Forced to Spy for Grave RobbersTrue Colors – Fiction Based on Strange-But-True History In 1824, Josephine Clayton is considered dead by everyone in her Massachusetts village—especially the doctor she gas assisted for several months. Yet, she is still very much alive. After the doctor’s illegal dealing with his body snatcher to obtain her body, Josephine awakens, positioned as the next corpse for his research. To cover up his crime, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. They strike a deal—Josephine will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help the body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill though, Josephine is praised for her medical remedies among the other female workers, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager, Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all. What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?More from the True Colors SeriesThe White City by Grace Hitchcock (March 2019)The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma (June 2019)
About the Author
Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she's a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer's Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com
Read an Excerpt
Heaven stank of tallow and shone a honey glow. Her eyes could not adjust beyond a blur. An unsteady drip plucked against a thick silence, prodding her skin to crawl with gooseflesh. Where was she? No, this could not be —
No lightness, no feathery existence.
She tried to sit up, but her head was as heavy as her father's felling ax. She could hardly drag it through the stale air. Panic swarmed within her. Perhaps death had not just stolen her breath but her salvation?
Josephine Clayton had not been afraid of dying. Mourning had taught her that living proved more difficult. The last moment she remembered was her father's watery eyes while he begged her to live. She was overjoyed he'd been freed from debtors' prison, yet the fever was raging, and she'd felt her breath slipping from her infected lungs. Her wages had set Father free. Now all she could pray was for death to come quickly.
Had her prayer been answered?
The celestial bed where she'd slept clung to her, wrapping her in an unforgiving grip. A smudged-out figure stole away the light and stood above her. Her heart raced with fear. A glint sparked in the shadows, and her eyes focused at last.
Dr. Chadwick stood above her with his knife raised and his usual coat of dried blood and bile brushing against her arm.
"No!" Her body lurched upward, but she was trapped.
The man's eyes widened, and the clatter of his tool against the hard floor pinged about the room. He shuffled out of view and came forward again; a blue bottle in his hand trembled as he pressed it against her lips. Josephine's breaths, no matter how much they hurt against her chest, were a wild stampede. She knew what he was doing. Would he force her to sleep?
"Sir, please! I am alive!" She jerked her head to the side. Her body writhed like a worm hanging from the clutches of a wren. "You cannot —"
"Josephine, you are weak and incurable. Let me help you now." Help? Like he had with the last patient?
Josephine had convinced herself that all hope was lost after Mr. Baldwin's fever never broke. She was sure that Dr. Chadwick used wise judgment in giving him the elixir that would bring on a deep sleep. But she had wondered if he'd mistakenly given too much to Ainsley's oldest man. And she was irritated by the quickness of Dr. Chadwick's transfer from the sickbed to the operating table. Josephine was hardly done with a prayer over the dead body when Dr. Chadwick had prepared his tools.
"Take care, my daughter, that you respect the doctor," her father had advised after she was hired as the doctor's assistant. Even though her mother often despised Dr. Chadwick's visits, in her last days he had seemed a comfort to the family, assuring them that he was giving her the best treatment he knew how.
But now? Josephine's head swam with doubt.
"This shan't hurt. There is nothing else to be done for you." His Adam's apple bobbed above his stiff collar, and his eyes reflected the same uncertainty she felt.
Josephine stared hard at him, lifting her head no matter how much it hurt. "I am alive, sir," she whispered. "I am weak, but I will grow strong again."
The doctor grimaced. His gray eyes were cast upon her, but she'd seen that look — one where she was just a resting place for his gaze, yet his mind was somewhere else. "I did not detect a heartbeat ... these things do happen, though."
"Sir, please unstrap me."
"Nobody can survive what you've been through." He licked his lips, his grimace deepened, and now he avoided her gaze entirely. "Josephine, all have mourned you. You've been dead for twenty-four hours."
"Your father sat beside you at your viewing. His grief is full on. Even if I tried to make you well, your life will never be the same."
"Doctor, release me this moment." She tried to speak with force, but her body was near-lifeless. Her wrists burned against the ropes. "Please —" Tears should have fallen, but she had none. Her mouth was as dry as if it had been coated by the dust of a grave. "I am thirsty."
"Settle back. Let me give you something to calm you." He still did not look at her. His icy fingers encircled her arm.
"Wouldn't you rather my father know it was a mistake than induce my ... my death?"
His eyes flashed, and he groaned. "You've been around here long enough."
She had agreed to assist in remedies and ailments. The messy business of exploring stolen bodies for clues and cures was something she'd not expected. But when her father was taken to debtors' prison, she had no choice but to stay and earn his way out.
