I am totally in love with this book! It’s scheduled to be released in January and you MUST get a copy. Eve Karlin has carefully researched the events surrounding the murder of Elma Sands in 1799 New York City and brilliantly crafted a fictionalized version of events. This story involved Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, two rivals for president of the United States.
Elma Sands arrives, as a young woman, in New York City to assist her cousin Caty with running a boardinghouse and caring for her children. She soon develops a relationship with one of the boarders, Levi Weeks. Meanwhile, Caty’s marriage is getting shakier by the day as her husband becomes more and more focused on money. Levi works for his brother Ezra who is a builder who wants to hold political office. Ezra and Aaron Burr are hatching political schemes to gain control of New York City politics and further their own ambitions. Levi know of these schemes and reveals them to Elma. When word gets back to Ezra that his secret has been revealed Elma’s life is in danger. One night Elma goes out with Levi, telling Cary they are to be married that night, but she never returns. When her body is discovered in one of Ezra Weeks wells a few days later all suspicion is on Levi and a trial quickly ensues. But all is not as straightforward as it at first seems.
Eve Karlin has created a wonderful version of the events. Her characters just jump from the pages and her descriptions of the conditions of the time or the courthouse drama are riveting. I think any reader will find something to love in this story. Be sure to read the author’s notes at the end that describes how each characters life played out after the trial. This book really spoke to my history/crime buff side. I’m giving this one 4 out of 4 stars for being a truly great creative work. I hope to see more from Eve Karlin in the future.