Forced to Spy for Grave RobbersTrue Colors – Fiction Based on Strange-But-True History In 1824, Josephine Clayton is considered dead by everyone in her Massachusetts village—especially the doctor she has assisted for several months. Yet, she is still very much alive. After the doctor’s illegal dealing with his body snatcher to obtain her body, Josephine awakens, positioned as the next corpse for his research. To cover up his crime, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. They strike a deal—Josephine will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help the body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill though, Josephine is praised for her medical remedies among the other female workers, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager, Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all. What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?More from the True Colors SeriesThe White City by Grace Hitchcock (March 2019)The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma (June 2019)
About the Author
Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she's a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer's Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com
Read an Excerpt
Heaven stank of tallow and shone a honey glow. Her eyes could not adjust beyond a blur. An unsteady drip plucked against a thick silence, prodding her skin to crawl with gooseflesh. Where was she? No, this could not be —
No lightness, no feathery existence.
She tried to sit up, but her head was as heavy as her father's felling ax. She could hardly drag it through the stale air. Panic swarmed within her. Perhaps death had not just stolen her breath but her salvation?
Josephine Clayton had not been afraid of dying. Mourning had taught her that living proved more difficult. The last moment she remembered was her father's watery eyes while he begged her to live. She was overjoyed he'd been freed from debtors' prison, yet the fever was raging, and she'd felt her breath slipping from her infected lungs. Her wages had set Father free. Now all she could pray was for death to come quickly.
Had her prayer been answered?
The celestial bed where she'd slept clung to her, wrapping her in an unforgiving grip. A smudged-out figure stole away the light and stood above her. Her heart raced with fear. A glint sparked in the shadows, and her eyes focused at last.
Dr. Chadwick stood above her with his knife raised and his usual coat of dried blood and bile brushing against her arm.
"No!" Her body lurched upward, but she was trapped.
The man's eyes widened, and the clatter of his tool against the hard floor pinged about the room. He shuffled out of view and came forward again; a blue bottle in his hand trembled as he pressed it against her lips. Josephine's breaths, no matter how much they hurt against her chest, were a wild stampede. She knew what he was doing. Would he force her to sleep?
"Sir, please! I am alive!" She jerked her head to the side. Her body writhed like a worm hanging from the clutches of a wren. "You cannot —"
"Josephine, you are weak and incurable. Let me help you now." Help? Like he had with the last patient?
Josephine had convinced herself that all hope was lost after Mr. Baldwin's fever never broke. She was sure that Dr. Chadwick used wise judgment in giving him the elixir that would bring on a deep sleep. But she had wondered if he'd mistakenly given too much to Ainsley's oldest man. And she was irritated by the quickness of Dr. Chadwick's transfer from the sickbed to the operating table. Josephine was hardly done with a prayer over the dead body when Dr. Chadwick had prepared his tools.
"Take care, my daughter, that you respect the doctor," her father had advised after she was hired as the doctor's assistant. Even though her mother often despised Dr. Chadwick's visits, in her last days he had seemed a comfort to the family, assuring them that he was giving her the best treatment he knew how.
But now? Josephine's head swam with doubt.
"This shan't hurt. There is nothing else to be done for you." His Adam's apple bobbed above his stiff collar, and his eyes reflected the same uncertainty she felt.
Josephine stared hard at him, lifting her head no matter how much it hurt. "I am alive, sir," she whispered. "I am weak, but I will grow strong again."
The doctor grimaced. His gray eyes were cast upon her, but she'd seen that look — one where she was just a resting place for his gaze, yet his mind was somewhere else. "I did not detect a heartbeat ... these things do happen, though."
"Sir, please unstrap me."
"Nobody can survive what you've been through." He licked his lips, his grimace deepened, and now he avoided her gaze entirely. "Josephine, all have mourned you. You've been dead for twenty-four hours."
"Your father sat beside you at your viewing. His grief is full on. Even if I tried to make you well, your life will never be the same."
"Doctor, release me this moment." She tried to speak with force, but her body was near-lifeless. Her wrists burned against the ropes. "Please —" Tears should have fallen, but she had none. Her mouth was as dry as if it had been coated by the dust of a grave. "I am thirsty."
"Settle back. Let me give you something to calm you." He still did not look at her. His icy fingers encircled her arm.
"Wouldn't you rather my father know it was a mistake than induce my ... my death?"
His eyes flashed, and he groaned. "You've been around here long enough."
She had agreed to assist in remedies and ailments. The messy business of exploring stolen bodies for clues and cures was something she'd not expected. But when her father was taken to debtors' prison, she had no choice but to stay and earn his way out.
The doctor ran his hand through his hair. "Josephine, you were not just set out for all to see. You were buried."
