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Set in the final years of King Henry VIII's reign, an alchemist's daughter uses her skills to aid the living and helps seek justice for the dead... While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like Set in the final years of King Henry VIII's reign, an alchemist's daughter uses her skills to aid the living and helps seek justice for the dead... While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twined around the child's neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Bianca's impish acquaintance, Fisk, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim... There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes, she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. The expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever...


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Set in the final years of King Henry VIII's reign, an alchemist's daughter uses her skills to aid the living and helps seek justice for the dead... While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like Set in the final years of King Henry VIII's reign, an alchemist's daughter uses her skills to aid the living and helps seek justice for the dead... While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twined around the child's neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Bianca's impish acquaintance, Fisk, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim... There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes, she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. The expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever...

30 review for The Lost Boys of London

  1. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    A fitting end to a masterful Tudor Mystery series! It's 1545 London and Bianca Goddard once again is called upon by Constable Patch to lend her skills, and finds herself in the midst of a troubling puzzle. Patch is of course unconcerned that these things are happening outside his jurisdiction. He's ambitious! At two different times in differing places boys have been hung from neighbouring local church grotesques (gargoyles). Bianca is scared that her young friend Fisk who's been missing will meet A fitting end to a masterful Tudor Mystery series! It's 1545 London and Bianca Goddard once again is called upon by Constable Patch to lend her skills, and finds herself in the midst of a troubling puzzle. Patch is of course unconcerned that these things are happening outside his jurisdiction. He's ambitious! At two different times in differing places boys have been hung from neighbouring local church grotesques (gargoyles). Bianca is scared that her young friend Fisk who's been missing will meet the same fate. Along with Bianca we find ourselves "in a world full of lost boys—abandoned children, of men killed in battle, men scarred from war, of boys who grow into petulant kings, and men who forfeit the gift of loving their children." (Part of a very poignant comment at the end of the novel.) Meanwhile, over a year ago, Bianca's husband John Grunt had been dragged off with King Henry's army, intent on taking retribution against Scotland. England is winning, well actually raping, pillaging and burning across the borderlands to Edinburgh. Then comes Melrose Abbey and the profaned destruction of the Earl of Angus’s family tomb. The Scots would have their revenge. That came as a rout of the English Army at Ancrum Moor! Fleeing the carnage John struggles for home. A long and painful journey. There's no media to give a blow by blow update, all Bianca and her friend Cammy can do is rely on passing newsmonger's rumor, "misconstrued by miles of weary couriers". I must admit to sometimes hating the immediacy of communications in our times, but when wondering about loved ones as here, it's a boon. I love the cover of this book. The watchful poignancy of the young lad reflects that which the novel hints at for those caught up in circumstances beyond their control. Of wariness, helplessness and confusion, and trying to overcome the worst of circumstances. Having read all previous titles in the series, this last novel was a fitting conclusion. I found that the caring Bianca (as an alchemist/ herbalist), despite her many woes and troubles, marches to the beat of her own drum in a way that fits with the times. She displays insight' courage and charity, alongside starts that occasionally make you scratch your head and wonder what the dickens she's up to. Journeying with her are a string of colorful characters, including a cat, that either enrichen and enliven, or disappoint and disappear. A Red Puddle Print ARC via NetGalley

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dragina

    This is why I love murder mysteries. THIS. 💖💖💖 o.o I can't comprehend my own thoughts right now. Honestly this book is an abnormal read for me considering I never ever read the end of a series first, however, when I was offered a physical copy I couldn't refuse. Since every book in this series can be read as a standalone I figured I give this one a shot. It didn't disappoint. Setting ~ OH MY WORD. THE SETTING IS SO FLUSHED OUT!!! It's set in England during the 1500's and the attention to detail i This is why I love murder mysteries. THIS. 💖💖💖 o.o I can't comprehend my own thoughts right now. Honestly this book is an abnormal read for me considering I never ever read the end of a series first, however, when I was offered a physical copy I couldn't refuse. Since every book in this series can be read as a standalone I figured I give this one a shot. It didn't disappoint. Setting ~ OH MY WORD. THE SETTING IS SO FLUSHED OUT!!! It's set in England during the 1500's and the attention to detail is astounding. All the facts are correct and the murders are really believable considering that time in England's history. Cities, country, churches, bars, and anything you'd find in England. I kinda want to read the rest of the series now and get more info about the characters. Description ~ I WILL FLAIL. LET ME FLAIL. 😭😍😭😍 GAH. It was perfect. The historic info, the accents, the way everyone handled themselves. It was full of historical facts and relatable situations based off that period of time. 💖 Plot ~ It was just how a murder mystery should be. Twisty, offering random information that eventually led up to the solution. Everything connected, leaving no scene out of the plot development. Romance ~ Ehh. A relationship between husband and wife ... it was kinda cute? I loved how loyal they were since that's not displayed a lot in real life or fiction. It's not a romantic novel....xD Content ~ Multiple dead bodies. Nothing gruesome.... There's a certain amount of suspension that comes with it, but nothing that borders on horror. There is some slight mentions of a man touching a naked woman (they're married but I didn't think those scenes were really necessary). It's very brief and not super detailed, just suggestive. I'd rate it PG 13 ... but I believe this book/series is aimed at an older crowd (older teens / adults). For anyone below, it could be difficult to comprehend. Characters ~ Since I haven't read the beginning books I can't say how much they've developed from the very start, however, there was growth. While I felt rather detached from most of them (maybe because I just need to read the first books?) the MC's came to mean a lot to me. Bianca ~ First off, I love her name. Secondly she was just so much fun to hang out with, especially considering the way she handled herself. Thirdly that was a unique ending to her arc. I rather liked it? John ~ He's adorable. I love how protective he is of his family (although he's not with his wife for much of the book you still see how he's always thinking of her safety). 💕 Patch ~ He's to arrogant and snobby for his own good...and I feel like he should have had some more developed. Fisk ~ He's just perfect. I HAVE CLAIMED HIM AS MY CHILD. I WILL PROTECT HIM FOREVER. Overall ~ It was an enjoyable read and while there were some elements that bothered me they were squashed by the things I loved. I'd probably recommend it to most of my friends, but keep in mind what I stated in the content section before picking it up. **FTC DISCLOSURE** I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not affiliated with the author in any way. If anything I stated in this review was offensive please don't take it personally. I was not trying to be offensive. Thanks!! :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    Bianca Goddard is a completely new to me sleuth, last year was the first time I discovered her and it was the fourth book that I picked up. I was told that each book in the series could be read as a standalone, so I was excited to dive in, even if I was skeptical. I was thrilled that the book was indeed possible to read as a standalone and thought it was a very interesting and enjoyable series so I was excited to read the next book, even if I haven’t gone back and read the other books in the seri Bianca Goddard is a completely new to me sleuth, last year was the first time I discovered her and it was the fourth book that I picked up. I was told that each book in the series could be read as a standalone, so I was excited to dive in, even if I was skeptical. I was thrilled that the book was indeed possible to read as a standalone and thought it was a very interesting and enjoyable series so I was excited to read the next book, even if I haven’t gone back and read the other books in the series. This book sounded exceptionally good as it is set in the final days of Henry VIII reign and seemed to include a Catholic reference so I was excited to see how this one unfolded and as always, to read a well done mystery. One of the things that I remember loving from the first book I read in this series, was how detailed the setting was. The author writes with authority on the period and really makes the reader feel as though they are right there with the characters on the streets of London. The Tudor period is all glitz and glamour when it comes to courtier books, but this book took the darker side of the Tudor era and transports readers to a much seedier area of London. Not only is the time period well research and developed, Bianca’s character has quickly become a favorite of mine. She is smart and witty. She is more of a middle class character which makes her relatable, like she could easily be a close personal friend of yours and her profession gives readers a unique perspective. Combining the vivid setting and spunk of Bianca makes the book an easy one to review. I enjoyed it immensely and loved how the author made sure to keep readers filled in on the previous books in the series. I never felt lost or confused. There were loads of twists and turns in this gritty book to keep me guessing until the end. It wrapped up nicely for me and I felt more than satisfied with the story and series thus far. I would have to say that I think I enjoyed this book more than the fourth book, and that’s saying something because the fourth one was excellent as well! I understand that this book is supposed to be the last one in the series and that just makes me so sad because this is a great series with so much appeal and potential. For me it filled a niche in the historical mystery genre that just wasn’t explored much. So often authors pick Victorian, Regency, or WWII to set their historical mystery novels, I rarely see a historical mystery set in the Tudor era so reading this series has been an absolute pleasure and I look forward to going back and reading the other books in the series! Don’t miss this one! See my full review here

