Troubador The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick

Released: 28/10/2018

ISBN: 9781789015850

eISBN: 9781789012262

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

Author Website

The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick


Retiring from a life in the media, journalist Martha Nelson finds herself feeling lost and struggles to adapt to her new, quieter life. When a local history group asks her to compile a book about her village, Martha stumbles across the dilapidated ruin of Lapston Manor and her curiosity is piqued. There is talk of an unexpected death, a change of ownership and a mysterious shadow of a woman called Madame Roussell. The journalist in Martha is intrigued.

As World War Two draws to a close, the residents of Lapston are visited by the mysterious and very beautiful Cécile Roussell, who has come from Paris to visit the home of her beloved ‘Henri’. Henry’s family and their companion, Maxwell Carrick, are in awe of her but all is not what it seems and the family is torn apart by the very visitor they welcome to their midst.

The two stories cleverly intertwine as Martha searches for the truth, but what risk will this pose to her own marriage and future happiness?

Jan's first novel, The Seven Letters, touched on the harrowing and savage events of the Liberation of Paris in 1944. It sold quickly and rapidly gained a hundred five star reviews. It is now followed by a second book once again based in The Cotswolds, England and Paris.

The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick is another dual time novel linking modern day to 1945 as WW2 draws to a close.
Described by top blogger, Anne Williams as; 'An emotional and beautifully told story of treachery and deceit,' the book was launched to over hundred people in Jan's home village where much of the story is set.

Th two books are linked by the theme of strong women and what they will do to survive in the face of adversity.

Being Anne

Authors Interviews

The Reviewers

Ox Sylva

Better than The Seven Letters? That would be hard to say. Jan’s first book was an exciting and fast read, it was very hard to put down. As a reader I was fearful for the characters from the harrowing prologue onwards.

The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick was a rich, emotional journey which left me with the most amazing images in my head. When I finished it I had to sit for a while because I was so invested in the characters. I really cared about all of them and you can’t say that about many books.

I highly recommend this beautifully written book.

by Annette Rainbow

What a great book couldn't put it down.
Just as good, if not better, than The Seven Letters her first book.

by Maureen Bailey

Jan Harvey is becoming quite the mistress of historical fiction.

Meticulously researched, her writing is incredibly evocative and her second novel is a worthy successor to her first, The Seven Letters. If you love a good read but want to learn something along the way then Jan's books are for you.

The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick is a story of a decaying house and its occupants. It is also a story of treachery and deceit and the intrigue builds beautifully; the author reveals just enough to keep you turning the pages and there are quite a few surprises along the way.

The characters are beautifully written and I found myself particularly drawn towards Alice. I think she could have a whole novel to herself ( I would be the first to buy it of the author ever decided to write it!). The characters are so well written that they stay with you - even now, I often find myself wondering what might have happened to them, which is the biggest compliment I could give a book really.

by Sarah Fitzgerald

This was a dual-time story - by an author whose first book I’d very much enjoyed - where both its threads totally enthralled me. The writing is superb - the characters vivid and real, the relationships authentic, believable and simply fascinating in all their twists and turns. I totally identified with Martha in the modern story - and liked her very much - while Carrick’s borderline unreliable narration in the historical thread is so very well done.

The modern day story captures perfectly that post-retirement feeling of being without purpose, the day-to-day routine, the taking for granted of a long-term relationship, the losing your way, the attraction of the different and exciting despite its danger. But I equally loved the historical thread, and Carrick’s story - the relationships between the really well-drawn characters blown apart by the arrival of Cecile with her mesmerising presence. I also rather liked the fact that we always knew the later history of the house in outline - I really enjoyed the way the story fleshed it out, brought it vividly to life, the house almost becoming another character.

The escalation towards the end of the historical thread was so well wrought, with its dramatic and unexpected climax, a wonderful combination of smoke and mirrors. And the drama is reflected beautifully in the modern story too, with its perfect and satisfying ending. Love and obsession across the years, an emotional and beautifully told story of treachery and deceit - a doomed family, a decaying house and its secret history, and a contemporary story that equally captured both my heart and my imagination. I adored this book.

by Anne Williams

I have just finished "The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick" and I loved it. I found many points of reference that I absolutely loved. I related so much to the main character, Martha, and how she wanted to know more about the history of her village.

