Amnesty is a smart mix of family drama and political prowess, detailing a world where past wars are still present in the dilapidated halls of bygone mansions. The storytelling feels old school in the best way, reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh and the early twentieth century novel. It’s a character piece at its heart, showing us snippets of the tangled past that has led to the events of this third book in the series. It’s intriguing through and through, presenting a sharp narrative amidst a compelling setting.
I’ll admit to this being my first foray into the Amberlough series. I like to get into the middle of a beloved series from time to time – it often shows how talented authors are at writing books that both accent those before and standalone as strong works. From the start, I was intrigued by the pasts swirling around this small group of characters. There’s a sense of abounding sadness at the lost state of things, harkening to brighter days when two characters were lovers, and two a part of a wealthy, respectable family. With time and war, those days are long in the past and we are met with the remains.
As a new reader, it’s fascinating to see what this world has done to these characters. We have the somewhat shady businessman profiting from war aid. It’s clear he’s aged significantly, though he remains pretty similar to his always profiting self. We have his past lover, a former spy whose longtime disappearance was assumed to be an untimely death. With his return, we catch glimpses of the horror of war and the underlying hatred for his large part in past events. We also have a woman embedded in the political scene, the only sister of the returned spy, who desperately wants to restore her family name. It’s all written expertly, with so much buried within the conversations. It makes me wish I had followed this series from the start.
I’m amazed at Connelly’s ability as a writer. Everything is interesting, from the most basic social interaction to political intrigue and business dealings. There’s never a dull moment as you flow along with the narrative.
Overall, I very much enjoyed Amnesty. It has a unique mix of intrigue and everyday life, balancing a carefully crafted character piece with the explosive events of the past two novels. It’s a compelling read for new and seasoned fans alike.
By Lara Elena Donnelly
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.