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Goldberg Wilks

    The Lost Boys of London, by Mary Lawrence, is the fifth book in the Bianca Goddard mystery series. The book is expected to be released on April 28, 2020. If you have read prior books in the series – or my earlier reviews – you know that Bianca Goddard is the daughter of a disgraced alchemist and a white witch. Bianca draws from both parents as she works in her room of Medicinals and Physickes. This latest installment in the series begins in February 1545 and essentially picks up where the last The Lost Boys of London, by Mary Lawrence, is the fifth book in the Bianca Goddard mystery series. The book is expected to be released on April 28, 2020. If you have read prior books in the series – or my earlier reviews – you know that Bianca Goddard is the daughter of a disgraced alchemist and a white witch. Bianca draws from both parents as she works in her room of Medicinals and Physickes. This latest installment in the series begins in February 1545 and essentially picks up where the last book, The Alchemist of Lost Souls, ended. Bianca’s husband, John, having been conscripted into King Henry’s army, is still away fighting in Scotland. Bianca, meanwhile, continues concocting her medicines that her friend, Meddybemps, then sells for her. During this time, Bianca is summoned by Constable Patch. A young boy has been found hanging from the side of one of London’s churches – murdered – and Patch needs Bianca’s assistance. This is not the only murder, nor the only church. Who is killing these young boys? And, where is Bianca’s young friend Fisk? As we accompany Bianca on her journey, searching for Fisk and seeking the murderer, we learn a bit about London’s Lost Boys and about Fisk’s family. We also gain some insight into the changes in the religious tenor of Henry’s Tudor England. The Lost Boys of London is another interesting and well-written addition to the Bianca Goddard series. Lawrence does a masterful job of capturing the everyday life of the common people in Tudor times. The biggest disappointment for me came as I was reading the Author’s Note and discovered that this is the last book in the series. I was sure that Lawrence had a few more books planned, so this discovery was a shock. I am going to miss Bianca Goddard. However, I will await other new and exciting work from Lawrence. Meanwhile, I highly recommend the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stanley McShane

    When I received a request to read Book 5 of the Bianca Goddard Mystery Series, The Lost Boys of London, I jumped at the offer. This is one of my new go-to authors and this one certainly retains that high standard of Renaissance fascination with the waning days of King Henry VIII and the upheaval in the deeply dividing controversy of church and royalty. The book exceeds with atmospheric description, turning the nose at the smells of the dark alleyways while watering the eyes. The reader is there When I received a request to read Book 5 of the Bianca Goddard Mystery Series, The Lost Boys of London, I jumped at the offer. This is one of my new go-to authors and this one certainly retains that high standard of Renaissance fascination with the waning days of King Henry VIII and the upheaval in the deeply dividing controversy of church and royalty. The book exceeds with atmospheric description, turning the nose at the smells of the dark alleyways while watering the eyes. The reader is there in the Dim Dragon Inn, sharing a pint amid the boisterous crowd, the cacophony of ale infused men bidding attention from the barmaids with their swishing skirts and jostling tankard laden trays. The author has the Tudor language down to a gnat's eyeball. AYE! I'm responding in kind as the dialogue is so immersive in the period! Bianca is a strong protagonist, existing by her wits and finding ways to keep herself together while her beloved husband, John Grunt, braves the inhospitable winter-time borderlands of Scotland fighting the Scots for his king. But it's the deaths of two young boys that have caught her attention, somehow tied to the churches followed by the disappearance of young Fisk. Bianca had planned to employ young Fisk to help search for the plants she uses for her Medicinals and Physickes sold through Meddybemps, a streetseller. Worry for Fisk has her ramping efforts to solve the mystery of Fisk and the young boys. While the reader follows Bianca's investigation, John's precarious plight takes form. Bianca follows her clues and instincts to flush the antagonist in a heart-pounding climax drawing the reader to a soul satisfying conclusion. I received this beautiful book from the author in expectation of a review. These are my honest and independent thoughts. If you have interest in historical or literary fiction or just plain well-plotted, fast-paced mystery, this book and series are a must read. Totally recommended! See my full review at https://rosepointpublishing.com/2020/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This is the fifth and final book in the Bianca Goddard mystery series, but it was fine as an individual read. If you'd like to investigate Bianca's other mysteries with her, you can check out the rest of the series on the author's website, MaryLawrenceBooks.com. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. Bianca Goddard, a tough and spunky apothecary in London, is dragged into a mystery by her egotistical acquaintance, Constable Patch. A young boy has been found hung from a church with an unusually p This is the fifth and final book in the Bianca Goddard mystery series, but it was fine as an individual read. If you'd like to investigate Bianca's other mysteries with her, you can check out the rest of the series on the author's website, MaryLawrenceBooks.com. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. Bianca Goddard, a tough and spunky apothecary in London, is dragged into a mystery by her egotistical acquaintance, Constable Patch. A young boy has been found hung from a church with an unusually peaceful expression on his face. When Bianca's young friend Fisk goes missing as well, she relies on her skills, friends, and instincts to find the culprit before Fisk becomes another lost boy of London. While not political like the medieval Owen Archer series, Bianca is intriguing to follow. In this novel, she's investigating the murders of street urchins, which probably wouldn't be worth investigating to Archer's Lords and Ladies. Being a part of the more common class gives Bianca a viewpoint that readers can more easily identify with. She's tough, wise, and recognizes the importance of her friends with her husband away in the war. This is a well-written novel, and it entertained and mystified me until the end. You can read my full review at www.samiamreadingandreviewing.wordpre....

