Blog Tour Stop! The Boy With the Blue Trousers by Carol Jones
Many thanks to TLC Book Tours for inviting me to join in on this tour, because WHAT A BOOK to have someone share with you!
As you know, I am a thriller reader more than anything else. But what you may not know is that I have such a genuine soft spot for historical fiction, especially stories that are influenced by true events. And I have a huge soft spot for Carol Jones who continues to write the most spellbinding, beautiful and absorbing historical fiction stories.
This particular story was even more enticing to me because it centers around two very unconventional women in a time when unconventional women were not looked on too kindly.
On the goldfields of 19th century Australia, two very different girls are trying to escape their past. English governess Violet Hartley has fled from England after a scandalous liaison. Now she is angling for a rich husband and a new life. Little Cat is fleeing from her home in Southern China after killing the powerful old man who tried to rape her. Disguised as a boy, she joins the huge Chinese workforce on the goldfields of South Australia. But the son of the murdered man is on her trail, intent on vengeance and Violet Hartley becomes first suspicious, then jealous of the delicate looking Chinese boy.
The work Carol did researching this story is evident in how brilliantly she pulls together a world that you feel like you’ve been dropped right in the middle of. I got so completely lost in this story every time I picked it up, that it’s amazing I got any sleep at all while I devoured this over the course of several days. Carol creates such intricate, weaving stories that make you “just one more chapter” yourself over and over and over.
In this particular story I was so taken in by Little Cat, whose character just came so fully to life on the page. Her journey to forge a path in an unknown world was absolutely fascinating to me - in large part because it is so far removed from my own life, but somehow I could still relate to her on a fundamental level. Which is to say I was desperately rooting for her to find her happier ending. How Carol managed to write in a suspenseful tone to a historical story is both mind boggling and brilliant - and it works SO PERFECTLY to keep the pace of this book clipping right along - each page I was more and more invested in watching Little Cat brave out situation after situation tirelessly. I could honestly read a series of books about her character alone.
Which isn’t to take away from Violet’s character in any way - while she is a bit more plucky and a little harder to really like off the get go, she worked her way into my heart as the story unfolded. I love how Carol wrote women who are tenacious, uncompromising and wonderfully strong in their own ways - I wish more books had the courage to let women be complex characters the way this story does.
Ultimately, when I sat down to write this post, I wanted to dive in and dissect the story, pull out all the pieces that I loved so much to admire like shiny things. But it hit me that this is a story that really deserves no spoilers - a reader is going to love this story all the more being not quite sure what’s on the horizon of each of these women’s adventures. To share the details would be to take away from the suspense of it all, and you know how I hate for anyone to ruin my suspense!
The bottom line is that this is a BEAUTIFUL story, and one that should be on everyone’s late summer/early fall reading list. This book is the perfect piece to pair with a cozy blanket, warm coffee and quiet afternoon of reading delight. A story that will lure you in and break your heart wide open. An adventure that will stick with you well after.
So friends, be sure to get this one on your TBR ASAP - and prepare to fall in love with two women who were too big for a small world.