The doctor ran his hand through his hair. "Josephine, you were not just set out for all to see. You were buried."
"Buried?" Her chest seemed to collapse, and she could not find enough air to fill it. "How — how did I — survive?"
The door flung open behind the doctor. Alvin appeared with his sinister brow and a muddied shovel slung across his shoulder. "Doctor —" His face paled when he saw Josephine. He rushed to the table, looking into her eyes with horror. "She — she lives?" He covered his mouth and pulled his dirtied knuckles across his chin.
"Not for long." Dr. Chadwick pushed his sleeves up, slid one hand behind her head, and brought the bottle into view again.
Alvin licked his lips, his gaze darting about as fast as Josephine's heartbeat. "Wait!" He clutched at the doctor's wrist. "I came to tell you, people are talking. The empty graves. People have discovered them. I cannot work alone. That fool has crippled us both." Blackness crept from the corner of Josephine's eyes. Alvin was trusted by her father and had helped Josephine secure this position with the doctor. Yet, when she discovered the work Alvin had taken on after leaving her father's farm, her disgust grew for him more and more. Even so, as much as she disliked him, it appeared he was at least trying to prevent her murder.
"Have they discovered hers?" Chadwick whipped his white mane in Josephine's direction. Alvin gave a quick shake of his head, casting his eyes down with a perplexed grimace. Dr. Chadwick breathed in deeply and cleared his throat. "Well then. We continue."
The blackness grew wide and long and wrapped itself around Josephine's vision.
"Wait!" A gargling yelp from Alvin delayed the fainting spell that threatened. The determination in his whitened knuckles around the doctor's wrist was the last thing she saw before her eyes closed. "I have a plan," he said, then the spell grew in full force. All was dark.
Would she awake from this nightmare, or had it just begun?
* * *
Dust hung in the sunbeam above the bed where Josephine lay. She'd begged Alvin to take her home to her own bed, but the doctor refused to let her go. He demanded she recover here, in his cellar among hanging garlic and onions and sacks of earth-scented potatoes. 'Twas better than being on his table among dirty tools. Yet straw poked through her thin nightdress, and the blanket was as coarse as the potato sacks. The stones in the copper bed warmer beneath the linen hardly held their heat through the night. She shifted away from the cooling metal.
Josephine pulled the blanket up to her chin as best as she could. Her elbows ached with weakness, and her fingers were numb with cold. She eyed the narrow staircase across the square room where a ribbon of golden light shone beneath the door at the top.
"Do not make a sound," the doctor had seethed as he situated her on the pallet that first night. "The kitchen servant does not know you are here, and nobody else for that matter." He filled the bed warmer with hot stones in the morning and in the evening. He would leave her a meal three times each day on the stand beside her small box of remedies. Otherwise, Josephine's care for her healing was her own. The day dragged on, and she fell in and out of sleep. How many days had it been?
She'd not grown as strong as she'd hoped. Upon this last waking, her body refused to return to sleep and at least forget awhile. As the daylight hours waned, giving way to a grim dusk, her tears fell to her pillow. The dark corners of the cellar played tricks on her with ever-brimming shadows and echoes of mice scurrying along the stone floor. She had begged God to prove that this was not some sort of hell — to assure her that she was indeed alive.
The lock on the door rattled with a key. Josephine clutched at her covers, her knuckles aching with the cold.
Boots appeared and descended the stairs with an uneven gait.
"Father?" Her voice was hoarse. She glanced at her empty mug and dry pitcher.
"Josephine, it is I." The familiar tone of her father blanketed her in a warmth she had yet to feel in this strange fate.
"Oh Father, I am so ... so scared." Her lip trembled. His crooked shoulders and rounded face blurred as her eyes filled with tears.
"My sweet Josephine." He limped toward her then fell to his knees and gathered her hands. "You are alive, dear one. You are here with me." His cheeks and nose were pink, and his bright blue eyes glistened with the love she'd always known. "Your hands are ice, child." He squeezed her fingers in his warm palms and kissed her knuckles.
"Father, must I recover here?" Josephine sniffled. "Please, take me home."
Her father fell back and sat on his heels, slowly slipping his hands from hers. "Oh, my sweet one, how I wish I could do that." Folds of worry stacked upon his brow. Her eyes filled even more. "You are better off here."
"How?" Her voice cracked. The soreness from coughing had lessened, but the exertion of using her voice irritated her throat. She swallowed past the pain. "How, Father? How am I better off with that doctor so close? I fear every morsel he gives me. What stops him from killing me?"
"Dear one, do not fear. We have an agreement with Dr. Chadwick." Her father flicked a nervous glance up toward the closed cellar door.