  7. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    This latest book in Mary Lawrence's Bianca Goddard mysteries delivers a good read and escape into the gray streets of Tudor England. The main character, Bianca Goddard, is a believable protagonist, and with each book, she grows in complexity and strength. You'll enjoy the rich atmosphere of the time: market street characters, constables and vendors, flavorful dialogue, winding alleys, impressive architecture, and the portrayal of social classes. Brush aside the numerous punctuation errors and yo This latest book in Mary Lawrence's Bianca Goddard mysteries delivers a good read and escape into the gray streets of Tudor England. The main character, Bianca Goddard, is a believable protagonist, and with each book, she grows in complexity and strength. You'll enjoy the rich atmosphere of the time: market street characters, constables and vendors, flavorful dialogue, winding alleys, impressive architecture, and the portrayal of social classes. Brush aside the numerous punctuation errors and you'll soon be deep into the investigation of a little boy's death that sends Bianca into dangerous territory. Fisk is a delightful character, and the opening of the story takes you on a breathtaking chase, hopeful and delighted at his cleverness and pluck. My favorite is the continued information on herbs and home remedies. The reader is also treated to scenes in Scotland where her husband, John, is fighting on the battlefield. As tensions increase, it's clear life will not be the same for John and Bianca after he returns home. Although this is book five, it can stand alone. But do go back to book one and enjoy the growth of Bianca. This is a good story with an intriguing and solid plot, engaging escalation of trouble for Bianca, and plenty of murder and suspicion to take you away from a week of stress.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. Little boys are being found murdered in the london of Henry the 8, and what passes for the police force, allied with a local woman alchemist (She'll be lucky she isn't burned as a witch in a few years). They solve the mystery. Not quite a cozy, but darn close to it. I found that the shoe-horning of modern sensibilities in the story was awkward.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mick Dubois

    This story takes place in 1545, near the end of Henry VIII’s reign. The infamous king is fighting 2 wars, on the continent against the French and the other one closer to home against the Scottish. Those military campaigns drain the country of its money and of its young men who’re being conscripted. Bianca’s and Cammie’s husband and paramour are fighting in the borders, while Fisk’s father is away in France. News is scarce and unreliable. The fate of a loved one is only clear when they return, or This story takes place in 1545, near the end of Henry VIII’s reign. The infamous king is fighting 2 wars, on the continent against the French and the other one closer to home against the Scottish. Those military campaigns drain the country of its money and of its young men who’re being conscripted. Bianca’s and Cammie’s husband and paramour are fighting in the borders, while Fisk’s father is away in France. News is scarce and unreliable. The fate of a loved one is only clear when they return, or not. The religious reforms the king made when he decreed it to be sinful to wed his brother’s widow didn’t fall well with the priests who saw a large part of their income abolished or with the monks who were all pensioned off while the abbeys’ possessions got confiscated by the crown. Some still secretly held on to the old religion despite all papists being persecuted for treason. But for some that listened to the sermons of Maarten Luther, the English reforms don’t go far enough. When a young boy is found hanging from a grotesque (gargoyle) on the outside wall of St Mary Magdalen’s church, Constable Patch is one of the first officials on the site. Despite it not being in his own ward, he sends for Bianca Goddard, an herbalist who helped him in the past with solving other murders. There’s a paternoster (rosemary) wound around the boy’s neck but he died from hanging and looks abnormally peaceful. Nobody seems to know who this child is. Most likely he was living on the streets and survived by stealing. There are vague rumours about “the deft drigger” a Fagin-like figure, which organises and lives off child-thieves. But no-one seems to know if he really exists or if he’s a figure of imagination. Bianca wants to offer an apprenticeship to young Fisk, who assisted already in previous cases, but he’s disappeared and she’s worried when another child is found hanged from another church. Between the chapters about the murders, we get flashes how reluctant pike man John fares in the army. Warfare was very brutal and cruel in those times (when are they not?) and conflicts between arise the archers and the pikemen who protect them but aren’t respected I must say that the author meticulously researched this period. Not so easy as this story is about ordinary commoners, working-class people whereas most historical documents involve the higher classes with the politics and drama of the grand courts. The sights and even smells of the extremely filthy refuse filled and rat-infested streets are in vivid contrast with the palaces and their rich occupants. Because I didn’t read the previous books, it puzzled me why she keeps referring to Hobs, a cat as immortal but all became clear over the course of the story. The story itself is very well constructed, but the eventual explanation and motivation for the murders felt a bit light and unrealistic. It was definitely original and well found but a bit rushed as if the deadline was near and the story in need for an ending. There’s a useful glossary at the end of the book and I wish that I noticed that at the start as it would have saved me from looking up certain unknown archaic words. Not long after I started reading, I noticed that –with all the references to previous adventures- this story was part of a series. Not that I had problems to understand what goes on in this story, but there are ease and familiarity between the characters that speak of an older acquaintance. It can be read perfectly as a standalone, but that would be a shame because I also discovered that this was the last book in this series. Why stop when you have a good thing going? Who knows, maybe she might reconsider. I thank Netgalley for an ARC of this book, this is my honest and unbiased review of it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Coralee Hicks

    In an interview published on Debbie de Louise's Ruff Drafts (June 4 2019) Lawrence indicated The Lost Boys of London would be the final book in this series. I hope this is not so. Bianca is such a wonderful character, I would love to read more of her adventures. If this is the last book, it finishes the series on a high note. This is not a 'cozy mystery'. True, Bianca is an amateur sleuth. Her powers of observation place her far above the level of law enforcement in London at that time. True, th In an interview published on Debbie de Louise's Ruff Drafts (June 4 2019) Lawrence indicated The Lost Boys of London would be the final book in this series. I hope this is not so. Bianca is such a wonderful character, I would love to read more of her adventures. If this is the last book, it finishes the series on a high note. This is not a 'cozy mystery'. True, Bianca is an amateur sleuth. Her powers of observation place her far above the level of law enforcement in London at that time. True, there are characters who appear throughout the series. This is true for all series. Unlike a typical cozy, this series was set in the waning years of King Henry VIII reign. What sold me on the series was Lawrence's decision to not focus on Court life. She chose to write about the common Londoner of that time. The Lost Boys is set during the last of winter. That period when the chill is still evident and snow has given away to continual drizzle. The plague years are all but over, and now the streets are filled with beggars and orphans left destitute by those grim years. Another group drawn to London are the people of the monasteries that were shuttered by Henry's reformation. Murder is never to be taken lightly. Most agree that the murder of a child is especially loathsome. Combine this with the method of murder, strangulation with the corpse dangling from a church wall, the reader is almost compelled to stay up and find the solution along with Bianca. Adding to the tension, a boy who has caught Bianca's attention -- she wishes to make him an apprentice-- has disappeared. It is rumored that Fisk is part of a loose gang of boys organized by a Fagin like character. She fears the worse. Her mood is not improved by the lack of news from the war in Scotland. Her husband, John Grunt, is a pike man in this war. Lawrence moves the action from London to Scotland revealing the horrors of that conflict. This conflict know today as the "Rough Wooing" describes battle behavior that horrifyingly still continues in the 20th Century. War is transformative, will John be able to escape unchanged? The third element in the Lost Boys of London is the introduction of the politics of the Church of England. Lawrence presents a church crushed by the power of the Bishops, by the lack of charity, by the priest more concerned with appearance than with ministering to his congregation. The war in Scotland seems very remote; the war of Faith walks the streets of London. Through all this Bianca is alone. Left with a few friends such as Meddybemps, her bar maid friend, and her maybe immortal cat, she mourns her miscarriage. Lawrence's decision to let incidents in previous books play out in current titles brings a sense of realism to her work. The overall tone of this mystery is stark. The puzzle is not easily solved. The life and death situations seem very real. This is a historical mystery at it's finest. Highly recommended for history fans. Suitable for sophistication YA readers through adult.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Jones

