Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/)

cat coff

To join in with the #FridayFiveChallenge please read the rules at the bottom of the page

Yesterday I received an email of suggested books to purchase on an historical theme.  The picture on the book below appealed to me as well as the familiar name of the Marshalsea prison in Southwark, so familiar to readers of Dicken’s Little Dorrit.


Book Description

London, 1727. Tom Hawkins refuses to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there’s honor there too, and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of debt—not even when faced with London’s notorious debtors’ prison.

 The Marshalsea Gaol is a world of its own, with simple rules: Those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of its ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom has never been good at following rules, even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the captain’s beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: do the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.  Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder – or be the next to die.

 A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London, THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.

The 3000 reviews on Goodreads swing from the majority 5 and 4 stars to quite a few 2 and 3 stars.

Some are full of praise:

Wow! That’s the word I will use to describe this book. An unputdownable romp into history and the world of a murderer.  Set in 18th century Georgian London and, more specifically, in a debtor’s prison called the Marshalsea, this book took me completely by surprise. While I have been reading some great historical titles of late, I’m afraid I found myself getting into a kind of reading slump. This book has definitely pulled me out. It has been a while since I’ve read such an atmospheric book

Others are disappointed:

I’d heard good things about this book but was ultimately disappointed. The description of the Marshalsea was interesting and for me this was what kept me going. I didn’t feel any particular connection with the characters and found several of them blurred in my memory leaving me having to check back on who was who. A sure sign that my mind is wandering as I read. To be fair I didn’t solve the key mystery, although I had foreseen certain other twists, but I didn’t find the final conclusion particularly satisfying either.

At £4.99 for the Kindle version this is too expensive but £3.85 for the paperback is a good price.

Shall I BUY or will I PASS? I’m going to PASS.

What have others chosen this week?

Searching for books on Wales, Cathy found estranged friendship


Shelley has returned to her roots in Young Adult Urban Fantasy


So now it’s your turn.

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

Published by lizannelloyd

Love history, reading, researching and writing. Articles published in My Family History and other genealogy magazines.

6 thoughts on “#FridayFiveChallenge

  1. A mysterious cover and a great sounding storyline. I know very little about this time in history, and a price surprise with the kindle version being higher than paperback, I wonder if this is a reflection of readers purchasing/ reading preferences? I know several non-kindle readers who would like this book, so I would buy this in paperback to share around once I’d read this.


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