"We?" Josephine's memory was clouded, but upon waking that first time, she remembered a man who was nearly as unwelcome as the doctor. "Alvin?"
"Aye. Alvin has saved you from death."
"Alvin steals the dead. Why would he care for my own life?" Her father slouched and hung his head. "He is a friend to me, Josephine."
"Father, he left your farm and employ for illegal deeds."
"Josephine." He licked his lips. His nostrils flared. He snatched his hat from his balding head and wrung it ferociously. "You must not think ill of Alvin." He squeezed his eyes tight. A tear slipped down his cheek. "When you are well, you must listen to Alvin. His plan will get us out of this mess. Will get me out of this mess." He lowered his gaze to the dry mug beside her bed.
She'd worked hard to free him from his debt. But she'd been ill, without pay for some time. What trouble had found him now? "Father, if I can get well, I will work and keep you away from prison. Do not depend on Alvin." Josephine carefully propped herself on her elbows. "Please, let me get you out of debt."
His shoulders slumped, and he wagged his head. "Oh, my dear daughter," he moaned. "If only debt was my sole concern." He shuffled closer on his knees. His lips quivered as he spoke. "You must listen to Alvin. There are more than creditors after your father, dear one." He narrowed his eyes and slid a glance at the window near the ceiling then turned to glance up the staircase. He slowly faced her again. His hot breath heated her cheek as he whispered, "Murderers, Josephine. I am being chased by murderers — or I will be if you do not do as Alvin says. I've done terrible wrong. Only you can save me, Daughter." He blanched, as if he sat with her ghost and not her flesh.
A chill crawled along Josephine's neck and across her shoulders. Her throat squeezed tight with the same fear that encased her father's face.
"What trouble are you —" The door above creaked open, and light flooded the stairway. Dr. Chadwick's heavy plod started down the stairs. Josephine lunged forward, trying to grasp her father's hands, but she only sank to the mattress. Her body was too weak.
Her father scrambled to his feet. He leaned over and kissed her forehead. A sob caught in his throat, and she looked up at him. "Daughter, do as the doctor says."
"Please, return to me, Father!" she cried with shaking shoulders.
"I do not know that I can —" He hung his head. "The shame — it's — it's too much." He turned and heaved his lame foot across the floor, pushing past the doctor and up the stairs without another look at his daughter.
"Your supper is ready, Josephine." The doctor placed a tray on her table. He narrowed his eyes upon her. "I am anxious for you to get well. There is much to do."
"What is there to do, Dr. Chadwick?"
"Wait for Alvin. He will tell you." The doctor spoke as he climbed up the stairs. "No need to worry now. Your only concern is to heal." The door slammed shut, and once again, Josephine was left alone.
What trouble had found her father while she'd suffered on her deathbed? And why must she answer to Alvin, a robber of the dead?
* * *
The wind whipped against the window, howling through the seams. Braham stepped back from the dark glass and turned to the bed.
"Remember their songs?" The thin old man reached out his hand. "I can almost hear them still."
Braham took his hand in a firm grasp, trying to appear unmoved. Yet, he did remember. Old spirituals moaned like phantoms in Braham Taylor's soul — the low notes in strange harmony with the wind. He dismissed the temptation to recall their meaning, their reasons for being sung, and instead swiped the old man's forehead with a damp cloth. Braham's knuckle brushed along his uncle's leathery skin. Its golden brown was evidence of summers spent in Georgia heat while keeping a keen eye on cotton tufts of fortune. Yet, here in Gloughton, Massachusetts, while the sun might not offer the same intensity as down south, life had shone just as bright.
Perhaps too much.
Was heaven's envy stirred up on this late spring evening? Reaching claws out like a thief?
"There, dear boy. No more tending to me." Uncle Bates let out a long, rattled cough.
"Sir, I will until —" Braham clenched his teeth, trying to calm himself amid the emotion that twined around his throat.
"Just sit by me until then." His uncle shuttered his eyes. "Do you remember the first time we met?"
"I do." Braham flipped his coattails up and sat back on the stool. "Father had negotiated his contract with you. I did not understand fully, but you had given me the best bread and butter I'd ever tasted." He allowed himself to smile at the memory. However, he did not admit the fear encased in that memory to his uncle. Not now, not after all that happened. Besides, he was a small child then. And he had endured a journey by sea that would haunt him for all his growing-up days. The stench lingered in his mind, and some nights he woke up still, sweat drenching the pillow he mistook for the stilled chest of his mother.
"Your father was a good man. A hard worker. The best. I would have offered him a permanent position once he'd finished his indenture."