"Buried?" Her chest seemed to collapse, and she could not find enough air to fill it. "How — how did I — survive?"
The door flung open behind the doctor. Alvin appeared with his sinister brow and a muddied shovel slung across his shoulder. "Doctor —" His face paled when he saw Josephine. He rushed to the table, looking into her eyes with horror. "She — she lives?" He covered his mouth and pulled his dirtied knuckles across his chin.
"Not for long." Dr. Chadwick pushed his sleeves up, slid one hand behind her head, and brought the bottle into view again.
Alvin licked his lips, his gaze darting about as fast as Josephine's heartbeat. "Wait!" He clutched at the doctor's wrist. "I came to tell you, people are talking. The empty graves. People have discovered them. I cannot work alone. That fool has crippled us both." Blackness crept from the corner of Josephine's eyes. Alvin was trusted by her father and had helped Josephine secure this position with the doctor. Yet, when she discovered the work Alvin had taken on after leaving her father's farm, her disgust grew for him more and more. Even so, as much as she disliked him, it appeared he was at least trying to prevent her murder.
"Have they discovered hers?" Chadwick whipped his white mane in Josephine's direction. Alvin gave a quick shake of his head, casting his eyes down with a perplexed grimace. Dr. Chadwick breathed in deeply and cleared his throat. "Well then. We continue."
The blackness grew wide and long and wrapped itself around Josephine's vision.
"Wait!" A gargling yelp from Alvin delayed the fainting spell that threatened. The determination in his whitened knuckles around the doctor's wrist was the last thing she saw before her eyes closed. "I have a plan," he said, then the spell grew in full force. All was dark.
Would she awake from this nightmare, or had it just begun?
* * *
Dust hung in the sunbeam above the bed where Josephine lay. She'd begged Alvin to take her home to her own bed, but the doctor refused to let her go. He demanded she recover here, in his cellar among hanging garlic and onions and sacks of earth-scented potatoes. 'Twas better than being on his table among dirty tools. Yet straw poked through her thin nightdress, and the blanket was as coarse as the potato sacks. The stones in the copper bed warmer beneath the linen hardly held their heat through the night. She shifted away from the cooling metal.
Josephine pulled the blanket up to her chin as best as she could. Her elbows ached with weakness, and her fingers were numb with cold. She eyed the narrow staircase across the square room where a ribbon of golden light shone beneath the door at the top.
"Do not make a sound," the doctor had seethed as he situated her on the pallet that first night. "The kitchen servant does not know you are here, and nobody else for that matter." He filled the bed warmer with hot stones in the morning and in the evening. He would leave her a meal three times each day on the stand beside her small box of remedies. Otherwise, Josephine's care for her healing was her own. The day dragged on, and she fell in and out of sleep. How many days had it been?
She'd not grown as strong as she'd hoped. Upon this last waking, her body refused to return to sleep and at least forget awhile. As the daylight hours waned, giving way to a grim dusk, her tears fell to her pillow. The dark corners of the cellar played tricks on her with ever-brimming shadows and echoes of mice scurrying along the stone floor. She had begged God to prove that this was not some sort of hell — to assure her that she was indeed alive.
The lock on the door rattled with a key. Josephine clutched at her covers, her knuckles aching with the cold.
Boots appeared and descended the stairs with an uneven gait.
"Father?" Her voice was hoarse. She glanced at her empty mug and dry pitcher.
"Josephine, it is I." The familiar tone of her father blanketed her in a warmth she had yet to feel in this strange fate.
"Oh Father, I am so ... so scared." Her lip trembled. His crooked shoulders and rounded face blurred as her eyes filled with tears.
"My sweet Josephine." He limped toward her then fell to his knees and gathered her hands. "You are alive, dear one. You are here with me." His cheeks and nose were pink, and his bright blue eyes glistened with the love she'd always known. "Your hands are ice, child." He squeezed her fingers in his warm palms and kissed her knuckles.
"Father, must I recover here?" Josephine sniffled. "Please, take me home."
Her father fell back and sat on his heels, slowly slipping his hands from hers. "Oh, my sweet one, how I wish I could do that." Folds of worry stacked upon his brow. Her eyes filled even more. "You are better off here."
"How?" Her voice cracked. The soreness from coughing had lessened, but the exertion of using her voice irritated her throat. She swallowed past the pain. "How, Father? How am I better off with that doctor so close? I fear every morsel he gives me. What stops him from killing me?"
"Dear one, do not fear. We have an agreement with Dr. Chadwick." Her father flicked a nervous glance up toward the closed cellar door.
"We?" Josephine's memory was clouded, but upon waking that first time, she remembered a man who was nearly as unwelcome as the doctor. "Alvin?"
