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THE QUICK: A Novel ~Lauren Owen

“’The Rag and Bottle Library travels about Europe,’ Miss Swift began.  ‘Maybe further.’”

“It keeps hold of the rarest manuscripts, the ones that can’t be replaced.  Staying on the move keeps them safe.  When the library comes to England, we return books we’ve borrowed for our researches, pass on any valuable manuscripts we’ve obtained.  We tell them anything we’ve discovered.  And if someone like us is killed, their books go to the Rag and Bottle.”


THE QUICK is a mighty good read.  The writing is just wonderful and moves the reader along at a very good pace.  The characters are creatively developed and well explored and the story line has good connections and returns.  I just enjoyed reading such a finely written tome and spending 11 hours with this book and Owen’s imagination was fun.

I got confused several times and then realized this was all a part of the illusion of the story which takes place primarily in London, England in the 1800s.  I learned more about the York area and it made me want to go there and see old estates and gardens once again.  There was emphasis on the poor and the dirt and smog in the city and how people coped.  It was not a fashion show but a look at the hidden culture in the city.

A shy, hopeful, poet newly minted from Oxford, moves to London and meets an interestingly charming young man who needs a roommate due to his family withholding his funds.  James is having a good time and is falling in love all the while writing home to his older sister Charlotte who is stuck in the rural part of York tending her senior guardian.  The letters stop! And James has disappeared! She has never been to the city before, but she is determined to find her brother and her search leads her to an historic, mysterious, and dangerous men’s club – the Aegolius.  Street urchins, rope walkers, doctors, the aristocrats of wealth and power all lead the reader on a merry chase and the student learns the historic background of the overgrowth of vampires and the why of their atrociously stuck fashion statements in the darker spaces of London.

There was lots of suspense in the story and a poet had his hero moments.  The rules of society helped build the story; especially the love story.  Austen meets the macabre?

Now I need to say frankly that I am not very fond of vampire stories and their problems and puzzles.   I do share life with a child who loves vampire love stories. I do enjoy fantasy and sci-fi much more, but this was a classier more elegant read.  I got up from the chair for a cup of tea ( you know, English novels just require tea breaks) and decided to think of the vampires as the American Religious Right and the Old Fossil Fuel Guys who are attempting to take over the world and voila’ I found more interest in the story and it picked up pace.  You see tea can completely change your perspective!

tlc logo I know a number of people who will love THE QUICK. I am very happy that TLC online book tours sent me an advanced reader’s copy to review. I think this book might just surprise you – THE QUICK

“Lauren Owen read English Literature at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, before completing an MA in Victorian Literature at the University of Leeds.  She subsequently studied at the University of East Anglia, graduating with an MA in Creative Writing in 2008, and receiving the 2009 Curtis Brown Prize. She is currently working towards a PhD in English Literature at Durham University.  THE QUICK is her first novel.” ~from the Book Cover

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6 Responses to “THE QUICK: A Novel ~Lauren Owen”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. this sounds like an interesting read and I can see ‘England’ and the 1800s in the story line … it’s had some good reviews .. and I’m sure I’ve glanced at reviews where it’s been highlighted as an excellent first novel.

    At some stage I’m sure I’ll read it .. but thanks for bringing it to our attention .. Hilary Mantel has endorsed it amongst others .. so it seems set to become a popular read.

    Intriguing too .. and I love those old estates, country houses, priest holes etc .. orchards, dark brooding countryside .. so English!

    Cheers Hilary

    Patricia Reply:

    Hilary,
    Yes, I think this will be a best seller and the writing is so good – well thought out and all the proper intrigue.

    It is a lot of pages and that was the hardest part – although I didn’t mind because the book was so well done
    Patricia recently posted..THE QUICK: A Novel ~Lauren OwenMy Profile

  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    “I got confused several times and then realized this was all a part of the illusion of the story which takes place primarily in London, England in the 1800s.”

    Patricia — I think that particular tactic might just throw me for too big of a loop!

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    I did have to change my thinking several times and then caught the rhythm of the story. I ended up having to read some of the first part over again. I do think that people who love vampire stories will figure it out right away.

    It is quite the read
    Patricia recently posted..THE QUICK: A Novel ~Lauren OwenMy Profile

  3. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

    Patricia Reply:

    thank you Heather J….

    I am sure it will be a best seller – such a well written book and perfect topic for so many these days.
    Thank you for the shout out
    Patricia recently posted..THE QUICK: A Novel ~Lauren OwenMy Profile