Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Barrister And The Letter Of Marque By Todd M. Johnson

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque
by Todd M. Johnson
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764212369

I love book reviews that give me the opportunity to be introduced to a new-to-me author. That's what happened with The Barrister and the Letter of Marque. Bethany House sent me the book for review.


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 Padgetreturns 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.

My Review:

The Regency era is one of my favorites. It's so easy to imagine the time and setting during these years in England. The Barrister and the Letter of Marque was a different read than the usual Regency I read. I don't know if that's because the author is male? Well, I can tell you, I'll be reading more of his books now that I've finished this one.

While the book is just over 400 pages, it doesn't feel that way. It's one of those reads that pulls you into the story and you get immersed in it. I even shared on Instagram that the prologue totally hooked me when I started reading it.

I know this might be crazy to say, but I really liked that romance wasn't the thread of this story. There's the slightest hint and it doesn't come until way later in the book, and more so towards the end. I liked that it focused on the mystery surrounding the ship, its crew, and those wanting to cause problems. That, and Williams ragtag crew of two young men who were living in a home for boys and took under his wing, you've got a fine recipe for a terrific story.

William really came to life in this story. Who doesn't love a guy who leaves his titled family to hobnob with the commoners? If I was ever going to have a barrister, he'd be my go-to guy. He's like a pitbull that doesn't give up. I also liked that the two young men who assist him aren't "yes men". They, especially Edmund, give him a good run for his money, but also help William out exactly how he needs it!

Then there's Lady Madeleine. Goodness, could your heart go out to a woman any more than her? Her family is already suffering and their last ditch effort to save their good name sails into port and is immediately apprehended as a pirate ship. She makes you absolutely root for the underdog.

I, surprisingly, was able to deduce something early on in the story, which is not my norm. I don't think it has to do with the author giving anything away. My brain was just working extra special that day. hahaha But, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how he was going to allow the main character to flesh everything out so that it all worked to solving the case. Once you read the story you'll understand why I'm saying this.

In a way, I wish this was a series because I would've enjoyed reading more about Edmund. I feel like there's an extra story there. I'd love to see him come into his own as a barrister and win a case he leads. I mean, I can throw this out to the author, right?

As the author is a trial lawyer himself, it explains a lot of the intricate details to the case and how he was able to unroll this for the reader in such a believable way. I think his experience in this field showed through the writing in a very distinct way.

There wasn't really a faith element in the story in regards to the main character, but he did have Father Thomas whom he relied on. I always enjoy stories a bit more when the main characters have a crisis of faith and come up from under it or are transformed by faith.

I'm looking forward to reading more by this author!

About the Author:

Todd M. Johnson( has practiced as an 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.


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