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The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

The Crimson Rooms

Historical Fiction   Family Drama   Literary Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

This is her first new one since the Richard and Judy chosen book, The Rose of Sebastopol. Although there have been several published over here since, they have all been titles written sometime ago, so this has her back on top form. It is a strong plot-driven story of a young woman coming to terms with the loss of an adored brother, James, in World War I and fighting a male dominated world to be accepted as a lawyer. She lives in a household of female family members and into it comes another young woman with a male child … James’ son. It is a good story, well written.

Comparison: Sarah Waters, Andrea Levy, Georgina Harding.

If you like Katharine McMahon you might also like to read books by Sarah Waters, Neal Stephenson and Meg Clothier.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

Living at home with her mother, aunt, and grandmother, Evelyn is still haunted by the death of her younger brother James in the First World War. She is also determined to make a career for herself as one of the first female lawyers. So when the doorbell rings late one night and a woman appears, claiming to have mothered James's child, her world is turned upside down. Evelyn distrusts Meredith at first, but also finds that this new arrival challenges her work-obsessed lifestyle. So far her legal career has not set the world alight. But then two cases arise that make Evelyn realise perhaps she can make a difference. The first concerns a woman called Leah Marchant whose children have been taken away from her simply because she is poor. The second, Stephen Wheeler, has been charged with murdering his own wife. It is clear that Wheeler is innocent but he won't talk. In the meantime, Meredith makes an earth-shattering accusation about James - and Evelyn falls in love with a man engaged to be married. With the Wheeler case coming to a head, and her heart in limbo, Evelyn takes matters into her own hands...


One of those books so intensely alive in the past that it makes the world you actually live in feel flimsy and thin. McMahon combines a thriller writer's grip, pace and punch with the true novelist's depth and warmth of feeling. -- Hilary Spurling * GUARDIAN *

About the Author

Katharine McMahon

Katharine McMahon was our Guest Editor in April 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.

Katharine McMahon is the author of seven historical novels including The Alchemist’s Daughter, a Waterstone’s Paperback of the Year in 2006, the bestselling Rose of Sebastopol, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection in 2008, and The Crimson Rooms. She has taught in secondary schools, performed in local theatre and worked as a Royal Literary Fund fellow teaching writing skills at the Universities of Hertfordshire and Warwick. She lives in Hertfordshire. She relies on research to uncover connections and revelations in history which will plant the seeds for a novel - and is currently engaged, with some trepidation, in a book set during The French Revolution.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st April 2010


Katharine McMahon

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Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co


480 pages


Historical Fiction
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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