Review: These Lost & Broken Things, by Helen Fields

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How dangerous is a woman with nothing left to lose?

The year is 1905. London is a playground for the rich and a death trap for the poor. When Sofia Logan’s husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her penniless with two young children, she knows she will do anything to keep them from the workhouse. But can she bring herself to murder? Even if she has done it before…

Emmet Vinsant, wealthy industrialist, offers Sofia a job in one of his gaming houses. He knows more about Sofia’s past than he has revealed. Brought up as part of a travelling fair, she’s an expert at counting cards and spotting cheats, and Vinsant puts her talents to good use. His demands on her grow until she finds herself with blood on her hands.

Set against the backdrop of the Suffragette protests, with industry changing the face of the city but disease still rampant, and poverty the greatest threat of all, every decision you make is life or death. Either yours or someone else’s. Read best-selling crime writer Helen Fields’ first explosive historical thriller.


My Review

Thanks to Kelly at Love Books Tours, and the author/publisher for my copy of this book.


Sofia Logan killed her first man in 1892 at the age of 12. By 1907, she’d killed 9 men. Between these two points in time she is sent away from her Romani family to a farm, moved to London, married footman Tom Logan, had two children, become a widow, worked in a gambling house for Tom’s employer and then become a murderer for the same man. There’s lots of love, angst and a gambling addiction in there too. It does end very happily though, despite the odds.


The characters and dialogue. The plot. The descriptions of London. The angst and tension. I, just, it was fab. There were bits I struggled with, but that was because sexual assault upsets me. I found Sofia’s journey from reluctant killer to avenger of wronged women exciting and I couldn’t stop reading.

As she begins to understand herself and the reader learns about her past in the flashbacks to her childhood, the complex nature of Sofia becomes very clear. Here is a person forced to commit a terrible act as a child, suffers from trauma, who has an addictive nature, that has been manipulated and controlled by a series of bullies, in a society which doesn’t value her because she’s a woman, because she’s poor and because she’s Romani. Her response is to turn her feelings of anger and revenge outward and to become a killer.

And she does it so well.

But she can’t accept that and tries to walk away. Which destroys her relationship with her children and friends as she goes a little bit mad with frustration.

Once she accepts herself, and is guided into the right channels at the end of the novel, her ability to function as ‘normal’ returns, even if she does murder the odd wife killer.

It’s the journey from victim to avenger that is fascinating. Sofia is self-aware enough to know that her behaviour is aberrant and tries to fight it. It’s only when she frees herself from the idea that she needs someone to direct her life that she is able to take control and leash her aberrant actions. I really found the writing of Sofia’s struggles gripping. It’s what kept me turning the page, how would she resolve her conflict, how would she defeat her employer, would she see her children again? I loved that the book kept me guessing and wanting to know what happens next.


Nothing much I can think of.


Fab historical thriller, with an unlikely hero/villain.


An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. Her next book, the sixth in the series, ‘Perfect Kill’ is due out on 6 February 2020. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’. Her previous audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her first historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things’ comes out in May 2020. A further standalone thriller published by HarperColllins will come soon. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children. Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information or at

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