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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

31 Bond Street: A Novel (P.S.)
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
ISBN: 0061689874
Pages: 384 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/American
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound

Summary from Publisher:
Who killed Dr. Harvey Burdell in his opulent Manhattan town house?

At once a gripping mystery and a richly detailed excavation of a lost age, 31 Bond Street is a spellbinding tale of murder, sex, greed, and politics in 1857 New York. Author Ellen Horan interweaves fact and fiction—reimagining the sensational nineteenth-century crime that rocked the city a few short years before the Civil War ripped through the fabric of the nation, while transporting readers back to a time that eerily echoes our own.

Though there are no clues to the brutal slaying of wealthy Dr. Burdell, suspicion quickly falls on Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed his house and servants. An ambitious district attorney seeks a swift conviction, but defense attorney Henry Clinton is a formidable obstacle—a man firmly committed to justice and the law, and to the cause of a frightened, vulnerable woman desperately trying to save herself from the gallows.

My Review:

I must start by saying that this review will be gushy. If you do not want to read a review of that sort, it would be best to move on now knowing that I loved this book and I am recommending it to everyone I know. To those that want to know why I loved this book—carry on.

I said just yesterday that I did not like legal storylines in my books. I was clearly wrong and I don’t want to admit how wrong I was. I absolutely love what Horan did here. She took a real murder and a real trial, fictionalized it and made it one of the more compelling books that I have picked up so far this year. I even loved the trial perhaps because it was based on a historic trial and I love reading about them.

The historical detail was amazing in 31 Bond Street. It felt very authentic. Horan really managed to capture New York at the time period. I’m a New Yorker who is completely obsessed with New York history so I really loved the detail. You can feel the depth of the research in almost every page of the book. But what I really loved was that Horan managed to weave an engrossing story while maintaining historic integrity. I’m borderline in love with this book and I can’t wait to see what Ellen Horan does next.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. I just finished this novel as well. Although I enjoyed it, I was a little disappointed in that it seemed as if the trial was going to be the dramatic centerpiece of the story, but it wasn't. Wasn't the coroner's inquest dreadful? I like to read about old New York as well.

  2. It seems like this is a really great book! It reminds me of two other books, Thunderstruck by Erik Larson (which I didn't really love) and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (which I really did love) - I'm excited to check out 31 Bond Street to see how it compares.

    Thanks for being on the tour.



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