Braham just held his tongue, knowing that his uncle's words might be his last. What right did Braham have to redirect this final conversation?
He winced at the man's coughing fit and looked away, spying the painting of Terryhold Plantation. Uncle Bates's niece by marriage had sat on the edge of the garden every day, perched behind an easel, while Braham and his father walked from the servants' quarters to the fields. The woman would paint, a slave girl would fan her, and the condensation on the glass jug of lemonade would tempt Braham to quench his thirst without permission.
The bedroom door swung open. Gerald Bates stepped inside as if bursting through some unseen shield. Perhaps a shield of peace? The air thickened with animosity at Braham's first glance of the master's son.
"I will take it from here," Gerald grumbled to Braham as he flung his hat atop the bureau.
Braham rose. While Mr. Bates Sr. was consistent in reminding Braham of his own hardworking father, his son was persistent in setting straight Braham's place — not as an embraced cousin, but an orphaned nuisance.
"Wait." His uncle's shaky hand hovered in the air between the men. A beacon of reconciliation? Hardly. Braham scoffed at the thought. More like an obstacle to battle that would soon fall away and leave Braham at the mercy of the new factory owner. "I would like to discuss my will with both of you present —"
"Father —" Gerald stepped forward enough that his father's hand pressed against his chest.
"Gerald, my time is near."
"You've worked hard, Father." Gerald spoke through tightly knit lips, as if he tried to withhold his words from Braham. Of course he tried. "And, I will be sure your affairs are taken care of by the finest of men."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Yellow Lantern"
Copyright © 2019 Angie Dicken.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had a hard time getting into this book. The author seemed to use a lot of unnecessary descriptive and flowery language, particularly at the beginning of the book. It was distracting at times and I even had to go back and read some sentences a second time to get what the author was trying to say. The story line was a little slow at the beginning as well, but by the second half of the book it got better in both regards. I was interest in learning about the history of grave robbing though, so that part kept my attention. I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I had a hard time getting into this book, the beginning was so realistic, and scary, I can’t even imagine, but that being said I didn’t know where we were going with the story, but quickly found out! There is greed here, and surprises happen right up until the last page is turned, keep turning those pages. Sadly, this story is based on true crimes, and when you think of this actually happening, and when the need is not met, well, just add a few! When I was reading this story, I felt I was in old Europe, but no this is 1820’s Massachusetts! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Barbour, and was not required to give a positive review.
The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken is the third novel in the True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime series. I thought it would be an interesting, different type of read since it was about grave robbing. I eagerly began the book but honestly could not get into it. It just seemed to drag and while it could have been an exciting story, I found it boring and plodding. I simply could not get into the story and never really connected with any of the characters. I couldn't understand what exactly Josie's father had done or why he needed to pay his debt with dead bodies, or the connection between Braham and Audra, and Daisy and Minnie. Josie seemed whiny and was always worrying about things, she seemed flighty and I really didn't care for her character. I solved the mystery before the ending wrapped up just as I thought it would. While not an exciting, mysterious read, this novel is a good choice when wanting something to read a little less draining on the brain. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Reading a book about grave robbers or resurrection men has never been high on my to do list. However, The Yellow Lantern was about this very topic and I couldn’t put it down. The book begins with an intriguing start about a young woman Josephine who has to convince a doctor that she is very much alive. The story continues as she is dragged down a path she would have never imagined or wanted to journey down. Josephine, or better known at the mill as Josie, has the choice to try and blend in with others as she battles with the best way to take care of her family. She also has the choice to decide to help her family or to do the right thing. There are times she doesn’t feel as if she even has a choice. Will she do along with the grave robbers or will she find a better way? Things get complicated when the factory general manager is suspicious and intrigued by her. He has his own battles he is trying to fight as the former indentured servant who know runs the factory to the dismay of his benefactor’s son. Their relationship begins to grow as they connect but how can they continue when Josie must help her father. I felt as if the characters were realistic and enjoyable to get to know. I enjoyed the turns in the story and learning bits and pieces but not truly knowing how it fit all together until I read some more. I truly had a hard time putting it down until I finished it! Reading the author’s notes at the end were very interesting as well to put what was read in fiction a historical context. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.