    The Alchemy of Unforgettable Fiction- Who is not moved by the theme of lost boys? In the absence of her soldier husband, and in the wake of their own child's loss, Bianca Goddard is lonesome. When the children of her ramshackle neighborhood are threatened, she is drawn from her solitude. Within the pages of this volume, the alchemist’s daughter enters at last into a fuller life in the London of Henry VIII., where even the youngest are pawns. True to Mary Lawrence’s previous books in this series, t The Alchemy of Unforgettable Fiction- Who is not moved by the theme of lost boys? In the absence of her soldier husband, and in the wake of their own child's loss, Bianca Goddard is lonesome. When the children of her ramshackle neighborhood are threatened, she is drawn from her solitude. Within the pages of this volume, the alchemist’s daughter enters at last into a fuller life in the London of Henry VIII., where even the youngest are pawns. True to Mary Lawrence’s previous books in this series, the author displays her knowledge of Tudor era London, of its streets and neighborhoods, of the troubles of the Church and its hierarchy, of Henry’s concurrent military campaigns in France and in Scotland, and of the moods of the River Thames itself. Like its predecessors, this lyrical mystery captured my imagination. More than a crime story, Lawrence’s literature pulls her readers like the current of the river Bianca sees every day. The fifth and final book in the Bianca Goddard Mysteries includes the full range of Bianca’s elemental “family.” Fisk, Meddybemps, John, Patch, Boivert, Hobs and the others…these characters are now our intimates; in their alchemical mix they amuse or appall us, they are folks we admire and deplore. At the end of this series, we’re left with not just a superb set of mysteries, but with a clan who feel real to us, and whose futures matter – even the feline’s. As in previous episodes, Meddybemps’ patter alone is worth the cover price. After all we’ve been through with Bianca, Lawrence’s summation is wise, true, and touching. I regret to see this series end. And…God’s nails! Readers who fail to engage with The Lost Boys of London are no more than cozens, base losels, fit for naught but some lesser parchmener’s pribbling, forsooth. As you may guess, I especially enjoyed the glossary in the back. Lawrence’s use of period terms is contagious. Anon, goode readers, and get thee to a library!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann White

    Having read all five books of the Bianca Goddard Mystery Series, The Lost Boys of London is my favorite (if, indeed it is possible to choose a favorite!). This tale is set once again in London during King Henry Vlll’s rule. John, Bianca’s husband, is away fighting the Scot’s for the Kings anticipated victory. For months he struggles to stay alive during the brutal battles. His mind is occupied with survival, wondering how Bianca is handling the care of their newborn son and existing by making he Having read all five books of the Bianca Goddard Mystery Series, The Lost Boys of London is my favorite (if, indeed it is possible to choose a favorite!). This tale is set once again in London during King Henry Vlll’s rule. John, Bianca’s husband, is away fighting the Scot’s for the Kings anticipated victory. For months he struggles to stay alive during the brutal battles. His mind is occupied with survival, wondering how Bianca is handling the care of their newborn son and existing by making her medicinals and physickes. Sadly, John has no idea that Bianca had had a miscarriage. Horrifically, a young boy is found hanging from a church dripstone. A rosary is discovered twisted around his neck. Bianca is summoned by Constable Patch to review the body and the circumstances. A week later another boy is found hanging in the same manner at another church. Bianca, being the inquisitive person she is, jumps right in trying to discover who has committed this terrible crime and also wants to try and prevent any other young boys from falling into such danger especially since Fisk, the son of an acquaintance has gone missing! Mary Lawrence is so talented in describing life in London during this time period. She uses language of the ordinary Londoner’s in such unique ways. The descriptions of living conditions, smells, clothing, etc. makes one feel they are right along side of Bianca in her quest to solve this mystery. For anyone who thrives on adventure, mystery, and being transcended to another time period of history, you will love this book! Sadly, it is Bianca’s final challenge of helping to solve crimes in Gull Hole and surrounding areas of London.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joyce White

    Mary Lawrence does not disappoint with her fifth Tudor mystery. Bianca Goddard continues to concoct medicinals for Londoners, and actually finds herself needing to hire a young boy, Fisk, her helper in a previous novel, to assist in collecting herbs for her remedies. We follow Bianca as she learns a young boy has been found hanged, disturbingly, at one of the many churches in London. We join her in her musings: why does he look so peaceful? Who would target such an innocent child? Will the hangm Mary Lawrence does not disappoint with her fifth Tudor mystery. Bianca Goddard continues to concoct medicinals for Londoners, and actually finds herself needing to hire a young boy, Fisk, her helper in a previous novel, to assist in collecting herbs for her remedies. We follow Bianca as she learns a young boy has been found hanged, disturbingly, at one of the many churches in London. We join her in her musings: why does he look so peaceful? Who would target such an innocent child? Will the hangman strike again? Where has Fisk gone? Constable Patch resurfaces, with his novel speech and irritating manner, as Bianca’s Vivid descriptions of London’s muddy roads and her cloudy river Thames keep the reader grounded as the intricacies of the plot become more intense. The newly-introduced characters could make for confusion, but Ms Lawrence provides enough content to enable her readers to form a clear picture of each one. John, Bianca’s husband, is not forgotten-his plight as an unwilling fighter in King Henry III’s war on Scotland is detailed in short, gritty scenes. We feel his weariness and despair-will he ever seeing his bride again? Just when the reader thinks they have solved the murders, another twist presents itself. I thoroughly enjoyed Bianca Goddard’s latest adventure and hope to see more. They’re the best reason for staying up past my bedtime!

