subplots that keep you gripped to its pages wanting to know more. 

Plus the setting of this novel is fascinating. I don't know a lot about the suffragette movement but this story has certainly piqued my interest. I will, for sure, look for more information and stories about this. And Lucy's style is so descriptive and detailed, that you could actually picture yourself in the middle of the dark streets of London in 1912. You can tell that there's been a resourceful research behind this novel. I especially loved reading about the fashion of that period, how some girls chose to wear pants and were regarded as too manly or how wearing a hat with a taxidermied seagull glued to it was seen as elegant. And don't forget the corset, key to the story.

Even if at the beginning I found the pace of the story a bit slow, with the great number of characters we are introduced, I soon started to enjoy it, a lot. I found it very interesting that some chapters were narrated from the police's point of view, who are also investigating the murders and Ebony's disappearance but seemed to be a bit too obsessed with the suffragette movement.

All in all, a fantastic debut by Lucy Ribchester that kept me awake hours, wanting to know more. Lucy is definitely an author to watch in the future. 

Rating: 4,5

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