The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken will have you wondering to the very end if it will be a happy ending or if it will be tragic! I won't spoil the ending, but let me give you a brief overview. Josephine Clayton is thought to be dead. She is buried alive but when body snatchers dig up the grave Dr. Chadwick is surprised to find the corpse still breathing. Through a twisted scheme Josephine is forced to find a replacement for her own body. She is sent to a different town. One that has a mill that is dangerous and a body will be more easily found. The one problem is that she falls in love with the manager Braham Taylor. Braham has his own issues going on with the late ower's son who doesn't feel Braham should hold the position his father willed to him. Will Josephine be able to find a body to replace her own? Will Braham be able to prove his worth as manager? This was a great read! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I had vaguely heard of grave robbing previously but this novel put a different spin on it. The opening chapter gave me chills as I learned the main character, Josephine Clayton, had been thought dead then buried. But she was dug up by grave robbers and brought to Dr. Chadwick. She awoke just as he was about to cut her open! Relentless for the money they made, the grave diggers or resurrectionists as they were sometimes called, even went so far as to help an ailing person on to their “reward”. It took a network of people to carry it off. The doctor wanted bodies to dissect and learn from and paid or blackmailed others to do the literally “dirty” work. Josephine eventually healed from her illness but was blackmailed by the doctor to replace her body with another. Her father got involved and she was afraid he would be murdered if she didn’t do as she was told. But it went against every moral fiber of her being. I felt for Josie as she was soon to be called. She faced lots of stress as did her boss, Braham, at the mill factory where she was placed to work and wait for injuries or death from various fellow workers. There was lots of intrigue and suspense as each page was turned. It’s a work that was not easy to put down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next and would Josie make it out of her “grave” predicament. It’s a part of the True Colors, historical stories of American crime. All based on actual crimes with bits of truth woven among the fiction. A great read! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.
Josephine Clayton feels trapped in a world of deception and intrigue, bound by the love she has for her father and the obligation she feels to a man who saved her life. To pay the debt she owes to both men, Josephine becomes Josie Clay, a mill girl. Her debt is not just money. Much against her will and her belief in God, Josie finds herself in a world whispered about but never discussed out loud; a world where bodies are snatched from the very grave. Will God ever show Josie a way to survive this madness? Will she ever feel cleansed of the evil and still be able to provide for her father? Josie wonders if she will ever be able to put these terrible secrets behind her forever and find love. I hesitantly picked up this book to read. Although I like suspense I do not like the kind that causes nightmares for weeks on end. This is the first book I have read by Angie Dicken but after reading The Yellow Lantern, given the opportunity it will not be the last. The story in my opinion is very well written and attention is paid to the smallest of details. This book pulled me in to the story and didn’t release me until the last page. I recommend this to readers of suspense, but also to those who love a historical story. I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
A chilling Gothic tale that captured my attention from the opening lines. This new to me author penned a realistic look at a dark occupation and provided some insights on how innocent people get sucked up in into the fallout. Corrupt medicine, in the name of research, body snatchers, grave robbers, things that go bump in the night, are exposed by the light of hope and truth. Josie refuses to stand by and do nothing and she’s willing to fight for the ones she loves. This is an active read from the get-go and will not leave you disappointed. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The True Color series dealing with historical events of American Crime is a unique and entertaining series. The Yellow Lantern is set in 1824 and deals with a young woman’s unwilling involvement with grave robbers. Grave robbers illegally procured newly buried corpses to supply doctors to do research in the name of medical advancement. Josie Clay was thought to be dead and was on the table to be dissected when she awakens. Now she is indebted to help procure the next corpse for research. There are many elements in this story that are fascinating and Josie’s work at a cotton mill in the 1900s is an interesting story line. The story is slow to start, but does a good job in the end to heighten the suspense and danger. It is complete with dark and devious characters, a handsome mill owner, and the mill girls that work alongside Josie. There is enough going on to keep readers interested. Some of the character’s motivations are confusing though and actions unnecessary. I could never fully grasp why Josie felt indebted to comply with the grave robbers or what Alvin’s motivations where in the story. Not the strongest outing in this series, but a worthwhile read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken does not disappoint. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and this particular series. Escaping being buried alive and almost being killed by Dr. Chadwick, Josephine Clayton must start a new life of grave robbing and paying off her father’s debtors. Josephine, now Josie Clay, goes to work at a cotton mill Gloughton to make money to pay off debts. Soon she discovers she must part-take in the robbing of graves with her father’s farm hand, Alvin. However, there may be a few obstacles for her when the mill girls become unexpectedly ill. Josie’s caring spirit may not only help the ill girls, but also capture the eye of the mill manager, Braham Taylor, when she cares for his dying Aunt Myrtle. Braham Taylor has enough blood on his hands. Every so often a mill girl either is severely injured or dies under his watch. When his cousin Gerald Bates, puts Braham under a watchful eye to dismiss him from managerial duties, Braham becomes ever more determined to make sure nothing goes wrong. When he suddenly decides