"Aye. Alvin has saved you from death."
"Alvin steals the dead. Why would he care for my own life?" Her father slouched and hung his head. "He is a friend to me, Josephine."
"Father, he left your farm and employ for illegal deeds."
"Josephine." He licked his lips. His nostrils flared. He snatched his hat from his balding head and wrung it ferociously. "You must not think ill of Alvin." He squeezed his eyes tight. A tear slipped down his cheek. "When you are well, you must listen to Alvin. His plan will get us out of this mess. Will get me out of this mess." He lowered his gaze to the dry mug beside her bed.
She'd worked hard to free him from his debt. But she'd been ill, without pay for some time. What trouble had found him now? "Father, if I can get well, I will work and keep you away from prison. Do not depend on Alvin." Josephine carefully propped herself on her elbows. "Please, let me get you out of debt."
His shoulders slumped, and he wagged his head. "Oh, my dear daughter," he moaned. "If only debt was my sole concern." He shuffled closer on his knees. His lips quivered as he spoke. "You must listen to Alvin. There are more than creditors after your father, dear one." He narrowed his eyes and slid a glance at the window near the ceiling then turned to glance up the staircase. He slowly faced her again. His hot breath heated her cheek as he whispered, "Murderers, Josephine. I am being chased by murderers — or I will be if you do not do as Alvin says. I've done terrible wrong. Only you can save me, Daughter." He blanched, as if he sat with her ghost and not her flesh.
A chill crawled along Josephine's neck and across her shoulders. Her throat squeezed tight with the same fear that encased her father's face.
"What trouble are you —" The door above creaked open, and light flooded the stairway. Dr. Chadwick's heavy plod started down the stairs. Josephine lunged forward, trying to grasp her father's hands, but she only sank to the mattress. Her body was too weak.
Her father scrambled to his feet. He leaned over and kissed her forehead. A sob caught in his throat, and she looked up at him. "Daughter, do as the doctor says."
"Please, return to me, Father!" she cried with shaking shoulders.
"I do not know that I can —" He hung his head. "The shame — it's — it's too much." He turned and heaved his lame foot across the floor, pushing past the doctor and up the stairs without another look at his daughter.
"Your supper is ready, Josephine." The doctor placed a tray on her table. He narrowed his eyes upon her. "I am anxious for you to get well. There is much to do."
"What is there to do, Dr. Chadwick?"
"Wait for Alvin. He will tell you." The doctor spoke as he climbed up the stairs. "No need to worry now. Your only concern is to heal." The door slammed shut, and once again, Josephine was left alone.
What trouble had found her father while she'd suffered on her deathbed? And why must she answer to Alvin, a robber of the dead?
* * *
The wind whipped against the window, howling through the seams. Braham stepped back from the dark glass and turned to the bed.
"Remember their songs?" The thin old man reached out his hand. "I can almost hear them still."
Braham took his hand in a firm grasp, trying to appear unmoved. Yet, he did remember. Old spirituals moaned like phantoms in Braham Taylor's soul — the low notes in strange harmony with the wind. He dismissed the temptation to recall their meaning, their reasons for being sung, and instead swiped the old man's forehead with a damp cloth. Braham's knuckle brushed along his uncle's leathery skin. Its golden brown was evidence of summers spent in Georgia heat while keeping a keen eye on cotton tufts of fortune. Yet, here in Gloughton, Massachusetts, while the sun might not offer the same intensity as down south, life had shone just as bright.
Perhaps too much.
Was heaven's envy stirred up on this late spring evening? Reaching claws out like a thief?
"There, dear boy. No more tending to me." Uncle Bates let out a long, rattled cough.
"Sir, I will until —" Braham clenched his teeth, trying to calm himself amid the emotion that twined around his throat.
"Just sit by me until then." His uncle shuttered his eyes. "Do you remember the first time we met?"
"I do." Braham flipped his coattails up and sat back on the stool. "Father had negotiated his contract with you. I did not understand fully, but you had given me the best bread and butter I'd ever tasted." He allowed himself to smile at the memory. However, he did not admit the fear encased in that memory to his uncle. Not now, not after all that happened. Besides, he was a small child then. And he had endured a journey by sea that would haunt him for all his growing-up days. The stench lingered in his mind, and some nights he woke up still, sweat drenching the pillow he mistook for the stilled chest of his mother.
"Your father was a good man. A hard worker. The best. I would have offered him a permanent position once he'd finished his indenture."
Braham just held his tongue, knowing that his uncle's words might be his last. What right did Braham have to redirect this final conversation?