  14. 4 out of 5

    ♣Bel♣

    The Lost Boys of London 4 stars First off I want to say that I am completely obsessed with Tudor England in general, and even more so with King Henry VIII’s reign. I love seeing fictional depictions in that setting, especially if they’re done right. And this one was done very much so. The attention to details, the world building, the descriptions of the settings, the people, all of it was true and accurate to the time period. It made my Tudor obsessed heart happy to see so. The plot and mystery o The Lost Boys of London 4 stars First off I want to say that I am completely obsessed with Tudor England in general, and even more so with King Henry VIII’s reign. I love seeing fictional depictions in that setting, especially if they’re done right. And this one was done very much so. The attention to details, the world building, the descriptions of the settings, the people, all of it was true and accurate to the time period. It made my Tudor obsessed heart happy to see so. The plot and mystery of the book was also crafted really well and I truly enjoyed every minute of it. It intrigued and captivated me from the beginning and continued to do so with each page. The ending took me by surprise and I’m still reeling. It was incredible. It has me more than excited to read the rest of the series! Another aspect I really enjoyed about The Lost Boys of London, was (this again is part of the phenomenal accuracy of the world building) the inclusion of the war details of the time period, as well as the religious views and struggles of many at the time. The volatile lives so many had to live through isn’t detailed very much in historical fiction depictions. While we get a general idea of the harsh times many lived through, I appreciated the detailed representation of the everyday lives many experienced. It was very intriguing and really allows the reader to feel like they are a part of the story. One of the greatest things about picking up a book is to feel like you’re transported into the time period and world itself and that was very much the case here. It was amazing experience and I look forward to reading more from this author!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    An excellent add to the Bianca Goddard Series. I loved this book, I read it during one cold May Saturday! Each chapter provided another layer of suspense as it built more questions in order to understand to the main mystery. Additionally, I enjoyed learning about the Tudor historical time period and how difficult living and surviving was for the characters. Thank you Mary Lawrence to your dedication for your research and writing skills!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Louis Henke

    The Bianca Goddard Mysteries by Mary Lawrence are fantastic and The Lost Boys of London is the best one yet. Her recreation of Tudor London is accurate and spot-on. Her character development is great and makes me feel like I know them personally. The story line and mystery development grabs hold and keeps me reading late into the night. I most highly recommend The Lost Boys of London.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    In the twilight years of Henry VIII's reign, alchemist's daughter Bianca Goddard uses her skills to aid the living, and help seek justice for the dead . . . While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide--like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twisted around In the twilight years of Henry VIII's reign, alchemist's daughter Bianca Goddard uses her skills to aid the living, and help seek justice for the dead . . . While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide--like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twisted around the child's neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Fisk, the impish little son of Bianca's acquaintance, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim . . . There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, dark-stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. But the expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever . I love this series and am sad to see it end. Hopefully, a new series will be forthcoming from this wonderful author.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    Mary Lawrence’s Bianca Goddard series is the equivalent of a 16th century version of CSI: London. The series takes place in London during the reign of King Henry VIII and life for the average Londoner is not easy. In the beginning of The Lost Boys of London a young boy is found dead, hanging from the dripstone of a church. Constable Patch, a regular in the series, happens to pass by the crowd that discovers the body. Even though this church is not in his jurisdiction, Patch takes a keen interest Mary Lawrence’s Bianca Goddard series is the equivalent of a 16th century version of CSI: London. The series takes place in London during the reign of King Henry VIII and life for the average Londoner is not easy. In the beginning of The Lost Boys of London a young boy is found dead, hanging from the dripstone of a church. Constable Patch, a regular in the series, happens to pass by the crowd that discovers the body. Even though this church is not in his jurisdiction, Patch takes a keen interest in this discovery. Since this was an unusual case, he consults with Bianca Goddard as her expertise has helped him on previous cases. Bianca is the daughter of an alchemist and has taken up the practice of herbal medicine, and because of her occupation, she very much thinks like a scientist. As Patch and Bianca begins to investigate this case it isn’t too long before another victim is found. This case eventually becomes personal for Bianca when a young boy named Fisk disappears. Fisk has helped Bianca on previous cases and she has a natural fondness for him in part because he comes from a poor family and often has to scavenge for food to feed his family. Bianca is consumed with fear that Fisk will be the next victim, so time is short to solve this case. The Lost Boys of London reads very much like a forensic mystery with the exception that it takes place in the mid-1500s when religion takes precedence over science. Bianca doesn’t have the advantages of fingerprint analysis or DNA testing, but she does have a keen awareness to details. In many ways she is more like a Tudor era version of Sherlock Holmes. Mary Lawrence’s style of writing gives the reader a feeling that they are right there in 16th century London by using the vernacular of that time period. She also makes interesting references to historical occurrences that take place during King Henry VIII’s reign such as the fall-out that resulted from establishment of the Church of England and the consequences that befell the former clergy of the Catholic Church. This makes for an educational as well as an entertaining read. For the most part this could be read without reading the rest of the series, but Lawrence does make references to previous additions to the series mainly in relation to her husband’s recruitment into the military to fight the Scots and as well as other familial relationships, so reading the previous novels would be useful in that respect. Overall, reading The Lost Boys of London will make social-distancing a lot more fun. If you are interested in learning more about the Bianca Goddard Series check it out on my blog A-Thrill-A-Week

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bennett

    BLURB Set in the final years of King Henry VIII's reign, an alchemist's daughter uses her skills to aid the living and helps seek justice for the dead... While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twined around the ch BLURB Set in the final years of King Henry VIII's reign, an alchemist's daughter uses her skills to aid the living and helps seek justice for the dead... While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London's sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twined around the child's neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Bianca's impish acquaintance, Fisk, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim... There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes, she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. The expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever REVIEW A thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery set in London during Henry VIII's tumultuous reign. Bianca Goddard is one persistent sleuth as she unravels a series of crimes where there are many persons of interest and motives. Tis a plot full of surprises including the fate of her husband, off fighting for Henry in Scotland. The author has once again got me to wondering how people lived in any big city. Her descriptions of the city are wonderful, the markets, the churches, heck the smells alone eke out from the pages; a heady mixture of human waste, rotting garbage, and the ever pleasant aroma of tanneries. The main characters are enlivened with the speech of the streets; the patois of constables and street sellers, making the narrative not only realistic, but page turning as well. So, my fellow readers follow along as Bianca struggles to solve the crimes while emotionally burdened with the loss of her baby, and the unknown fate of her husband. A fitting conclusion to the series awaits you.  4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  20. 5 out of 5

