Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson



The title The Devil in the Marshalsea has lately turned up here and there. It seemed to be a book for me; always interested in historical fiction. It was not until I grabbed The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins from my book case that I realised the two were connected. "The Devil…" is the first in a series about Tom Hawkins, a young adventurer in London in the beginning of the 18th century. He is living with his fiancee Kitty Sparks and the two make a great couple. Both independent and going on with their lives as they like. They move as comfortably in high society as in the bourgeoisie and poorer, criminal parts of London.

Tom has a tendency to run into trouble. In this book he is in deep trouble as the first sentence of the books reveals. I used this sentence for a Book Beginnings on Friday.

"No one thought Tom Hawkins would hang. Not until the last moment."

In a weak moment he is promising the 'king of crime' in London to help the king's mistress, Henrietta Howard, out of her distress. That leads to a meeting with Queen Caroline and a mission that almost cost him his life. At the same time he is running into difficulties with a neighbour . He regrets having complained about his boring life.

The idea of the mission is based on the real Henrietta Howard and her brutal husband. In the end of the book Antonia Hodgson gives us the background. I really love books who are based on a real event, especially when the author is able to weave the real story into an interesting fictional story. Hodgson manages this with great skill.  The book was slightly slow in the beginning, but once things started to happen it was difficult to put it down.

I think we can await more books about Tom Hawkins and I am looking forward to the next one in the series.

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