He winced at the man's coughing fit and looked away, spying the painting of Terryhold Plantation. Uncle Bates's niece by marriage had sat on the edge of the garden every day, perched behind an easel, while Braham and his father walked from the servants' quarters to the fields. The woman would paint, a slave girl would fan her, and the condensation on the glass jug of lemonade would tempt Braham to quench his thirst without permission.
The bedroom door swung open. Gerald Bates stepped inside as if bursting through some unseen shield. Perhaps a shield of peace? The air thickened with animosity at Braham's first glance of the master's son.
"I will take it from here," Gerald grumbled to Braham as he flung his hat atop the bureau.
Braham rose. While Mr. Bates Sr. was consistent in reminding Braham of his own hardworking father, his son was persistent in setting straight Braham's place — not as an embraced cousin, but an orphaned nuisance.
"Wait." His uncle's shaky hand hovered in the air between the men. A beacon of reconciliation? Hardly. Braham scoffed at the thought. More like an obstacle to battle that would soon fall away and leave Braham at the mercy of the new factory owner. "I would like to discuss my will with both of you present —"
"Father —" Gerald stepped forward enough that his father's hand pressed against his chest.
"Gerald, my time is near."
"You've worked hard, Father." Gerald spoke through tightly knit lips, as if he tried to withhold his words from Braham. Of course he tried. "And, I will be sure your affairs are taken care of by the finest of men."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Yellow Lantern"
Copyright © 2019 Angie Dicken.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had a hard time getting into this book. The author seemed to use a lot of unnecessary descriptive and flowery language, particularly at the beginning of the book. It was distracting at times and I even had to go back and read some sentences a second time to get what the author was trying to say. The story line was a little slow at the beginning as well, but by the second half of the book it got better in both regards. I was interest in learning about the history of grave robbing though, so that part kept my attention. I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
This book was a little confusing at the start but it cleared up by the end of the story. The romance was a little predictable, but the story was good, and I would read another book by this author.
Fortunately, the plot doesn’t linger overly long on the more disturbing aspects of this historical American crime. Let’s be honest, the fact that Angie Dicken is able to create a compelling romance in a story of grave robbers is pretty impressive! Josephine is a complex character who vacillates between vulnerability and moments of confident strength. Her compassion and healing skills are a stark contrast to the callous hard-heartedness of the body-snatchers. Josephine’s journey to freedom and strength in faith is deliciously sweetened by her encounters with a chivalrous man of integrity. The Yellow Lantern was historically interesting, suspenseful, and surprisingly romantic (given the lingering subjects of graves, bodies, and death)! I definitely recommend this book and look forward to future stories from the author! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
From the first sentence of The Yellow Lantern you feel a darkness that encapsulates you, and the further you read the more you become cloaked in that darkness. The subject of death normally does that to you. This story so twisted that it's unimaginable that something similar happened once upon a time. I was left spellbound and wondering just how much of the advancements of medicine is attributed to grave robbing, a regular occurrence in the 1800's. I can only imagine... Though the ending is bright with promise it took me awhile to shake that dark, depressing feeling, proving just how captivating the story telling really is, immersing you in this seedy business. The depth of characterization is stunning and the setting, though dark, came alive for me, down to the smallest detail that grounded you in this incredibly unique world. The True Colors series continues to get better and better and is the perfect mix of historical fact and fiction. This was a dark read for sure, and the fact that grave robbing and murdering for bodies is another stain on our nation's history. I loved the "little light of mine" that was apparent throughout, and love that light truly does cast out all darkness, and even when you find yourself in the most hopeless place, remember that all hope is never really lost. Just have faith. *I have reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the Barbour Books through NetGalley. All opinions are completely honest, and my own.
This book grabbed me from the start when Josephine wakes up just in time to find out she was to be Dr. Chadwick's next corpse to experiment on in his lab. Fortunately, Josephine is able to strike a bargain with the evil doctor and save her life and hopefully her father's life as well. As part of the deal, Josephine must put on a new identity and pose as a young mill worker at Gloughton Mill in Massachusetts. The hope then is that the dangerous work conditions will soon produce a dead body. Josephine (now Josie) will pose as a late night mourner and provide a lantern signal to one of Dr. Chadwick's body snatchers that it is okay to come and dig up the fresh corpse. Although trying to be inconspicuous at the mill, Josie's medical/healing skills make her stand out to the other woman and to Braham Terrance, the mill's factory manager. Josie's new connection with Braham and his aunt make it very difficult for her to maintain her part of the doctor's sinister deal. When the women at the mill start to become seriously sick, Josie's healing skills are tested to the max. Will Josie be able to save the women and herself from the evil schemes of Dr. Chadwick? I found this book to be a little bit different than the first two books in the series because the main characters weren't completely sympathetic to me. I found myself wishing the author could have found a way to keep Josie and her father completely innocent and disconnected from helping with the body snatching operation. I had mixed feelings about another character's change of heart near the end of the book too. Josie was sure quick to let him off the hook for his crimes. It also bothered me that there were a lot of people involved in robbing bodies in this book with very little justice served. Despite my hang ups on this book, I wouldn't hesitate to read more books from this series. All three books of this series have been entertaining and have allowed me to learn some little known facts about American history. Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts expressed are my honest opinions of this book.