to hire a new mill girl, Josie Clay, he finds her interesting and suspicious, but it attached to her caring spirit and help to aid the ill. When Aunt Myrtle becomes ill and needs care, Josie helps her in her last days. Will this peculiar mill girl capture Braham’s broken heart or will he find out that she holds a secret that could hurt everything he feels for her? Will Josie continue to part-take in the act of grave robbing just to save her self and her father’s land? You will have to check it out for yourself. This book was awesome and I really enjoyed this genre of historic fiction. It took me a few chapters to get into it. I was a little lost for the first 4 chapters, but then I was hooked. It had a little romance and a little suspense. I really recommend the True Colors Historic American Crimes Series. There is a lot of history in this book and it is very interesting to learn about. I’m excited to say that there are more to the series coming soon. You can check out the series at www.truecolorscrime.com/ . I can’t forget to mention that I want to thank the publisher and the author for giving me the opportunity to read this book. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Although I have read another Angie Dicken book this was totally different. It took me a little bit to figure out the plot and get settled in this book. But, the further I read the more I liked it. It was so different – and, that’s a good thing. It had the romance. It had the historical value. It had the suspense. In fact, I had a hard time trying to figure out who belonged to the good guys and who was part of the bad guys. That’s good. It was the very end before it all came together. Josie, who was originally Josephine (Josephine is believed to be dead by the people in her community, and she was extremely ill at the very beginning) was rescued and taken to work in a cotton mill. She was also to be a help to grave robbers to save her father’s life. Of course, she was thankful for her life, but she wanted nothing to do with the illegal happenings. So, she struggled and tried to find a way out. I kept expecting the hero (Braham) to figure it out and help her, but it wasn’t that easy. If you enjoy the historical romance with some good suspense you will enjoy this one. I recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Pleasantly surprised When I was asked to read this book, my first instinct was to say no....I don't usually read Crime Stories. But, something told me to give it a chance. Boy, was I surprised! This is a very intriguing read. What a horrible time period, when people were presumed dead and buried alive....when body snatchers would steal bodies to sell “in the name of science”. Once you begin reading Josephine's story, you won't be able to put the book down. You will need to see how everything turns out. I look forward to reading more by this author. “I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.”
You will walk away from this one feeling satiated from the gothic feel and murder, mystery, and suspense. The Historical aspect of the cotton mills and what a difficult job it was for the young ladies is well done. How creepy that this is actually based on true crime. Angie Dickens brings this story to life with her knack for captivating you from the first paragraph and keeping the story moving. I had goose bumps. Josephine has you from the first and you will be sympathetic from the start. Alfred Hitchcock would have loved to put this on film. The twists and turns are like a lonely, dark, crooked lane through the woods. The concept of these Historical Stories Of American Crime are brilliant and kudos to the authors for doing a splendid job of bringing them to life. I recommend reading but not at bedtime. :) I received a complimentary copy from CelebrateLit/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken is part of the True Colors series which are fictional stories based on true American crime. Having read the first couple books in the series, The White City and The Pink Bonnet, I was looking forward to reading The Yellow Lantern and was not disappointed. The author drew me in immediately as in the first few pages she describes the near-death experience of a young woman thought to be dead. Set in a small Massachusetts village during the early 1820s, the book tells the story of a woman caught in a dreadful and wicked web of deceit and grave-robbing. Death had led Josie and her father down a dark path into the hands of dangerous and ruthless individuals. Would the nightmare ever end and justice prevail? Would her passion of healing lead to her purpose in life or would evil thwart her destiny? The author brings an exciting edge-of-the-seat climax to this historical fiction account of the illegal practice of body-snatching. The characters are realistic and either likable, relatable, or despicable. Dialogue flowed seamlessly without sounding forced. I had a hard time putting the book down. The story pulls on the reader’s emotions, shock and horror, anger and revenge, sorrow and compassion. It is a book that kept my interest and I look forward to reading more from this author. I received a complimentary copy of this book via Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit. A favorable review was not required and opinions are my own. This review is part of a CelebrateLit blog tour.
The Yellow Lantern is the third book in the series True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by three different authors. Angie Dicken’s fictionalized account of the actual crime of robbing graves for medical experimentation and research sparked my interest even as the horror of it made me cringe. I’d heard of “body snatchers”, but I’ve never really thought much about them. Dicken’s obvious research into the subject added realism to the story, which took place in Massachusetts in 1824. I enjoyed the growing relationship between Braham and Josie as they got to know each other. It was a bright spot in an otherwise quite dark, gothic story. Josie’s heart for healing and her compassion drew me to her, and I could feel her distress at her unsolvable dilemma. I had a little difficulty keeping track of all the different characters in this tale, but it was fun to see this author try her hand at another genre. She captured the atmosphere of the time and circumstances well. With twists and turns and a few surprises along the way, I was kept guessing at the outcome to the very end. I’m looking forward to reading more of her stories in the future. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author/Barbour Publishing. All opinions are my own.
