Friday, March 18, 2011

The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry

Book Synopsis:
"London. 1876. The painter Amos Roselli is in love with his life-long friend and model, the beautiful Daphne -- and she with him -- until one day she is discovered by another man, a powerful and wealthy industrialist. What will happen when Daphne realizes she has sacrificed her happiness to a loveless marriage? What will happen when the artist realizes he has lost his most cherished source of inspiration? And how will they negotiate the ever-increasing frequency of strange and bizarre events that seem to be driving them inexorably toward self-destruction? Here, amid the extravagant Neo-Gothic culture of Victorian England, the iconic poem, "The Lady of Shalott" blends with mysterious and ghostly glimpses of Tudor history. Romantic, atmospheric, and deeply dark."

my thoughts:

Robert Parry's The Arrow Chest is a Victorian gothic romance blended with a thread of Tudor history -- the buried remains of Anne Boleyn. Her remains were placed in a chest that normally encased hunting arrows (a beheaded body would fit perfectly in a box of this size) and buried without ceremony. A woman once loved and chosen to be Henry VIII's queen, murdered and placed in a simple wooden chest for a coffin. This piece of history follows a parallel story in The Arrow Chest of Daphne, chosen for her beauty and status by the wealthy and powerful Oliver Ramsey. Rotund, brutish, with an eye for attractive women, Ramsey shows contempt for his wife and eventually devises a plan to eliminate her from his life. Amos Roselli, a lifelong friend of Daphne and struggling artist, adores and cherishes his muse, Daphne, and after receiving a commission to paint Ramsey, is distraught watching the treatment she receives at the hands of her husband. Amos knows deep inside that although he will never love another woman as much as Daphne, he is just a struggling artist and would never be accepted into her aristocratic world.

This is a dark and melancholy story with supernatural elements of ghostly appearances and seances adding to the mysterious atmosphere. The character of Beth, the housemaid who is hired at Amos's residence, is a breath of fresh air and added a much-needed touch of cheer and hope for Amos.

The Arrow Chest is a haunting and poignant love story, but it will not end as fairy tales do.....I am completely satisfied with the ending of the story. Sometimes life ends up not as we wish it to be, but as it should be, and the ending was right.

3.5/5 stars

Title: The Arrow Chest
Author: Robert Parry
332 pages
Victorian gothic romance

No comments:

Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »