Book Review by Pauline Reid ⭐ The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read
The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read
Book One of The Thornton Mysteries
Historical Fiction ( Australia – 1927 post or after WW1)
Cosy Mystery Murder/Romance
Thank you to Ellen Read for giving me an ARC of The Dragon Sleeps in return for an honest review. This book has been re-published by Crimson Cloak Publishing
My View On What This Book Is About
We open The Dragon Sleeps, and here we are, an invitation to a weekend party at Thornton Park. The hot topic is a brass Dragon…… it sits inside a velvet-lined box. An antiques dealer, Mr Zhang sold it to, Thomas Thornton, (Alexandra’s father) the owner of Thornton Antiques.
Edith wasn’t all that impressed with the brass Dragon and told Alexandra so. However, Alexandra felt she had to defend her father and said to Edith it was rare, from the 1500s, Alexandra was also disappointed with it and confirmed as much to Benedict who is the manager of Thornton Antiques.
Alexandra confides in Benedict that she had her suspicions over one particular person who had been invited… the person was being very shifty.
In the drawing room, Alexandra and Edith were having a bit of a tete-a-tete. What about? ….well to do with Benedict Archer of course!! Who else? but at this time Alexandra questioned herself, had she been aware how fond she is of Benedict?
A wrought-iron spiral stair case leads up to the tower. It was here that Alexandra and Benedict discussed the prospects of telling her father that Alexandra had been learning the ropes of the trade (Alexandra wanted to be an Antiques dealer at her fathers shop) nearer the end of their conversation, they noticed the stars in the sky.
“Here, with the sea of darkness surrounding us, the Milky Way stretches like a diamond blanket across the sky.”
After reiminiscing over the starry night, they decided to dance a foxtrot, to the music of Stardust, after that, like the gentleman Benedict is, he escorted Alexandra back to her room.
The next day activities consisted of showing stained windows, which added alot of curiosity, tennis playing, and a very deep discussion about a sword and a hint of a walk in the zoo, which ending up being a full tour of the zoo.
It wasn’t until the next day Benedict discovered there had been an “accident” in the Orchard. Was it an accident, or was it murder? Who was accountable? Who was missing? Where did the missing sword go? What was in the muniment room, that had Alexandra so entranced about her grandfather’s notebooks?
My Thoughts On This Book
Well how can I put this without using my own cliche….. “I loved this book so much”. With writing up this review and leaving this till last, I slept on it till morning, and then some more….. this is a very special book for me that connected with me on a very personal level, a precious book that I will definately treasure for years to come.
The Dragon Sleeps, a cosy murder mystery, a historical fiction (set in Australia – 1920s after WW1), a romance, crime/ thriller to the flavour of Agatha Christie, but Hercule Poirot style.
Edith and Alexandra. I absolutely adored the banter that goes on between the two girls. Edith having such a dry sense of humour and slightly putting her foot in it which makes it even more facinating, and I love how Alexandra seems to put up with it and takes it in her stride. The camaraderie between the two, quite endearing and certainly makes reading about these two very entertaining.
Alexandra and Benedict. I loved the romance between these two. Some would say, it’s the old fashioned type of love, but I see it as an adoring love, a love that spreads with maturity over the years, not at all your hard, hot stuff, so it is in the nature to the story that Ellen uses this in a knowledgeable way.
Glossary. I loved how there is a glossary which is thoughtfully done, and is included at the end of the book, examples explaining of Australian language or towns, for example …. ANZAC biscuits, chutney, duffer.
Ellen Read’s dry wittiness in The Dragon Sleeps, seeps through and hints of this we get throughout, which adds flavour of what could have been a much darker book. Her breaks in the story, are well balanced. The construction of historical events are weaved so cleverly in the story that you don’t feel as if you are being bombarded with a history lesson. Her words made an impact where they should and softness where it should. I loved, also the soft quality of Ellen’s writing in parts of her story, I’m thinking of “her mothers essence”, the “romance part” of it for sure and even the sorrow behind the “funeral scene”, which seemed … bittersweet, magical and sensitive. Ellen’s plotting skills are amazing and I can’t think of a better word to use, “it’s a work of art, of words” is the closest I can put to it, again, this gives a different impact to the story, a gripping one, overall giving the book the exact right balance that is needed. I want to congratulate Ellen, her style and writing is astounding…. she leaves me speechless.
I give The Dragon Sleeps, 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Dragon Sleeps comes highly recommended by me, and would suit anyone who likes Agatha Christie books, who likes historical fiction, who likes cozy mystery murder books, who likes soft endearing, maturing romance and anyone who likes wity humour and who likes crimes and thrillers.
A personal thank you, goes to you, Ellen, for such an inspiring book, your book has been a pleasure to read and much appreciated (and will be close part of my life).