    Veronika Jordan

    When I started reading I had no idea that this was Book 5 in the series of Bianca Goddard Mysteries. Nor did I realise that the author actually lives in the US. However neither of these detracted one bit from my enjoyment. The Lost Boys of London is a historical fiction novel – not my usual genre though I do dip in from time to time (Alice Hoffman, Kate Mosse, Andrew Taylor) – but it was a rip-roaring tale of murder and mayhem in Tudor England, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My only criticism is the When I started reading I had no idea that this was Book 5 in the series of Bianca Goddard Mysteries. Nor did I realise that the author actually lives in the US. However neither of these detracted one bit from my enjoyment. The Lost Boys of London is a historical fiction novel – not my usual genre though I do dip in from time to time (Alice Hoffman, Kate Mosse, Andrew Taylor) – but it was a rip-roaring tale of murder and mayhem in Tudor England, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My only criticism is the convoluted language which initially took some time getting used to and was often quite tiring to read, particularly when it crept into the descriptions as well as the dialogue. However, by half-way I’d forgotten my misgivings and got used to it. I was reading on my Kindle and at the end discovered a glossary of terms – I wish I’d known it was there from the beginning! In the acknowledgements, the author mentions that she is not a history scholar and apologises for any mistakes she may have made with the facts. Well I am not either, though I did study the Tudors many moons ago for O Level and A Level History. In spite of that my knowledge of the Tudors is quite basic, but then I have to admit that I didn’t care too much (apart from the main facts about Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries). I am not sure that a woman would have been allowed to accompany the police examining murder victims and interviewing members of the church in those days, but as this is a work of fiction I didn’t start checking the facts on Wikipedia. Actually I really loved this story. It was exciting and the tension built up as we follow both Bianca and her accomplices in London and her husband John, sent away to Scotland to protect the bowmen as they fight the Scots, burning and pillaging the towns and villages. And we mustn’t forget her cat Hobs, who I dearly loved almost as mush as she does.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence is the fifth Historical Mystery in the Bianca Goddard Series. I love the medical details in this series and how dedicated Bianca is to her work, constantly learning and applying her discoveries with medications. When I read Ms. Lawrence‘s descriptions of London’s people and their surroundings in 1545 come alive. Life in 1545 England is constantly fraught with peril for all the characters. Bianca is involved in dark mysteries and in constant danger along w The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence is the fifth Historical Mystery in the Bianca Goddard Series. I love the medical details in this series and how dedicated Bianca is to her work, constantly learning and applying her discoveries with medications. When I read Ms. Lawrence‘s descriptions of London’s people and their surroundings in 1545 come alive. Life in 1545 England is constantly fraught with peril for all the characters. Bianca is involved in dark mysteries and in constant danger along with those she cares about. Bianca‘s husband has his own parallel storyline; at this time he’s away fighting a war with the Scots. This historical book takes the reader to an unknown place that includes a glossary to assist in understanding unfamiliar words and meanings. The author’s note adds interesting historical background. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book. 5 Stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Gallant

    really great read, and so interesting with all the twists , kept reading could not stop , really intriguing and so sad in that era for paupers whom were targets for crime, highly recommend

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Mary Lawrence, and IBPA Red Puddle Print. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Mary Lawrence writes a tight, taut mystery set in London during the reign of Henry VIII. The background details are plentiful, London of the 1600s is about two centuries before my usual London reads, but I couldn't resist the book cov I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Mary Lawrence, and IBPA Red Puddle Print. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Mary Lawrence writes a tight, taut mystery set in London during the reign of Henry VIII. The background details are plentiful, London of the 1600s is about two centuries before my usual London reads, but I couldn't resist the book cover on this one. I have now added Mary Lawrence to my must-reads authors and 16th century England to my areas of interest. I am pleased to recommend Mary Lawrence to friends and family. The protagonists in this novel are very well rounded, the conversations clearly understandable, and the background well defined. There is a supplement at the end of The Lost Boys of London giving definitions of slang and common words from this time and the Author's note at the end is very informative. The mystery stays a mystery for long enough and the spirit of this work is, despite the focus on the boys, uplifting. The fifth of the series of Bianca Goddard mysteries, this book is stand-alone but I will be looking for the first four, as this book, this author, is a keeper, to read again when I have read the first four novels. pub date April 28, 2020 IBPA Red Puddle Print Reviewed on April 30 on Goodreads and Netgalley, AmazonSmile, Barnes&Noble, BookBub, and Kobo. Not available at GooglePlay