(rating: 3.5/5) This book was a decent read overall. The setting was interesting. The bigger side characters had personality. I liked the back-and-forth POV between Josephine (or as we know her through most of the book, Josie) and Braham. I was usually really happy when it switched back to Braham for a while, which tells me I connected with his character more than with Josie. I think that's because his troubles seemed a lot more real and understandable to me. But it's not that Josie doesn't have serious issues. I just think her storyline was convoluted enough that I was only vaguely aware of the danger or of her reasons for going along with the body snatching plot. Her father was in trouble with...the doctor and some creditors, but I don't know who they were, or if I'm even right about that. Alvin (Josie's "handler") was bad but sort of good (which isn't bad in itself), but was owed money, yet still chose to hold back the first body he snatched in the story? It wasn't until near the end that enough of this network of body snatchers was sorted out enough that I was at least able to appreciate the conclusion. This was probably my biggest problem throughout the book. I began to get frustrated with Josie's decision to help her father, whose decisions had been pretty terrible, even though it made her do some things she really didn't want to do. In some ways, I appreciated her loyalty, but it got to a point where it seemed like maybe he father would actually be better off (safer, if nothing else) in debtor's prison, or regular prison, or wherever his confusing problems might send him. For the first quarter of the book, at least, I was reminded strongly of NORTH AND SOUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell. It's set in a cotton mill, the male lead runs the cotton mill, and the female lead is not terribly happy about coming to the town. It's also set in a similar time period. I love NORTH AND SOUTH, so that may have helped draw me into the book at first, but it did veer off to become a vastly different story, and a good one in its own right. The other big downside, in my opinion, is that the body snatching was really not as big a part of the plot as it seemed like it should be. I mean, it haunted Josie throughout the book, and at the end, we can see an inter-connectedness that we didn't necessarily know was there sooner, but it was supposed to be a twist, I think, that these things were connected. So they didn't seem to play into the body snatching plot, except that it was predictable enough that I didn't really see much shock factor in the reveal. Or maybe it wasn't supposed, and in that case, it was just kind of bland. But in the end, she wasn't actually that involved in the plot, and I can't say more than that without spoiling things. Overall, I did enjoy the book. The book is listed as Christian, and it holds up well in that department. The romance was sweet and clean (just how I like it), and I would recommend this book for fans of Christian romance, though probably not for fans of crime novels. Thank you to Netgalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for providing me a copy of this book to review.
Have you ever heard of people robbing graves to conduct scientific experiments on the bodies? I never had until I read The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dickens. This True Crimes novel taught me a lot about this crime that actually did take place in history while also telling me a fictional story about a lady, Josephine who is forced into helping rob the graves. I also learned more about the mills through the fictional character Braham who supervised the mills in the story. As I read, I really felt bad for Josephine since she had to make some really hard decisions for herself and her family. I can’t even imagine stealing corpses. I didn’t like how creepy the book is, but I think the creepiness was caused by my overactive imagination and wouldn’t be a problem for most people. However, if you are really sensitive like me to things such as grave robbing and corpses, then you might want to skip this book. But, I’m still really glad I read it, creepy as it was, because I was able to learn about something I had never heard of before. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical mysteries and true crime stories. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I enjoyed The Yellow Lantern very much! I've never read a story about either the dead-body-snatchers of the 1800's or the ladies who worked in the cotton mills, so I felt like this book told two very interesting storylines...and did it well. I also enjoyed the romantic chemistry between Josie and Braham and how their story developed. It's well written and engaging. This is a first by Angie Dicken for me and I look forward to reading more! I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. A positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.
The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken is part of the True Colors series. It is fiction based on strange but true history. Josephine is forced to spy for grave robbers. Her father has made some bad decisions which forced her to work for a doctor. The doctor ends up being a little bit crazy. He steal bodies to do medial research on them. They force Josephine to work in a manufacturing plant to let them know when someone dies. There have been several accidents at the plant. Barham is the manager of the plant and has his own backstory. He has seen terrible things on a plantation that had slaves. His father died and he is raised by his uncle. His cousin hates him. Barham and Josephine befriend each other. This was not my favorite of the series. But well worth the read when you realize these are based off true stories that you have not heard about in history. Violence - stealing dead bodies for research, a couple manufacturing accidents Sexual content - kissing I received this book from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. You can see my full review at More Than a Review dot com where I rate the level of sex, violence, language and drug/alcohol use in books.
