Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Child Lost Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

I love mysteries and historical fiction--especially historical fiction that depicts a time and setting with realism. I recently had the opportunity to read and review A Child Lost by Michelle Cox.  While this is the first book I have read from this author and this book is the 5th book in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series--it is a stand-alone novel.  What did I think of A Child Lost by Michelle Cox?  Read my thoughts, learn about the book, and the author--and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!

Series Title A CHILD LOST (A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel #5) by Michelle Cox
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+)
Genre Historical Mystery
Publisher She Writes Press
Release dates:   April 2020
Content Rating: R:
My book is rated R for 2 sex scenes that are somewhat explicit but which are tastefully done. There is periodic swearing (not excessive), but no violence.

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About the Book

A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .

When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigating a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta―much to Clive’s dismay―begins to believe the spiritualist's strange ramblings.

Meanwhile, Elsie begs Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta returns to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results.

My Review

This novel offers a fictional historical mystery--with realism. A Child Lost takes an authentic look at mental illness, poverty, and women in 1930's society--and the view isn't sugar-coated, glossed over glimpses. Through interconnected characters and subplots, the author takes readers into the homes and lives of many social levels and situations present in society during the time. As the characters investigate events--and question and contemplate findings and revelations--the author opens up much more profound stories than the mysteries at hand. The author does a beautiful job describing her settings, scenes, and characters--and shifting from scenes of extreme abuse, poverty, and darkness to ones of reflection, daily life, and love. Each character and story readers encounter adds something to the overall storyline--and makes the book a page-turner. 

A Child Lost is impossible to put down.  The author provides readers just the right amount of details, plot twists, and character development to create an air of mystery around every storyline of the novel. What is he or she going to do next? What does this mean? Will we find a happy ending? There are characters that I liked--and characters that, although I didn't like very much, I needed to understand--or needed to see their roles play out. The book isn't loaded with action and isn't faced paced--but the writing style keeps readers interested by moving from story to story and allowing the stories to connect and flow toward the end.  

A Child Lost is stand-alone--but readers may want to start from the beginning. The author mentions characters and past events from earlier novels from time to time to help readers understand roles, their stories, pasts, and connections. I found myself very interested in even the characters and past events that I didn't like very much! While the book can certainly be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel--I found myself wanting to know more and learn more from the characters' pasts. While I haven't read the earlier books, I wonder if reading them would give me a stronger understanding and rationalization for some of the behaviors and actions that seemed forced. Henrietta was not my favorite person--but I would still like to go back to the beginning to see why/where/how she developed into the person she is.   

Would I recommend A Child Lost by Michelle Cox? Even if historical mysteries and romantic suspense novels are not your things--this novel may change that. The author does a wonderful job transporting readers to another time and place--but keeps enough realism to create a thought-provoking story for modern time too! I loved this book and would recommend it to mystery/suspense fans as well as those with interest in fictionalized, historical looks at the psychology, mental health, women's interests, and poverty issues reflected in time.  I look forward to reading future books in the series--and may find time to backtrack and read the earlier novels too!

About the Author

Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as "Novel Notes of Local Lore," a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago's forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn't have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.

Connect with the Author

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Enter the Giveaway



  1. Thank you so much for sharing this book that sounds like a must read for mystery lovers who enjoy historical aspects.

  2. Wow, Angela! Thank you SO MUCH for this lovely, thoughtful, carefully-crafted review. I'm thrilled that you picked up on so many nuances and that you were able to read this book as a stand-alone, though, as you mentioned, the series is better enjoyed if read from the beginning. I hope you might find the time to circle back, but, either way, thank you for this amazing review!