Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd Robinson – Review.

About The Book

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark. 

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend’s investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.

And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Blood and Sugar was a fascinating book to read but also a harsh reminder of slavery in England during the 1800s. It’s difficult to think that people were treated this way, the violence, the control, even the way they were spoken about was shocking. That they weren’t human and their lives didn’t matter. 

But some of the people in this group don’t think the same way. The main character Harry is determined to find out why his friend was tortured and killed. And also find out what happened to so many slaves. 

Whilst I liked Harry’s character and his refusal to stop asking questions the outstanding part of the novel was the description of the various areas in Deptford and its inhabitants. I could see and almost smell and feel certain areas. The conditions that some had to live in. The way that the slaves were abused by their  ‘owners’ was horrific. And the fact that it was ignored by the ones with power. 

I have a couple of favourite characters, both women. These are Jamaica Mary, because she made me smile and Cinnamon who did the opposite and made me cry. Her story made my blood run cold. 

I hadn’t given much thought to slavery in England but I read part of this novel in another slave port, Liverpool. I had attended an exhibition concerning slavery there a few years ago. This novel made me remember that, had me looking at certain areas in a different way and made me so thankful for abolition.