Sometimes truth IS much stranger than fiction... To be perfectly honest, I picked up The Yellow Lantern because it was part of the True Colors series and I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I hadn't even read the back cover blurb on my copy when I started reading. Boy, was I in for a shock right off the bat. Seriously! Right there on the first page the heroine wakes up after having been presumed dead and actually buried! Trust me, Angie Dicken knows how to hook her readers right from the start and keep them good and hooked. I thought it a bit ironic that this book is about grave robbers and just a few days ago I was watching a short youtube biography/documentary about two real people convicted of just that offense. Weird, right? Anyway, The Yellow Lantern is an excellent addition to the True Colors series and I enjoyed it very much. It's deliciously dark and morbid in places. Manipulation, fear, betrayal, greed, and murder all have their places. But there is also a strong thread of hope, through faith,through the love in friendship and the love in romance. Angie Dicken has nicely packaged all of these threads in an entertaining and riveting story with roots in real events from history. Definitely a book that I would recommend... (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
The third installment in the series, True Colors : Historical Stories of American Crime is one of shock and dismay. I have heard talk about movies where body snatchers were involved, but I had no idea that this practice was true until I read this story. Josephine is the focus of this story where she is forced to be part of a horrible plot to steal dead bodies. My heart broke as she felt she had no choice but to agree to help. She wanted to free her father from people who threatened to take everything from him. She felt like she had no choice even though it was against everything she believed in. The story does raise the question of how far you are willing to go in order to save a loved one. Josephine was spared from death but I think she died a little inside each time she had to do the unthinkable. I did enjoy her friendship with Braham. His obvious attraction to Josephine is perhaps what helped her to finally realize she could not carry out any more body snatching. The author provides a great history lesson about cotton mills during this time period. Women working in conditions that were dangerous as machines broke down seemed to be an everyday occurrence. There was little pay for these women and accidents seemed to happen more frequently. It was a perfect breeding ground for death and an opportunity for body snatchers to meet their needs. I loved trying to figure out who was the mastermind behind this unthinkable plot to steal dead bodies. It was interesting to learn that doctors used these bodies to do medical research on. Another intriguing part of the story was the use of mixing herbs to help heal the sick during this time. There are so many plants and herbs today that have helped the medical field and to read its use during the early 1820’s was inspiring. The story is indeed hard to grasp at times but the author does a great job of giving readers questions to ask themselves. Did Josie trust God enough to help her? Why would a father put his daughter in such danger? “The love of money is the root of all evil,” as the scripture says is very relevant in this story. Money was at the center of this crime and it devoured many people who gave into greed. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion
The Yellow Lantern I love reading historical books. Even though they are fiction they are based on something that is true. I did learn a part of history by reading this book. I had not heard of body snatchers. I loved Josie, how she knew about herbs. She was a very caring person. She loved to use her knowledge to help people. I am loving this series. Fiction based on strange but true history. I will look forward to reading more books in the series. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. This review is my own opinion.
I found The Yellow Lantern really intriguing. I never knew body stealing was so rampant & profitable. The author did a wonderful job giving the history of what was going on as well as providing mystery within the story line. I love this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
This is the third book in the True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime series...books by different author that focus on various historical crimes with a fictional twist. The books are all unique to each other and can be read out of order. I've read the first 2 books in the series as well, and this one was my favorite so far. This story takes place in 1824 and focuses on grave digging for the purpose of acquiring wealth as well as to experiment on bodies for medical purposes. The main character, Josie, finds herself in a very difficult predicament of being forced to assist a gravedigger in order to keep her father safe. Josie was a very endearing character and I appreciated that though she was sweet and kind, she was also assertive. One issue I sometimes have in Christian Fiction is the presence of romances that feel forced. This book had a romance but it felt more genuine and wasn't "instalove" that is often the case in Christian crime stories. The author did an excellent job at setting the scene of this book. I truly felt like I was alongside the characters in 1824. There is a scene that is not very detailed but did make my stomach turn a bit (in regards to grave digging). I also enjoyed the setting of the cotton mill...seeing the lives of the women who worked in the factories was interesting. Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I highly recommend to fans of crime stories. I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What a fun, ghastly story Angie Dicken writes in The Yellow Lantern. Infusing just the right amounts of romance, horror, intrigue, and family rivalry, Dicken had me swiping the pages as fast as I could. We think nothing of medical colleges using cadavers in our day, but in the 19th century, doctors realized the need for examining dead corpses for research but didn’t have the access to them. « Resurrection men » had ghastly jobs of providing just-buried corpses, much like this book details. Often, the whole trade was done underground and involved dirty money, as people, of course, wanted their dearly departed to rest in peace. I loved that the characters were so three dimensional. Some I couldn’t figure out which side of the good guy/ bad guy line I wanted to put them on. There were even a few points where I felt sorry for the mean son, Gerald, as Braham is able to see him through eyes other than his own, and actually, understand why Gerald hates him. I think anyone who has ever had a nightmare will love this book of a nightmare come to life, with Josephine struggling so hard to break free of her living reality! Great wording: «Uncle Bates’ body emptied of life.» What a mental image of the spirit slowly leaking away! This quote had me thinking: «She focused on the path ahead, begging for God’s protection despite the unholy predicament.» How often we go our own way, then beg God to release us from the consequences! A note about the facts that were instilled into the story is helpfully included at the end. While part of the True Crimes series, each book stands on its own merit. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. This does not affect my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.