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality From that first scene, where the running boy barely manages to step over a steaming turd, you know that this is one of those marvelous works of historical fiction where you’re going to walk the streets at the side of the characters and feel the cobbles beneath your own shoes. Not to mention breathe the same air and smell the same smells. Maybe it’s better not to go into too many details about the smells, at least not around mealtime. This series takes place a Originally published at Reading Reality From that first scene, where the running boy barely manages to step over a steaming turd, you know that this is one of those marvelous works of historical fiction where you’re going to walk the streets at the side of the characters and feel the cobbles beneath your own shoes. Not to mention breathe the same air and smell the same smells. Maybe it’s better not to go into too many details about the smells, at least not around mealtime. This series takes place at one of the crossroads of English history, a time when there was ferment both politically and ideologically, a time when the world was changing but the impact of those changes was still in process. And like all times of great change, there were forces dead set on maintaining their power and the status quo, just as they were those who were agitating for the changes to come. And both sides used violence to make their point, with bloody results no matter who won. Set at the sunset of the reign of Henry VIII, the focus of this entry in the series is split between Bianca in London and her husband John, who was conscripted into the army at the end of the previous book, The Alchemist of Lost Souls. John is in Scotland, just one of the many footsoldiers participating in King Henry’s “Rough Wooing” of the Scots, and learning the lesson that transcends time and place and applies to all wars, that war is hell, and that entirely too many of the men fighting it release their inner devils for the purpose. Bianca has no idea where John is or how he is, all she knows is that he is gone and that she has been left to make the best living she can as a “white witch” dispensing medicinal herbs and tinctures, and to occupy herself as best she can by aiding the local constable with his inquiries. Meaning that Constable Patch has the authority, Bianca has the brains, and the Constable gets all the credit for her solutions. Patch has called Bianca in to solve a terrible crime – one made even more terrible by its repetition. Someone is killing young boys and stringing them up from church gargoyles. It’s ugly and gruesome in every possible way. But it doesn’t make sense. It’s unclear whether someone is targeting the churches, drawing attention to the inconstancy of their beliefs and practices as they are caught in the King’s religious caprices, or whether someone is trying to discredit the church as a whole in order to bring about more reform. In either these scenarios, the boys are part of the show and not its purpose. Or is someone poking into the gangs of thieving boys in an attempt to uncover their masters? Or is it another possibility all together? Caught between feuding constables, infighting clergymen and searching for the lost boys, Bianca is uncertain of which way to turn. She only knows that she has to get to the root of these crimes before more are sacrificed. Escape Rating A-: This is apparently the final book in this series, and if that’s true I’m very sorry to see it end. Bianca Goddard is a fascinating heroine in so many ways. It’s not just her intelligence and her agency, although it is marvelous to read a historical mystery with a female protagonist who is neither noble nor a member of the upper classes. Bianca’s story portrays life among the groundlings, in its all too frequent nastiness, dirtiness and brevity. Her vocation is to do her best to ease the suffering around her. At the same time, she is human in a way that is easy for 21st century readers to identify with. She’s smart, both too smart and too observant for her own good. She gets obsessive and absorbed in her work, has little patience for either small talk or fools. Her husband doesn’t try to keep her home or protect her from it. Both because he’s easy-going and because they can’t afford for her not to work every bit as hard as he does. He does worry about her work investigating crime, and somebody should be worried. She sticks her nose and herself into places that are dangerous, and that danger all too often reaches out to grab her. The stories in this series do an excellent job of portraying Bianca’s world, not just her personal circumstances, but the way that the doings of the high and mighty reach down and affect the lives of every person in the kingdom. Bianca is intelligent enough that when things happen, she doesn’t just know what, but she understands the why and the how of it, and so do we, even in circumstances that seem far removed from our own. I like Bianca and I’m going to miss her. If you enjoy gritty historical mystery and want more, in addition to Bianca’s series (start with The Alchemist’s Daughter) there’s also Jeri Westerson’s Crispin Guest series, Candace Robb’s Owen Archer and Kate Clifford serieses and D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles in very similar veins. One final note. Bianca has a cat named Hobs. As is usual for cats, it would be more accurate to say that Hobs has her. Due to a bit of magical realism in the previous books in the series, Bianca believes that Hobs is immortal, and the events of this book prove her correct. I want a cat like Hobs. Actually, I want all my cats to be like Hobs. Desperately. If this particular character in the story includes a bit of wish fulfillment on the part of the author, I understand completely. Be Sociable, Share!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    The Lost Boys of London is the fifth book in the Bianca Goddard Mysteries and seems to pick up right where the previous book ended, with Bianca in London creating her concoctions and selling them on the streets of London through her friend, Meddybemps (I had trouble wrapping my head around that name and just started calling him Meddy), while her husband, John, was off somewhere in Scotland, having been conscripted to join King Henry VIII's army. Being very familiar with those Scottish battles, I The Lost Boys of London is the fifth book in the Bianca Goddard Mysteries and seems to pick up right where the previous book ended, with Bianca in London creating her concoctions and selling them on the streets of London through her friend, Meddybemps (I had trouble wrapping my head around that name and just started calling him Meddy), while her husband, John, was off somewhere in Scotland, having been conscripted to join King Henry VIII's army. Being very familiar with those Scottish battles, I was very curious as to how the author was going to include them into the story, but she managed to fit John's story rather nicely into Bianca's although really, John's story really had nothing to do with the plot. It was just a nice little extra we got as readers to show how unstable King Henry VIII's reign really was towards the end. The author herself mentions that she doesn't have a background in history but she certainly does a fantastic job of bringing sixteenth century London to life. With events happening around February 1545, the monasteries and abbeys have been destroyed for several years now, and this book explores the aftermath of that destruction and the consequences it had on the Church as well as on its people. Henry VIII was a bit flighty when it came to religion, serving his own needs, which made his people somewhat leery of their own ecclesiastical needs as popular opinion could change at a moment's notice, something that could be deadly during this time period. I really liked how the author showed the different factions in the churches with priests trying to gain approval over each other in order to gain back some of the material comforts they lost when Cromwell destroyed the monasteries all those years ago. While I have not yet read previous instalments of these books, I had no trouble following along or picking up the story. I really enjoyed Bianca as a character and will probably read the previous books to learn more about her. For a 16th century woman, she is quite independent, creating Medicinals and Physickes that could likely see her being burned at the stake if she is not careful. Having grown up on the streets, she definitely understands the life these young boys face, so when a young boy is discovered hanging from a church, it is understandable that the Inspector (Patch) would ask for her help. Through her search for the murderer, the reader gets to see another side of London that is quite different from wealthy one we often see in historical fiction and I rather like seeing the other side. Her book reminds me a bit of the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir books by Jeri Westerson which are also known for their atmospheric settings. The plot was interesting, even if there were quite a few sub-plots that really had nothing to do with the mystery, but the writing is compelling and draws you into a world, while fascinating, makes you fervently glad you live in this time period. And while I was intrigued by the mystery, there was still this small part of me that was surprised that anyone would listen to Bianca in such a male-dominated world. And because Bianca is part of the world she is investigation, it gives her an authenticity that would be lacking otherwise. Plus, it was easy to commiserate with her on those nights when she drowned her sorrows at the local pub with friends who were also missing their loved ones in the war. I was easily able to empathize with her and her friends. The Lost Boys of London was a well-written and entertaining novel, even if I thought Bianca's life kind of overshadowed the mystery. It all blended together so seamlessly and flowed so nicely that I enjoyed all the descriptions and just immersed myself in the journey. And while the author was able to mesh John's story line quite well into the story, I just didn't think it was necessary. I get what she was trying to do, but I would have been just as happy having him show up on Bianca's doorway either way. And John could have had his own story. Anyhow, I was a little sad to learn this would be the last book in this series, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing what else the author will be doing with this time period as she has clearly stated this time period is not done with her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    The Lost Boys of London picks up quite soon after the events of the previous book, The Alchemist of Lost Souls. Bianca’s husband, John, is away fighting in Scotland for King Henry’s while Bianca is at home, creating her medicines that her friend, Meddybemps, sells for her. When a young boy is found murdered, Bianca is summoned by Constable Patch to assist him in finding the killer. What follows is a twisty, heart-thumping murderous romp through the dark alleys of London. Soon, more young victims The Lost Boys of London picks up quite soon after the events of the previous book, The Alchemist of Lost Souls. Bianca’s husband, John, is away fighting in Scotland for King Henry’s while Bianca is at home, creating her medicines that her friend, Meddybemps, sells for her. When a young boy is found murdered, Bianca is summoned by Constable Patch to assist him in finding the killer. What follows is a twisty, heart-thumping murderous romp through the dark alleys of London. Soon, more young victims are discovered and Bianca is in a race to find the murderer. Things get even more personal when Bianca’s young friend, an independent and plucky young boy named Fisk, goes missing. The narrative gives us a nice rounded story by jumping around so that we see what’s happening with Bianca, John and Fisk. There is quite a bit happening to each of the characters, but I appreciated the different points-of-view and being able to get more in-depth time with the main characters. As before, Bianca is a great main character – she’s independent, loyal, caring and has enough flaws to make her relatable and worthy of our time. She walks a fine balance in a time when educated women were not the norm and her skill as an herbalist could easily be misconstrued as witchcraft. While so many of the Tudor/Elizabethan-era historical fictions I read focus on the kings, queens and nobility of the Tudors, it’s much more rare to find a good story that involves the commonfolk of the era. I think mainly because it’s much more difficult to make the less-affluent of this age interesting (and still make it believable). Mary Lawrence always does a superb job of creating an interesting story in the crowded, dim alleyways and streets of every day Tudor England. As with her previous books, Lawrence depicts life in the less-glamorous parts of England in great detail and makes everything incredibly realistic. Reading about the challenges and daily concerns of regular people in Tudor London brings a grounded look to what life must have been like for the majority at this time. As much as I enjoy reading the exploits of Henry VIII and his court, it can be just as interesting to spend time with Henry’s subjects, and see how his whims affected the people of England. While this is the fifth and final book book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series, it can also be read as a standalone book. I highly recommend both this book and the series and am a bit disappointed that there will be no more adventures with Bianca. However, Lawrence has mentioned that she will continue writing historical fiction stories, so I’m looking forward to her next book. *** Thank you to the author, Mary Lawrence, for providing me with an advanced of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. ***

