Book Review – The Lion Lies Waiting (The Moth and Moon Series, book two) by Glenn Quigley

First published, 2018

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“They entered into a dark antechamber between two sets of stairs. In front of them was a countertop and behind it an imperious woman stood. She wore a frilly bodice of musty lavender and her face was powdered bone-white, in what Duncan understood to be the fashion on the mainland. However, the powder, ill-applied as it was, dusted her hairline and a good stretch beyond, as if she had prepared for her day by simply planting herself face-first into a bag of flour. She held in her arms a tiny pug who yipped excitedly at the men.

‘You must be Mrs. Reed. Sorry, I mean Mrs. Firebrace. We’re from Blashy Cove, we know your brother?’ Edwin said.

‘Oh, yes. How is George?’ she asked.

‘He’s well, he sends his love.’

‘Does he?’ she said, raising an eyebrow. ‘How nice.’

8% in, Chapter Three, The Lion Lies Waiting by Glenn Quigley

Who else read that last line of dialogue in Tim Curry’s voice?

This is part two of the Moth and Moon series, I have been itching to get to this one. Some of you may remember my review of the first book in the series ( although, my word, that was in 2019. My plan, should you be interested in my plan – no reason why you wouldn’t be so I’ll go ahead and tell you – is to read the series bit by bit and then, once I’ve got the lot, read, reviewed, etc. I plan to take a few days to myself and read them back to back. This is something I plan to do with all my favourite authors, and my word, Glenn Quigley is one of the best.

So, where we left off: Robin Shipp, burly fisherman and erstwhile misunderstood figure within his small community in 1780s fictionalised Cornwall, had managed to prove his late father’s innocence and thus, lifted a massive weight from his own heart. The people of the village, having shunned the large and clumsy fisherman for most of his life, felt terrible, as well they should, and his relationship with baker, Edwin, was just starting to blossom. And I feel appalling for condensing the story that much; it’s a delight, really – go and read it.

In The Lion Lies Waiting, also pleasingly named after a pub, Robin, Edwin and Robin’s ex Duncan, have gone to the nearby, much more cut-throat Blackrabbit Island to help Edwin’s sister-in-law with his mother. As the story unfolds, we discover the terrible circumstances in which Edwin’s brother was lost and Robin has a few familial discoveries of his own to make. While the Ladies Wolf-Chase make a massive, life-altering decision which will, of course, have an impact on our heroes, Robin and Edwin, the political climate on the island, interfered with in no small part by Edwin’s mother and Eva’s father, as well as the man he’d planned for her to marry, is fit to explode. And it’s all due to kick off during a night of revelry and organised mayhem. It is a rollercoaster of a story; I enjoyed every minute.

Not all my readers are known to me, but those of you who used to be my neighbours and are intrigued by the night of revelry and organised mayhem – there’s a tar barrel parade. For those who weren’t my neighbours – hi there, how’s it going? There’s a very famous tar barrel celebration, where locals carry flaming (yes, indeed, on fire) tar barrels on their backs and run through the streets of Ottery St Mary in Devon; this has been going on since around the 17th Century and is a yearly tradition that continues to this day. I know this because, until I moved eighteen months ago, it took place approximately three miles from my front door.

It can be quite stunning to read something you thought so particular to your own background and then, there are the words, printed, staring at you. My heart near stopped when I read the words ‘tar barrel parade’. The action sequences were deftly told and beautifully captured, and that in a book with so much heart, was a pretty darn magical to this reader. Also, lovely little nods to local verbiage – backalong, bleddy, these are the sounds of the Westcountry and planted the story firmly in place for me.

The novel is driven by character, and there are some super ones in this series. I adore Robin, he’s just the kindest man, and a real hero. As with my reading of the first in the series, I love that there are quite a few same-sex relationships to which no other character bats an eyelid. If there are going to be arguments within the narrative, they’ll be to do with everything else. That just makes me happy.

A good dose of humour, pathos and a further exploration of the characters, make for a delightful read. If you take my advice, you’ll start from the beginning and then read them all. You’ll not be disappointed.