My Thoughts on The Yellow Lantern: Such a gripping story. I could never have come up with this storyline and really I’m not sure I would have wanted to. But I could not put this book down. It was so so good! As a nurse, I know that even now we study cadavers for what they can offer the medical community. But I can’t imagine going and stealing a body from a freshly dug grave. Just the thought makes me shudder. But to have died, been buried, and dug up and then still be alive? Oh my goodness! Josie is a sweet spirit who really just wants to heal. She is thrust into other aspects of healing though that she hadn’t counted on. Why is her father now making her take on body snatching to her list of accomplishments? And why can’t she just go back to being herself? I enjoyed getting to know Josie. Her character is multi-faceted and I loved getting to know each bit of her. The story is brilliant. Who can really guess who the head body snatcher is? I mean this was a pretty good one! It took me a bit to put all the pieces together but it was very much worth it. Josie or Josephine. No matter what she’s called she is still the same person within. She wants to heal and to help. But can she get away from the body snatchers and the Dr? Or is the true danger only beginning? Braham seems to be a wonderful character. He also has many layers and facets that I really would love more time to delve into. I’m sure a book on his early life could be written and I’d read it! He’s very conscientious about the mill that he has been left to manage after his mentor passes away. But can he keep his position amid the jealousy of his mentor’s son? Can Josie and Braham have any chance of a relationship together besides boss and hire? Will Braham trust Josie when the truth comes out? Will the truth set them all free or merely hasten their death? You’re going to love getting to know all of the characters in this book. The author is wonderful and knows how to layout a spellbinding story. Trust me when I say you will not want to put this book down. This entire series is so much more than I ever imagined. True crime stories brought to life as fiction. I cannot wait to see what comes next for this series! I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Celebrate Lit. All views expressed are only my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.
This author really knows how to get a reader's attention! Without sharing any spoilers, I will say that the opening scene was really, really weird! And totally not the kind of thing that I am used to reading. Once the book got going, it normalled out for me, and became very readable. But, being that it was about crime, there were plenty of other scenes that creeped me out and were quite exciting, in an icky sort of way. All this to say that the author did a good job of giving me a story that I could read, but certainly made a point about the heinousness of the crime. The darkness of the criminal activity was pervasive throughout the novel, but Josie and Braham's characters were points of light. Josie used her knowledge of herbal remedies to heal the sick, and Braham was a wonderful factory manager who cared for the well-being of his workers more than profits. The other characters were well-written, and sometimes it was difficult to know who was good and who was bad, until the end. Many readers will consider the crime scenes trivial, compared to other books they have read. Other readers (like me) may be a little more squeamish. This book is an interesting read, and I recommend it, especially for those who like historical romance with some criminal activity thrown in. I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher, Barbour, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
I am a huge fan of this author and her work. She always does careful research to ensure that her stories are as accurate as possible. I have read about mill girls in the past but this put a whole new spin on it. I have never read about grave robbers. However, I was intrugied when I read the story summary. Josephine Clay, has been a doctor's assistant for a long time - so she was surprised to awake on the table - about to become medical research. She is able to strike a deal, and she ultimately becomes the look out for grave robbers. This book is so well researched. I felt like I learned so much while I was reading. The author has written amazing characters that feel like they are out of a page of a history textbook. Her storyline is a page turner. You will want to keep on reading. If you like based on true history stories, this book is for you. I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program. All thoughts are my own.