I read some of the reviews that were not real good for this book but here is my opinions. The first of the book pulled me in pretty quickly. To be real sick then wake up and they are planning on YOU being the next corpse where they can do research on you. Pretty scary! I had heard of body snatchers but this is my first time to read a book about it. I like the characters and enjoyed reading about the mill and the girls that were so willing (well most of them) to work for various reasons. Josephine wasn’t willing but thought she had to because of her father being what he was. And she needed a body to take her place. Lies and deception was what her life had become. Read and find out what her father actually needed. This true crime historical fiction was very interesting because I love to read stories that are based on real events or people. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
This has been a fantastic series of books. I have loved every one of them. This one is a bit spooky because who would go around stealing bodies. I know in the long run that maybe some good came out of doing research on dead bodies but it was too bad that there was not a better way to accomplish this goal. I really enjoyed the characters. I loved that some were good and others could be down right nasty. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit and Barbour Publishing for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
This fascinating novel is third in Barbour’s multi-author series “True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime”. It is exciting, with characters defined through actions, conversations, and thoughts. It is based on actual crimes in general in the early 1800’s that anyone desperate for money to help a loved one, could fall into. It is written with skill and sensitivity. Josephine awakens to find Dr. Chadwick, who she works for as an assistant, ready to plunge a knife into her. The fact that she was alive stuns him, and he tries to talk her into letting him finish the deed as she won’t survive the illness she has. She was dead for 24 hours and her father already grieves her. Chadwick is doing research he thought he could only accomplish by stealing bodies of people who had just died. Alvin, her father’s hired hand, comes in and sees Josephine alive. He wouldn’t let anything happen to her and reminds Chadwick he knows where the empty graves are. Chadwick leaves her to the cellar to recover. Her father visited once and said that he and Alvin have a plan to get him out of a mess and she had to trust Alvin. He said he committed a terrible wrong, that murderers were after him and only Josephine could save him. Mr. Bates, Sr. successfully owned and ran a factory in Gloughton, Massachusetts, to process cotton fibers from his plantation in Georgia. Mr. Bates became the legal guardian of Braham when his father died at the plantation where they were indentured. When Mr. Bates died, he left ownership of the mill and the plantation to his son, Gerald. Braham would manage the factory. Gerald has always hated Braham and continues to treat him as a servant. Alvin brings Josephine, now called Josie, to this factory to get a job. Braham hired her, unaware that accidental deaths of women in the mill attracted the attention of grave robbers. That is what Alvin expects Josie to help with – when people die, she will hold the lantern for him as he digs up the grave, then refill it. As a healer using herbs as her mother taught her, the idea is abhorrent, yet she has to save her father. Despite the growing attraction between Braham and Josie, she tries to do her job and stay quiet. Until the first woman is injured in an accident and Josie treats the woman with herbs and salves, gaining Braham’s respect. I like Josie/Josephine and her struggle with her faith even when thinking God wants nothing more to do with her. Braham is a good man, also a believer, yet he seems almost too emotional with regards to Josie. Her healing skills, her help with the late Mr. Bates’ sister who is dying, and what he sees as her goodness appeals to him even though people start to talk. Along with challenges to their faith and their places in the world, there is a complex mystery. How injuries keep occurring, what is causing the severe illness of some of the women that Josie and the local apothecary are treating, and who is behind the growing grave robbing scheme make this a compelling read. I like the frequent, varied references to the lantern lights. The end holds more than one surprise, and all loose ends are tied up. I highly recommend it to Christian women who appreciate the underlying spiritual themes, mystery, history, and romance. From a thankful heart: I received a copy of this from the publisher and CelebrateLit, and this is my honest review.
This was a really unique, interesting historical novel! I have never read anything quite like it! Mystery, intrigue...body snatchers...medicinal herbs...grave robbers...burying the dead alive... This historical novel was based on history...strange but true! Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! Looking for something different in your historical Christian fiction? This will fit the bill!
This is the third book in this series. They are stand-alone novels, each written by a different author. I read the first two and didn’t care for them. I made the decision that if I didn’t like this one I was done with the series. I really enjoyed this book. I have never heard of Angie Dicken but I will definitely be keeping an out for more books by her. I couldn’t wait to see how everything would tie together, there were so many hints dropped, letting the reader know something was up but I wasn’t sure how it would all play out. That fact that this was based on actual events is a bit chilling. If you like suspense without it being too scary this is a good in-between book. I really enjoyed it! A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own.
