There were many reasons I decided to give this book a go. It cropped up as an automated recommendation on Goodreads some time ago and the cover’s pretty wonderful; so when I found it in my local secondhand bookshop I snaffled it straight away. Add to that the fact it’s set in my native Bristol, and I simply couldn’t say no. Yet again, I’m pleased to say that Goodreads has come up trumps, because I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it anywhere near as much as I did. This is the best kind of historical fiction: full of convincing period flavour without ever sagging under the preparatory research, and enlivened with meaty characters who often occupy the shifting grey mid-tones of morality and are all the more interesting for it.