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    Mary Lawrence’s Bianca Goddard series is the equivalent of a 16th century version of CSI: London. The series takes place in London during the reign of King Henry VIII and life for the average Londoner is not easy. In the beginning of The Lost Boys of London a young boy is found dead, hanging from the dripstone of a church. Constable Patch, a regular in the series, happens to pass by the crowd that discovers the body. Even though this church is not in his jurisdiction, Patch takes a keen interest Mary Lawrence’s Bianca Goddard series is the equivalent of a 16th century version of CSI: London. The series takes place in London during the reign of King Henry VIII and life for the average Londoner is not easy. In the beginning of The Lost Boys of London a young boy is found dead, hanging from the dripstone of a church. Constable Patch, a regular in the series, happens to pass by the crowd that discovers the body. Even though this church is not in his jurisdiction, Patch takes a keen interest in this discovery. Since this was an unusual case, he consults with Bianca Goddard as her expertise has helped him on previous cases. Bianca is the daughter of an alchemist and has taken up the practice of herbal medicine, and because of her occupation, she very much thinks like a scientist. As Patch and Bianca begins to investigate this case it isn’t too long before another victim is found. This case eventually becomes personal for Bianca when a young boy named Fisk disappears. Fisk has helped Bianca on previous cases and she has a natural fondness for him in part because he comes from a poor family and often has to scavenge for food to feed his family. Bianca is consumed with fear that Fisk will be the next victim, so time is short to solve this case. The Lost Boys of London reads very much like a forensic mystery with the exception that it takes place in the mid-1500s when religion takes precedence over science. Bianca doesn’t have the advantages of fingerprint analysis or DNA testing, but she does have a keen awareness to details. In many ways she is more like a Tudor era version of Sherlock Holmes. Mary Lawrence’s style of writing gives the reader a feeling that they are right there in 16th century London by using the vernacular of that time period. She also makes interesting references to historical occurrences that take place during King Henry VIII’s reign such as the fall-out that resulted from establishment of the Church of England and the consequences that befell the former clergy of the Catholic Church. This makes for an educational as well as an entertaining read. For the most part this could be read without reading the rest of the series, but Lawrence does make references to previous additions to the series mainly in relation to her husband’s recruitment into the military to fight the Scots and as well as other familial relationships, so reading the previous novels would be useful in that respect. Overall, reading The Lost Boys of London will make social-distancing a lot more fun.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    First one small boy then another have been found hanging from the wall of a church in London. Bianca Goddard is very afraid her young friend Fisk, missing for days, might become the third. The year is 1545 and Henry Vlll is on the throne, elderly now and increasingly suspicious of both the old religion he has forbidden and the new religion that is not proving as obedient to his rule as he had expected. Bianca is missing her husband John who, with thousands of others, has been required to fight fo First one small boy then another have been found hanging from the wall of a church in London. Bianca Goddard is very afraid her young friend Fisk, missing for days, might become the third. The year is 1545 and Henry Vlll is on the throne, elderly now and increasingly suspicious of both the old religion he has forbidden and the new religion that is not proving as obedient to his rule as he had expected. Bianca is missing her husband John who, with thousands of others, has been required to fight for the king against the Scots. Interspersed within Bianca’s story are glimpses of his life as a pikeman, the cruelties of the English army and John’s struggle to get home. Meanwhile Bianca struggles to understand the reason for the boys’ deaths in order to prevent more killings. Her investigations take her through London’s seedier areas where families struggle to make a living, burdened by taxes imposed to pay for the king’s greed and his wars. Religion is no comfort but a dividing force, with homeless monks and nuns swelling the ranks of the poor and suspicions between new sects splintering their believers. Bianca must unravel these mysteries and forces at work in her community. This novel has plenty of action and well-drawn characters but it is the interplay of these influences on people desperate to find food for their children that creates the depth of the plot. The writer’s meticulous research draws the reader deep into the complexities of the lives of Londoners, moving from the Dim Dragon Inn to Paternoster Row and old St Pauls Cathedral. Bianca and Fisk travel filthy streets to squalid homes – no Tudor glamour here. But if you’d like to feel the realities of life in Henry’s capital city this novel is for you. Valerie Adolph

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan Johnston

    Princess Fuzzypants here: This is the fifth book in the series but the first I have read. It didn’t take long to put the characters into perspective. Once I did, I found it a highly compelling story of Bianca,, a healer and detective in the time of Henry VIII. She is called upon to help investigate the murder of a young boy, found hanging from a church in the City. When a second boy is murdered and hung from another church, it becomes clear that there is a message being sent but by whom and what Princess Fuzzypants here: This is the fifth book in the series but the first I have read. It didn’t take long to put the characters into perspective. Once I did, I found it a highly compelling story of Bianca,, a healer and detective in the time of Henry VIII. She is called upon to help investigate the murder of a young boy, found hanging from a church in the City. When a second boy is murdered and hung from another church, it becomes clear that there is a message being sent but by whom and what is the message. The book takes us through the harsh streets of London from tenement to markets and back. It is a dirty and dangerous place made even more so by the religious confusion brought on by Henry’s break with Rome and the teachings of Martin Luther. It is rife with multi-faceted characters who are just trying to survive as best they can. Bianca not only wants to figure out who is behind the murders and prevent further ones but she also wants to find the young boy she wants to make her apprentice who has disappeared without a trace. Are the two mysteries entwined? Bianca must find the truth and find it fast. She is an incredible heroine, brave, smart and capable and assisted by a wonderful black cat named Hob. The reader must keep reading. It is a page turner. Five purrs and two paws up.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maia is Reading

    The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence I have been into historical fiction lately so I picked up this book. I am not familiar with the author’s style. There are too many characters even at the beginning. It switches back and forth on two different locations. One in London with Bianca and the other in Scotland with John in the throes of war. I continued reading the book because I want to know who took the boys. I want to know who the killer is. Lots of killing, brutal killing and vivid descripti The Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence I have been into historical fiction lately so I picked up this book. I am not familiar with the author’s style. There are too many characters even at the beginning. It switches back and forth on two different locations. One in London with Bianca and the other in Scotland with John in the throes of war. I continued reading the book because I want to know who took the boys. I want to know who the killer is. Lots of killing, brutal killing and vivid descriptions. I am not a fan of that. It pains my heart reading this book about the boys. It’s a story set a while back but I know there are still many sad stories about children. I think I enjoyed the second half much better as stories started to unravel. Dots start connecting. I admire Bianca’s desire to help and solve the mystery. 3.5/5 stars Thank you #netgalley and Red Puddle Print for the free copy. All opinions are my own.

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