(I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaways).
(This review may contain spoilers).
Ideally, I’d probably give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. I thought that the idea was a good one… even if not entirely unique… but I felt there were some improvements to be made.
It was interesting to see Sidney as a minister thrust into murder cases, but I felt that there was very little shown of his moral struggle. In many ways, Sidney’s youth and inexperience were portrayed well, but I didn’t feel his mental struggles came across all that well.
I did have a strong dislike for Amanda as a character, who I felt led Sidney on and didn’t come across as a very nice person. Even when she was in danger, I couldn’t really care about her safety.
It was good to see the attitudes of people of that time explored, but there were a few parts that seemed a bit too progressive… modern thinking that I felt didn’t necessarily fit with the atmosphere of the book.
It was good to see that the short stories were inter-connected, but I felt that the book could have been expanded into a novel, since the apparent ‘twists’ came at a rush and weren’t foreshadowed as well as they could have been. Or they were just obvious.
I did like the opportunity to see Sidney’s relationship with his family, though I would have liked to see a bit more of him and his parents. I did, however, feel that Sidney didn’t come across as a particularly strong character. He allowed himself to be railroaded too much, which made it difficult to empathise with him as a character.
I did feel there was a bit too much information dumping and summarising in the book, especially when it came to Sidney’s relationship with Keating, his inspector friend. I was disappointed to see that Hildegard didn’t make much of an appearance, since I liked her interactions with Sidney much better.
I felt there was a lot of potential in this book, but it didn’t really live up to that. I would have liked to see the stories and characters expanded upon and a bit more strength in regards to the main character.
I’m not sure I’m interested in reading more books in this series any time soon in the future.