My Mistress’ Eyes Are Raven Black by Terry Roberts

“[An] impressive historical thriller.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Ellis Island, 1920.

New York Harbor’s immigration and public health authorities are slowly recovering from the war years when a young, pregnant Irish woman disappears from the Isolation Hospital on Ellis Island.

Stephen Robbins, a specialist in finding missing persons, is assigned the case. Yet when he arrives at the isolation hospital, he discovers an inexplicable string of deaths and disappearances among immigrant patients…and a staff that seems to be hiding a chilling secret. Stephen finds an ally in Lucy Paul, an undercover nurse who is also investigating the mysterious incidents. Together, they begin to unearth a horrifying conspiracy masked beneath the hospital’s charitable exterior. As Stephen and Lucy get closer to the truth and each other, they are swept directly into the danger haunting Ellis Island and become the next targets.

Amidst growing racial tensions in the wake of World War I, My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black explores the disturbing lengths to which people will go to protect racial purity and condemn those they fear.

I received a digital copy of this novel this summer and really enjoyed it. While the historical mystery was well-plotted, I was captivated by the portrayal of Ellis Island of the early 20th century and what the experience of immigrating was like. When the protagonist uncovers a horrific plot, I was reminded of how, even though it is 100 years later in time, we have many people who share the same beliefs today.

While this is a historical mystery, it is not “cozy” and it does have violence and sex in it (just an FYI).

Here’s a bit on the author, who was new to me:

Terry Roberts is the author of three celebrated novels: A Short Time to Stay Here (winner of the Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction); That Bright Land (winner of the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award, the James Still Award for Writing About the Appalachian South and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction); and most recently, The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival (a finalist for the 2019 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction).

Roberts is a lifelong teacher and educational reformer as well as an award-winning novelist. He is a native of the mountains of Western North Carolina—born and bred. His ancestors include six generations of mountain farmers, as well as the bootleggers and preachers who appear in his novels. He was raised close by his grandmother, Belva Anderson Roberts, who was born in 1888 and passed down to him the magic of the past along with the grit and humor of mountain storytelling. Currently, Roberts is the Director of the National Paideia Center and lives in Asheville, North Carolina  with his wife, Lynn.

My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black

Terry Roberts | July 27, 2021 | Turner Publishing

Hardcover ISBN: 9781684426959

Paperback ISBN: 9781684426942

Ebook ISBN: 9781684426966

FICTION / Historical

FICTION / Mystery

Well-written and an engaging read! Thanks for my copy!

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