Welcome back to Thriller Thursdays
How are you, my fellow book nerds?
I’ve been itching to write this review for days and am so happy that I’ve finally had time to get around to it.
Madam Tulip and The Bones of Chance, by David Ahern
Our leading lady, Derry is passionate about her work as an actor and is thought of as both a talented and professional individual. From the start of the story, I sensed that things were not about to go to plan for our heroine when she is offered a mysterious role in a film that is to take place at an old Scottish castle.
Something niggled at the back of my mind- a feeling I often get when reading Ahern’s work. His tension building skills are amazing and kept me on edge from the first page to the last.
‘Humans cannot abide silence. If you wait long enough, they will start talking, and they will tell the truth.’
I loved the dreary Scottish setting, with the ancient castle reinforcing the mysterious atmosphere of The Madam Tulip Series.
The castle is described as-
‘Impressive- like the fairy castles Derry remembered drawing as a little girl- way too tall- more like an elaborate birthday cake than a stronghold to be held against murderous clansmen.’
Such brief descriptions really brought the story to life for me and helped to capture my imagination.
The author has a marvellous way of forewarning Derry’s character of impending danger.
‘She felt the first stirrings of alarm. The Queen’s fate was stretching and distorting, two tilted heads smearing themselves over the glossy surface, as if in a misshapen mirror. Now, the figure was barely recognisable as a Queen, hardly as a woman. As the colours spread like oil on water, she seemed no longer even human.’
This quote comes shortly after Jessica (Film Director’s Personal Assistant) has a psychic reading performed by Derry, in which Jessica repeats strange phrases and peculiar gestures. It’s almost as if she’s trying to get a secret message across to Derry without anyone overhearing and suspecting. I found this to be rather odd and began to suspect Jessica of some sort of foul play.
Ahern goes to great lengths to paint Derry’s psychic abilities as believable, mainly by describing familiar sensations that most readers have experienced at least once in their lives.
‘-the buzzing, disgusting swarm that still made her shiver to remember- an unhinging effect.’
The sheer detail of these physical sensations gives a lot more credence to Derry’s unique extra-sensory abilities. Readers can experience these sensations along with Derry, as if the events of her life are actually happening to them, first hand.
Of all the characters, there was one that constantly made me smile, and one other that had me questioning where their loyalties lay.
Jessica (Carson’s PA) grows more mysterious with each chapter that passes. At first, I saw her as a sweet young woman with great potential, but as the story continued, her personality seemed to shift. Her moods were never the same and there was always something eerie about her choice of words when speaking with Derry.
Needless to say, this got under my skin, making me question Jess’s moral character.
On the other hand, Derry’s father, Jacko is an absolute delight. He always seems so full of life and never misses an opportunity to tell Derry just how proud he is of her.
‘Light of my firmament. All is well, I trust?’
Even Jacko’s casual greetings are fuelled by warmth, love, and compassion. Jacko encourages Derry to hone her unique abilities and is one of the most caring father figures I’ve witnessed in literature.
This book far exceeded my expectations, proving that The Madam Tulip Series can only get better. The story leaves us with one final thought-
‘Who cared about anything-else, if the people you loved were happy? And, even if fate had other plans, what was the point of worry?’
After all Derry went through, she is still able to look on the bright side of things, with hope for a more promising future.
I rate this book 5 stars.
I would gladly recommend Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance to anyone interested in Thrillers, Mysteries, or even Historical Fiction.
Thank you for joining me for this review.
Take care and keep on reading,