Imagine waking up on the table of a doctor who plans on using your body for research. This is exactly what happens to Jessica Clayton. I can only imagine the terror she must have felt. When a person’s life is spared, a life must be taken in that person’s place. Jessica Clayton becomes Jessica Clay and works at a distant cotton mill for the purpose of acquiring new corpses for the doctor to experiment on in exchange for her life being spared. The drama in this story kept my attention. I felt the characters were well-developed. however, I wanted Jessica to escape the horrible circumstances of her life. Moreover, I wanted Braham Taylor and Jessica to find a way to be together. I highly recommend this book. Check it out for yourself. I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
The Yellow Lantern by Author Angie Dickens is Book 3 in the True Colors, Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime Series. Each book in this series is based on a true historical crime. This one is extremely haunting and I find myself still thinking about it. There was much to consider in this Christian fiction. My interest was immediately piqued and held throughout the book. There were many twists, turns, and surprises that made this book a page turner. It was well planned and well written. This was the story of Josephine (Josie) Clayton set in 1824 Massachusetts. It is a gritty tale of grave robbers but much more. Josie loves healing and using medicinal herbs and plants. She works at a cotton mill and helps out the girls there. I learned a lot about the early cotton mill as well as thoughts, actions, and customs of early 1800’s. The author has done her research well and readers are rewarded. Descriptions are vivid and on point. The characters are believable but not all relatable. A few were detestable. Morals had vanished in some but not all. Inspiration is delicately woven throughout this scary story. There is romance, intrigue, crime, mystery, grief, drama, suspense and many life lessons. This book was made even better knowing it was based on a true story. It was hard to comprehend the lengths some people went to when they wanted something. I felt sorry for those being blackmailed. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy true historical crimes and gothic novels. It is not what I normally read, but the author did a very good job. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit but these are my honest thoughts.
I am a huge fan of the true colors series. It is just fascinating to read about these historical crime stories. Josie is caught up in something she can't prevent or understand. But don't worry if you think this is just a mystery - oh no, there is plenty of romance as she meets up with Braham and they find a way out of trouble together. "I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."
Our story opened with a bang! A spooky and nightmarish beginning! The details are astounding! Bribery, along with hatred, contempt and dishonesty abound. Is murder afoot? Who can be trusted? Josephine Clayton opened her eyes to nothing but silence. She tried to focus her vision. Then she happened to glare into a face she thought she could trust and wondered where she was. What is about to happen? Angie Dicken has weaved together a masterpiece that will take you into a world you will not believe. A world with some shady characters, and some amazing characters that will go to extremes to help others. As I followed these characters from page to page, and chapter to chapter, my heart went out to Josie. Is she innocent of any wrong-doing? Could she be to blame? Or is someone else the instigator of this foul scheme? As each predicament opened up a little more suspense, I was dragged through the story inch by inch as a mystery unfolded. THE YELLOW LANTERN was a well deserved title for this book. If you read a book this year, this is one to pick up and let it lead you through an intriguing part of this country's history that some of you probably did not know about. I know I didn't. I loved this story! This is one well deserved five star read you won't soon forget. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
The Yellow Lantern: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by Angie Dicken is a enlightening read. Grave diggers and unethical doctors sometimes did everything they could do to collect a body for scientific experiments. In 1824 when Josephine was thought to be dead and then the doctor discovered she was still alive, he wanted to complete the process of death. But she begs to be spared and makes a deal with him. So she moves to another area allowing the people in her town to believe her dead. She searches for newly dead to so the grave diggers can collect them. Her medical experience comes out in the open when she assists injured workers at the mill she is working at in order to disguise she purpose there. She meets the new manager Braham Taylor and they fall in love. When his loved one is the next grave to be robbed, Josephine has to decide whether to let it happen or to suffer the consequences of refusing to help. An interesting story that is full of suspense and includes events from the past. A great read. I received this e-book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own.
I had a hard time getting into this book, the beginning was so realistic, and scary, I can’t even imagine, but that being said I didn’t know where we were going with the story, but quickly found out! There is greed here, and surprises happen right up until the last page is turned, keep turning those pages. Sadly, this story is based on true crimes, and when you think of this actually happening, and when the need is not met, well, just add a few! When I was reading this story, I felt I was in old Europe, but no this is 1820’s Massachusetts! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Barbour, and was not required to give a positive review.
The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken is the third novel in the True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime series. I thought it would be an interesting, different type of read since it was about grave robbing. I eagerly began the book but honestly could not get into it. It just seemed to drag and while it could have been an exciting story, I found it boring and plodding. I simply could not get into the story and never really connected with any of the characters. I couldn't understand what exactly Josie's father had done or why he needed to pay his debt with dead bodies, or the connection between Braham and Audra, and Daisy and Minnie. Josie seemed whiny and was always worrying about things, she seemed flighty and I really didn't care for her character. I solved the mystery before the ending wrapped up just as I thought it would. While not an exciting, mysterious read, this novel is a good choice when wanting something to read a little less draining on the brain. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.