An engaging new mystery set in Regency England... The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson (Review) #BHPFiction #BarristerandtheLetter #HistoricalMystery #InspirationalFiction #DetectiveFiction #ToddMJohnson #LegalThiller @ToddMJohnson_ @bethany_house

Welcome to my tour stop! Find my review of this new release below...

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque
By Todd M. Johnson
Historical Mystery, Suspense, Inspirational Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 416 Pages
August 3, 2021 by Bethany House Publishers


As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he's a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king's regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter—-the sole proof his actions were legal—has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady's distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he'd imagined.

Advance Praise

“Johnson debuts with a tense story of powerful interests teaming up to thwart a legal challenge in Georgian-era England…Johnson steeps his story in legal maneuvering, layers of intrigue, midnight chases, and even a hint of romance. While faith elements are subtle, this enthralling novel will appeal to fans of both legal thrillers and historical inspirationals.”— Publishers Weekly

“… a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This richly historical and lively paced story has all the makings of a modern classic.”— Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City

“At once atmospheric and gripping, Johnson's latest is a luminous and refreshing new offering in inspirational historical fiction.”— Rachel McMillan, bestselling author of The London Restoration, and The Mozart Code

“A fascinating glimpse into a Regency London readers seldom see.”— Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of Edwardian fiction

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE is a story of a fraudulent charge of a ship captain and those who take up his case, facing danger and deception as they try to find the truth. Readers will find much to enjoy in this book with an intriguing plot, facets of court and law in Regency England, engaging characters and an overall feel of suspense as the story builds to its end. 

This is the first book I've read from this author, but after reading this one, I definitely will be checking out his future books. The story started a bit slow for me while I was figuring out what was going on and getting to know the characters (there are quite a few POVs), but once I did, it moved at a good pace. The mystery and suspense were well done, with the danger growing as the book went on. I found the aspects of trying a case in Regency England to be quite interesting, as well as the leg work to investigate the case (including a part where Runners were used). I thought the use of penny novels quite brilliant as well as the use of newspapers to slander characters by the opposing side. I also really liked these characters. They were all complex with their own voices and personalities, making it easy to differentiate one from another. They were quite likable and I fully got behind cheering them on. I could have easily read this book in one sitting (sleep got in the way) as by the time I was several chapters in, I felt completely engrossed. There was a touch of romance, but it didn't overtake the story. It was more of an enhancement of it and a side note, but one that added some sweetness. The religious element was light without a prominent message, weaved through the story well and realistic to the time period, making this ideal for general fiction readers as well as inspirational readers.

The issues I had with the book were fairly minor. I would have liked a bit more flow between POV switches and to have a better handle on the characters and what was going on before they occurred. It took me a bit to figure everyone out and to adjust to the switches in perspective, especially as there were a lot of them. The prologue also felt a bit unnecessary or maybe the back story just needed to be worked in differently. It felt a bit jarring to then jump 20 years and figure out exactly who the man was from the prologue and how it all related (it only pertained to a character in the story, but not really the legal case or focus of it). I would have loved an author's note for what was factual. I know the story was not, but were there any such cases or anything like this that were tried in court at the time? Did Brummell really get sent off and were official documents really stolen? The author could have enriched the story for me if I could have read a summary of some of his research.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was definitely an intriguing and engrossing read. Likable characters, an engaging plot and an interesting setting made for a highly enjoyable story. Definitely recommended!

Content: Some violence (including murder) but nothing overly descriptive - would consider this clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through the tour host, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Todd M. Johnson is the author of three legal thrillers: The Deposit Slip (2012), Critical Reaction (2013), and Fatal Trust (2017), and The Barrister and the Letter of Marque (2021), his first foray into historical mystery. He has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.

Tour Schedule

Check out these tour stops who will be sharing interviews, spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set in London, England...

Aug 02 The Readathon (Review)
Aug 02 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
Aug 02 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
Aug 03 Life of Literature (Review)
Aug 03 Captivated Reading (Spotlight)
Aug 04 Laura's Reviews (Review)
Aug 04 The Green Mockingbird (Review)
Aug 05 My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)
Aug 05 Reading is My Superpower (Review)
Aug 06 Among the Reads (Excerpt)
Aug 06 The Blue Stocking (Review)
Aug 07 Gwendalyn's Books (Review)
Aug 07 Reading with Emily (Review)
Aug 08 Storeybook Reviews (Spotlight)
Aug 08 Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)
Aug 09 Heidi Reads (Excerpt)
Aug 09 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
Aug 10 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Spotlight)
Aug 10 Wishful Endings (Review)
Aug 10 My Bookish Bliss (Review)
Aug 11 By the Book (Interview)
Aug 11 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
Aug 12 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Review)
Aug 12 A Darn Good Read (Review)
Aug 13 Fire & Ice (Review)
Aug 14 The Lit Bitch (Spotlight)
Aug 14 The Book Diva Reads (Spotlight)
Aug 15 Vesper's Place (Review)

Have you read this one or will you be? Have you read any other books where there was a case tried in court during this time period?

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