In today’s post, I’ll be reviewing a book, but not just any old book. Today's story is a historical mystery novella by Elisabeth Grace Foley. Why the changeup? For one thing, today is the publication of The Silver Shawl, and it’s fun to celebrate with authors as they release their new books. For another thing, I love Agatha Christie’s books—if you don’t, you need to—and The Silver Shawl was highly reminiscent of Christie’s work. Plus, it’s enjoyable and fun to read. So, with that said, let me enter full review mode.
Title: The Silver Shawl
Author: Elisabeth Grace Foley
Page Count: 45
Stars: 4 of 5
4 = well-written and a good read
Teaser: In a small town in turn-of-the-century Colorado, a young woman has disappeared from the boarding-house where she lives. Her distraught fiancé is certain that she must have been kidnapped. But the case takes a new turn when a city detective appears on the scene, looking for a woman who matches the description of the missing girl. Was Charity really kidnapped, or did she have a reason to flee? Mrs. Meade, a gentle but shrewd widow lady who lives across the hall in the boarding-house, feels that there is something wrong with the story of Charity's disappearance...but can she unravel the mystery before it is too late?
Age level: Preteens and up (10+)
Violence: 2 of 5
1 = mild injuries appropriate for all ages
Romance: 1 of 5
1 = there's a hint of romance at a PG level
Language: 0 of 5
Christian worldview: No religious concerns of note. On the positive side, Silver Shawl had a sweet and Biblical portrayal of the fiancé-fiancée relationship.
My Personal Opinion: I don’t usually read novellas, much less historical novellas, much less historical mystery novellas, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began Foley’s book. From the beginning, however, I was captivated by Foley’s use of details. The descriptions of characters, the settings, the small gestures—everything felt vivid and true-to-life.
In the larger, overall structure of the story, the book read a lot like a short story by Agatha Christie. Mrs. Meade wasn’t quite a Mrs. Marple, but there were certain similarities nonetheless. The mystery wasn’t obvious, either; it left me guessing for quite a long time, which is saying a lot, for me.
My one point of criticism is that the end of the story lagged a bit. There wasn't quite enough tension to keep the story going for the last few pages. However, otherwise, the story and characters were spot-on.
So, in all, I enjoyed The Silver Shawl quite a bit. If you haven’t had the chance yet to discover this marvelous world of short historical mystery, I suggest that you start right now! And you can leave a comment, too, to celebrate a fellow-writer’s self-publication day.