Ghost of the Thames
May McGoldrick Books, Jun 24 2011, $14.99
She is downing when the female voice urgently calls out to her. The woman pleads with Sophy to swim ashore, which she does. Sophy realizes she remembers nothing not even her name and asks where she is. The woman says London and leads Sophy to someone she insists will help keep her safe. As horses pulling a coach bear down on Sophy, her rescuer vanishes.
The driver of the coach is horrified when he runs over the woman who appeared out of nowhere. When the passenger Royal naval Captain Edward Seymour goes to look he and the driver find a miracle as she is alive. Although the hospital at Lincoln’s Inn Fields is nearby, Edward knows that is a death factory of learning for medical students. He takes her to Urania Cottage, a refuge for fallen women set up by his friends Dickens and Burdett-Coutts. As she heals, Sophy joins Edward and that rabble reformist writer Dickens on a quest to find his missing niece Amelia.
This timely exciting Victorian suspense works because May McGoldrick uses the expected romantic subplot as a secondary enhancer to somewhat lighten the horrific conditions in Dickensian London that place females and children, even so called protected ones, in peril as items for commodity exchange. The atmosphere is dark and gloomy while Sophy struggles with amnesia and Edward with his missing niece. Dickens adds a nice twist to the perils of Sophy.