A lady undertaker during the Victorian age? Why, Queen Victoria would certainly not approve! Or would she? In 1861 London, Violet Morgan works as an undertaker in her husband's business where she gains the respect of her clients and loves her job. Despite a difficult husband who wants her to be a society matron instead of an undertaker, Violet is satisfied with her life until everything in her life is changed forever. In "Lady of Ashes" by Christine Trent, the tumultuous world of a female undertaker in Victorian England with the Civil War in the United States looming in the background is portrayed.
"Lady of Ashes" is the story of Violet Morgan and her life as undertaker, wife, mother, and woman. Violet enjoys her unconventional profession as an undertaker, but her husband Graham believes she should be staying at home to make their house beautiful and becoming involved in society. Violet has other plans. She throws herself into undertaking and even comes to the attention of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and helps prepare Prince Albert's funeral. Violet's life is soon thrown into chaos though. The arrival of a young girl from a workhouse that she adopts as her own, her husband's dangerous schemes with the Confederacy in the United States, a handsome American, and her investigating mysterious deaths in London makes Violet's life turn upside down. Full of history, the world of undertaking, mystery, and romance, "Lady of Ashes" is a true page turner!
"Lady of Ashes" is yet another great look from Trent at strong and hard-working women in unconventional and different professions. Trent's Violet is hard-working, strong, compassionate, and completely in love with what she does. It's always invigorating to read about a strong woman who loves her job.
Trent puts much detail into the historical aspect of the novel. From the details about Victorian undertaking, Victorian England and the poverty in London during the time, and the political impact the Civil War in the United States had on England, Trent has done her research.
The novel does seem over-stuffed with storylines though. From Graham's hatred of the United States and scheming to sell items to the Confederacy, the ambition of the Adams family, Queen Victoria's mourning of Prince Albert, and Violet's numerous storylines make for a crowded novel. It can be a bit overwhelming at times.
"Lady of Ashes" is still another well-written and fine novel by Trent. The world of undertakers has never been so interesting!
To purchase "Lady of Ashes": http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Ashes-Christine-Trent/dp/0758265913
For more information on Christine Trent: http://www.christinetrent.com/