This book was quite the interesting tale. Definitely different than any I have read before. Being a true crimes mystery means at least some of this story really happened. At the end, the author explains what part is fact and what part is fiction, but just so you know, grave robbing really did happen. I found Josie to be an interesting character. She was extremely loyal to her father in-spite of his wrong dealings, even to the point of doing wrong herself. It was interesting that the medical community were the ones who encouraged grave robbing for the sake of science. Josie biggest struggle is between her loyalty to helping her father and doing the right thing. She seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place with no where to turn. I also liked Braham, another one of the main characters. He was honest, hard working, and always looking out for the good of others. The only thing about him I disliked was that he seemed way too trusting of people. Maybe he just wanted to believe the best about them. There were things going on right under his nose, he just seemed to miss. And, of course, as in every story, there are some characters you just love to hate. You'll figure them out as you read! Overall, I would recommend this book. It wasn't too hard to figure out the who-done-it, but the story kept me interested and reading. I was provided a copy of this book courtesy of Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
I did not think the story flowed well. Seemed awkward at times. Grave robbing and the mills of Massachusettes was not new to me but it did not seem plausible to me. There were a couple of characters who appear near the end of the book that I had to figure out who they were. One I never did figure out. It was written like he was a well known character and I should know but could not find him earlier in the book. I will nto be recommending it to anyone.
I did not think the story flowed well. Seemed awkward at times. Grave robbing and the mills of Massachusettes was not new to me but it did not seem plausible to me. There were a couple of characters who appear near the end of the book that I had to figure out who they were. One I never did figure out. It was written like he was a well known character and I should know but could not find him earlier in the book. I will nto be recommending it to anyone.
The Yellow Lantern is well written and an interesting story--though it's about a gruesome subject--grave robbing. Braham is a very good character and well portrayed. There's a sweet romance between Josie and Braham and a happy ending for poor Josie after all she's been through. Sprinkled throughout this story of death is a thread of life through Josie's herbal treatments and her help in healing the sick. There's a good cast of characters who are all well written. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
"Fiction Based on Strange-But-True History" is a sure way to get my attention. In "The Yellow Lantern," Angie Dicken illuminates the morbid business of grave diggers stealing cadavers to advance medical science. I love fiction that preserves historical information most of us never learn in school. "The true crime of body snatching was more rampant than rare throughout history," Dicken writes in an afterword to the reader. "I was surprised to come across a case where several stolen bodies supplied an entire medical society, but more disturbing was the fact that some body snatchers would even murder for the chance of payment." Dicken also weaves in a cast of young women exploited as workers in a cotton mill, adding another layer of historical horror stories to this thriller/romance novel. I love the descriptions of the mill, e.g., *... a fine snow of cotton bits lingered in the air. She was in a sort of storm, one where the thunder banged from the machines, and the particles in the air floated without chill or wind.* Dicken is good at plotting, pacing, tension, conflict, and suspense. Fans of the romance genre will love this story. I found the tropes of the genre distracting--e.g., handsome factory manager Braham Taylor frequently breathless in the presence of Josephine Clayton, aka Josie Clay, mysterious new cotton mill employee--but I kept reading. The young women and girls working in the factory are well-drawn. Their plight is all too authentic. As Molly, a coworker, tells Josie, "We've got a lot of talent in these girls. Some come from poor families and others from families who demand their sons receive an education using their wages. We might not have the status to go off to prestigious schools and find glorious apprenticeships, but we are hard workers with the most important thing of all...Freedom." How Josie ends up in a cotton mill is a plot twist I will not spoil for other readers. Her natural talent and her training as a healer come in handy when there are on-the-job injuries, but this also gets her in trouble because she abandons her work station to tend to employees in need of immediate medical attention. Ridiculous as that sounds, overbearing and punitive bosses like hers have real-life precedents. Fans of Claire in the "Outlander" series will find much to love about Josie and her knowledge of herbal remedies. Tropes of the romance genre add distractions rather than value to the story, and so does the prose style. Metaphor and idiom seem to escape Millennials, even those who are trained writers, and even editors. E.g., "His chin pushed up his lips into a deeply set frown." Huh? Call me a crabby last-century English teaching major, but I wince at "fresh" prose that tries too hard, so to speak. In all, the story of Josie Clay and Braham Taylor is not my kind of romance, but the real-life details that inform the narrative make this novel a must-read.