Blindspot: By a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise ~ Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore

When Scottish exile, Stewart Jamison, finds himself in pre-Revolutionary War Boston, he is full of talent but strapped for cash. A smooth talking portrait painter,  Jamison manages to set himself up in business but he needs an apprentice. Enter Francis Weston, or as the reader knows him/her, Fanny Easton. Weston/Easton is a daughter of a local merchant and judge, who flees her father’s family when he tries to force her to marry her painting teacher. Fanny has done many unsavory things to survive on her own and  finds her apprenticeship to Jamison as not only a ticket out of the workhouse she’s been at for the last two years, but as a way to fulfill her dreams of becoming a painter. She doesn’t anticipate the effect she will have on her master, who finds her irresistible even disguised as a young man. Soon, the two find themselves caught up in the political upheaval in Boston and scurrying to solve the murder of a prominent revolutionary leader and abolitionist.

For me this book was filled with unexpected joys. I was expecting a somewhat more dry drama, but history professors, Kamensky and Lepore, did a great job of creating two memorable main characters. One can’t help but fall in love with Stewart Jamison and his Scottish brogue as he addresses the reader directly. Fanny’s story unfolds a little more circumspectly, first through letters to a long-lost friend and then in her diary. It is wonderful to watch their stories unfold as they hide and reveal secrets. The relationship between the two took me off guard, because it was far more central to the plot of the story than I had imagined and rather more steamy! I also enjoyed the mystery and Jamison’s friend Ignatius Alexander makes  a wonderful 18th century Sherlock Holmes.

Audio note: The narrators  are great, personally I’m a sucker for accents, but I think it adds to the story. One of the characters is portrayed with a pseudo-Kennedy accent, which was a little off-putting, but overall I thought it was very well done. Blindspot is available for download on Overdrive.

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