Tina Jordan
July 26, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Skull and the Nighingale

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Michael Irwin
publisher
William Morrow
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

This raunchy novel, The Skull and the Nightingale, of sex and manipulation — set in 18th-century England — evokes Tom Jones, The Crimson Petal and the White, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. When Richard Fenwick returns from his Grand Tour, his 79-year-old godfather instructs him to move to London and report on his carnal adventures: ”I would hope to live differently and dangerously through you.” Richard is only too happy to oblige, and the lusty greed of 1760s London comes alive through letters describing his darker sexual exploits. Irwin has crafted a terrific historical novel, and an even better psychological thriller. A-

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