It's called "The Black Book of Secrets" by F. E. Higgins
Dawn's Recommendation: 4 out of 5 Stars
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A boy arrives at a remote village in the dead of night. His name is Ludlow Fitch, and he is running from a most terrible past. In this village is the life he has dreamed of: a safe place to live and a job, as the assistant to a mysterious pawnbroker who buys people’s deepest, darkest secrets. Ludlow transcribes the confessions in an ancient leather-bound tome: the Black Book of Secrets. He yearns to trust his mentor, who refuses to disclose any information on his past experiences or future intentions. But what the pawnbroker does not know is, in a town brimming with secrets, the most troubling may be held by his new apprentice. (from Amazon)
What I liked – I thought the book might be a little dark, but I was pleasantly surprised to find goodness in the Secret Pawnbroker. He helped people in a strange way, unburdening them and helping them financially. I liked his assistant, Ludlow Fitch who escaped from abusive parents, all of the townspeople, quirks and all, and Saluki, the tree frog. The bad guy, Jeremiah Rachet, was great too. A great little book! A nice bonus at the back of the book included real-life blurbs that told of life back then in England (1800’s) like coffins with air tubes and bells in case you were buried alive.
What I didn’t like – The ending (when they travel to a cave) was far-fetched and seemed “stuck on”, almost like a different story. The book could have ended after climax and story of town/townspeople’s problems were resolved. Even so, I would still recommend this book! Up until that point, it was great and the resolution for the town/townspeople was very satisfying.
I was excited to see there are more books in the series: The Bone Magician, The Eyeball Collector, The Lunatic’s Curse. I am looking forward to reading them! F. E. Higgins also has a new book called The Phenomenals (new series). Here’s the author’s website: