I loved this book! It's brilliant, it's delicious, it's thought-provoking, it's fun, it's sad and it feels like an old friend has come to stay for the weekend. You think you're getting a cozy mystery set in an alternate history, but in reality, you're getting much much more.
I knew of the author, Jo Walton, because I read a lot of fantasy and she writes fantasy. (Apparently she lives in Montreal too, so I have to wonder if I ever met her in my sci-fi/fantasy club days.) I'd heard her name but never read any of her works. Then one day, one of my favourite authors, KJ Charles mentioned/recced Farthing on Twitter, which had been recced to her by another of my faves, Jordan L. Hawk, so it came up on my radar. Last week, I acquired my copy. :)
So, Farthing is, on the surface, a cozy murder mystery set at the country estate of high born folks - The Farthing Set - in 1947 England. But it's a slightly different England than we're used to. Peace has been made with Hitler and WW2 never really became WW in scope. What we end up seeing, is a world where what happened in Germany and other countries in the 30s can be seen to be happening in England, which adds a whole different set of layers to the story.
The author has also chosen a different way to actually tell the story. The narrative alternates between the first person POV of the daughter of the house, so to speak, Lucy Kahn - I swear, it reads as if she's sitting across the table from you with a pot of tea, telling you the story as she sees it - and the 3rd person POV (technical term Narrow POV?) of Scotland Yard investigator Peter Anthony Carmichael. You get one chapter of Lucy, and then one chapter of Peter and while it sounds like it would be jarring, it's not. It works PERFECTLY!
As far as the mystery goes, I was suitably puzzled for most of the book, my suspicions all over the place. *LOL* And in the end, the solution makes total sense.
I quite fell for Detective Carmichael and I'm really glad that his 'adventures' continue in two other books. (Apparently with the same style, 1st person POV of a female MC and then Carmichael's narrow 3rd POV.)
The striking thing about Farthing, though, is that it makes you see how easy. How too damned easy it would be to let bad things happen to good people. It's so much more than an alternate history cozy. And the ending. Well, it wasn't what I was expecting and I have to say. I cried.
Read this book. It's EXCELLENT!