Mediaeval London, a city filled with squalor, sadness and danger. One girl is dead, another running for her life and a third vanished. No one seems bothered about what happened to them until Alice Wescott gets involved.
Emily Organ creates a gripping thriller set against a backdrop of fears about plague, women in fear of their fate being decided by men and a menacing figure stealing girls from under their friends and families noses. I was pulled straight into the story with the escape of a terrified girl being chased by faceless men, in fear of her life. The pace rarely drops and I found The Runaway Girl to be a real page turner. There were so many cliff hanger moments that it almost became impossible to put it down!
I loved the characters - Alice, the strong, feisty protagonist; Elizabeth, stronger than she imagined yet vulnerable too; Millicent, a cross between a witch and a midwife (she was my favourite character).
There are parallels between the abduction of girls in this novel and the trafficking of women in present times but I enjoyed the story as a piece of historical fiction. Details such as the use of a clay cover to keep embers burning in a fire all night helped to make the world of Alice and Elizabeth come to life. The descriptions of costume and setting added to the richness of the story. I found myself getting lost in the mediaeval world Emily conjured up on every page.
The ending left the possibility of a sequel and I for one would be thrilled to read more about the lives of these fascinating women. As it is I'll have to settle for reading some more of Emily's writing until I can immerse myself in her wonderful take on mediaeval London.