Review: The Gods of Gotham
Timothy Wilde is a bartender in New York, saving money so he can win the heart of Mercy Underhill. A fire sweeps through Manhattan destroying his savings and leaving his face disfigured. Without a job or a home, he reluctantly accepts a job his brother, Val, has arranged for him in the newly formed New York City Police Department.
While making his rounds as a “copper star” one evening, Timothy comes a across a petrified young girl who is covered with blood. The girl is panic stricken and whispers to him that “they’ll tear him to pieces.” That gets Timothy’s attention, but the girl turns out to be unreliable so Timothy’s not sure what to believe. He does a little investigating and uncovers something horrifying.
I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but The Gods of Gotham, by Lyndsay Faye, has gotten so many raves reviews that I had to give it a try. I’m rather sad to say that, once again, I’m not in agreement with the majority on this one. I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t love it the way most people have. I have a feeling it’s me, though, so if you enjoy historical fiction at all, you should give this book a try.
I found the details of New York in 1845 fascinating and enjoyed reading about the founding of the police department. I even found Timothy to be a sympathetic character. My problem with the book was the flash jargon that was used throughout the story. Flash was a language used by the criminal element at the time and a little of it would have been fine but, after a while, the use of it pulled me out of the story. Faye does provide a glossary of flash terms at the beginning of the book but not all the terms that are used are included.
I’m sure Faye did a lot of research before she wrote this book because it felt historically accurate. It’s rich in detail and covers an interesting period of history. I liked The Gods of Gotham, but didn’t love it, but don’t go by me since I’m in the vast minority.
Challenges: Amy Einhorn Challenge