*I won an advanced readers copy of this book through Goodreads FirstReads Giveaways.*
Since this book is still a few months from release, I am going to attempt to review it in a way that doesn't reveal the 'big twist'. Though, I will say be careful if you're on the book's GoodReads page, because I had it spoiled for me before I'd even gotten my copy of the book by accidentally glancing over at the genres section. Plus...several of the reviews posted here also mention the twist, so if you don't want to know, tread carefully.
That being said, I really enjoyed this book. At it's core, it revolves around the story of James Norbury (and his disappearance), and his sister Charlotte (and her search for her brother). The bulk of the book takes place in late 1800's London, and the author does a great job of setting the atmosphere. It's creepy, and gothic, and dark, and far, far away from the Ton, and society, and balls, and all that.
This book had a lot going on at times as this book had a lot of characters and it often times went into their backstories, which is actually a good thing, as it made the characters more well rounded, and gives one more of a connection to them. The downside to that, though, it that the book meandered at times, and I'd find myself subconsciously trying to rush through to get back to the plot involving James and Charlotte. I think a bit of editing to pare down (but not totally remove), some of the backstories would have helped the book flow a bit better. Plus, the perspective changes several times throughout the book between quite a few different characters--and some chapters are written as journal entries--that took me a little getting used to.
The book--as I mentioned above--had some very well rounded, and well written characters, with some of my favorites being James, Charlotte, Howland, Shadwell, Adeline, and Christopher.
For all that, though, I did fly through the book rather quickly, and I liked how the author left one plot point open enough that there could be a sequel later on.
All in all, I found this to be an engaging debut book, and will definitely keep my eye on this author in the future.