The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

the-secrets-of-wishtide-by-kate-waundersThe Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders
Series: Laetitia Rodd Mystery #1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: 1850-1851 England
Published by Bloomsbury USA
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: September 13)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
352 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Mrs. Laetitia Rodd, aged fifty-two, is the widow of an archdeacon. Living in Hampstead with her confidante and landlady, Mrs. Benson, who once let rooms to John Keats, Laetitia makes her living as a highly discreet private investigator.

Her brother, Frederick Tyson, is a criminal barrister living in the neighboring village of Highgate with his wife and ten children. Frederick finds the cases, and Laetitia solves them using her arch intelligence, her iron discretion, and her immaculate cover as an unsuspecting widow. When Frederick brings to her attention a case involving the son of the well-respected, highly connected Sir James Calderstone, Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire to take up a position as the family’s new governess—quickly making herself indispensable.

But the seemingly simple case—looking into young Charles Calderstone’s “inappropriate” love interest—soon takes a rather unpleasant turn. And as the family’s secrets begin to unfold, Laetitia discovers the Calderstones have more to hide than most.

Initial impressions

  • I really enjoyed this book. It’s similar to a number of historical mysteries taking place in Victorian England, but has enough freshness to create a fun, memorable mystery.


  • I like that Laetitia (Letty) is an older protagonist (52 years old) than most female protagonists in books.
  • The relationship between Letty and her brother is a nice one. And the antagonism between Laetitia and her sister-in-law is not unexpected. I also think that Laetitia and her brother working together makes sense. I also like the image of Letty’s brother Frederick–a renowned criminal barrister–at home with his wife and ten children!
  • Mary Bentley–Letty’s landlady–is a down-to-earth character and has become Letty’s friend as well as helping with Letty’s investigations.
  • I like that this isn’t the first investigation Letty has done for her brother. This provides more background for the book.
  • The book doesn’t pull any punches.
  • The book has a satisfying mystery.
  • The Calderstone family is interesting and it’s clear to Letty when she becomes a governess to the family that they have lots of secrets. I didn’t figure out all that was happening and was surprised several times during the book.
  • I like the little touches the author adds: that John Keats once lived in the house where Laetitia lives now, for example.
  • The way Laetitia remembers her husband is so nice to read about. They truly loved each other.


  • By the end of the book there are many threads to the story. That might bother some readers. It didn’t keep me from enjoying the characters, story and mystery, however.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  I’m glad this is the first book in a new series. I look forward to the next book!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info (from Goodreads)

  • Kate Saunders (born 1960) is an English author, actress, and journalist. The daughter of the early public relations advocate Basil Saunders and his journalist wife Betty (née Smith), Saunders has worked for newspapers and magazines in the UK, including The Sunday Times, Sunday Express, Daily Telegraph, She, and Cosmopolitan.
  • She has also been a regular contributor to radio and television, with appearances on the Radio 4 programs Woman’s Hour, Start the Week, and Kaleidoscope. She was, with Sandi Toksvig, a guest on the first episode of the long-running news quiz program Have I Got News For You.
  • Saunders has also written multiple books for children and for adults.

Reading Challenges








Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

One thought on “The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders”

  1. This sounds like one I might enjoy – I really like murder mysteries, but don’t much appreciate the really gory turn a lot of them have taken more recently, but also find a lot of the cosy mysteries I’ve read rather cliched and given, I’m not a romance fan, far too many are merely a vehicle for a boy-meets-girl scenario. This one sounds quite different however:). Many thanks for sharing.


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