How on earth does this author manage to write what is, effectively, two books at once, flipping between two different time zones? It is an amazing achievement. I do hope the book does well, it certainly deserves so to do.

by Carol Richmond

I thoroughly enjoyed Jan’s first book and this second novel is of the same high quality. Great characters drew me into the story and it became very difficult to put the book down as I wanted to see how the plot moved on. The locations and eras are described very well so that I could visualise the scenes quite clearly and the characters within these scenes, which are hallmarks of an enjoyable read for me.

by Jim Fennell

This is a captivating novel that I had to read in one go

What a fantastic book! I literally couldn't put it down. The story is set in 2 different eras and both described in such detail I could well imagine having walked my dog in both. I love the way the two stories are intertwined and join up mid way through the book.

The characters are so well written they feel real, I can totally relate to Martha and feel I really know her.

If you loved The Seven Letters I guarantee you will love this too, I think The Slow Death Of Maxwell Carrick is even better.

Make sure you clear your diary for this one, you will not want to stop reading.

by Linsey Richmond

Jan Harvey, who's first novel 'The Seven Letters' was a real winner, has now done it again with her second novel ‘The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick'.

It has an intriguing story line, full of substance and description which made me feel as if I knew the characters. One of whom, Martha, I could relate to, and even considered getting a dog!

I was compelled to read it slowly to savour the anticipation of the next stage of the plot which every turn of the page revealed.

by S Logan

Having read the Seven Letters I had to read Jan Harvey's second book. The writer comes across as an emotional person who understands personalities and is sensitive to situations. Wonderful story of life and people and difficult to put down.

by Janet Warwick

Wow, what a wonderful read this book is, I couldn't put it down and did not want it to end. Set in the Cotswolds during WWII and the modern day, we meet the 2 main characters, Carrick and Martha. Carrick is recuperating at Lapston Manor, suffering from extreme shell shock when he meets an enigmatic and beautiful French woman who will irrevocably change the rest of his life.
Martha has retired as a journalist, at sea and depressed without her career, who grabs with both hands the opportunity to write about the history of her village. During her research, she meets a man who knows quite a bit about Lapston Manor and its former inhabitants and when he takes her on a tour of the dilapidated home and grounds, she is spellbound.
This is the kind of book that keeps you reading most of the night, wanting to know what's next and then regretting it, because it's over much too soon! Wow, I loved it so much, definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. Highly recommended

by Hannelore Cheney

I was told this book was a page turner and it absolutely is. I loved it, what a great novel. It was so fantastic to read that I actually felt I was on something of a personal journey. The dual story line works just as well, if not better, than The Seven Letters. The characters are so believable and well-drawn and Carrick himself is a great character and narrator.

My congratulations to this author, her second novel is a triumph.

by M. Flint

After reading the brilliant The Seven Letters, I didn't think the author could do it again. But she has! The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick is again set in two timelines and again is full of intrigue and mystery, running side by side with an everyday story of a retired journalist in an Oxfordshire village.


by A. Walsh

Well done Jan Harvey. Another amazing read, could not stop turning the pages I did not want it to end. A must read for everyone.

by Jacqui Roberts

I read Jan Harvey’s first book “The Seven Letters” and absolutely loved it so I knew I had to read this, her second book. Again I was hooked from the first few pages not wanting to put the book down! The story is set in the past, 1940’s and the present. The two stories are brilliantly connected with twists and turns throughout keeping you totally captivated. The characters and the settings are so brilliantly written you find yourself right there knowing and seeing it all for yourself. There are elements of sadness and happiness which make this book an emotional read. I was very sad when I had finished the book as I didn’t want it to end! Jan Harvey is a very talented, emotional writer who never fails to bring her novels to life!

by Claire Bowl

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Matador for giving me the opportunity to read The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick.

This is a beautifully written book with cleverly intertwined stories that has stayed with me ever since I finished reading. One storyline is set in 1944 and the other in the present day, both based in the same village in the Cotswolds.

The author covers various areas including unrequited love, long-standing marriage and feeling lost but the subject that moved me the most was Carrick’s shellshock. It was approached in a sympathetic and moving way and showed the effects of, what we now know as, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on its sufferers and their loved ones.

I was entranced by the characters and what was happening to them and I felt genuine emotions as the story unfolded. I will definitely read more by this author, she is a very talented storyteller indeed.

by Joanne Tinkler

Martha is facing something that quite a lot of retirees feel. Her mind is agile, she has been used to a very active job which used her capabilities and now she is adrift. Her husband, although a very good man is staid, he himself a maths teacher who does not understand Martha at all.

A chance advertisement asking for help to set out a book regarding the history of this particular village seems just up Martha's street and she falls into the project with enthusiasm and a lot of vigor. Enthusiasm which is not shared by all of the committee surrounding this project. It also opens up a past story on the history of a manor in the village, whose history has been lost to the present inhabitants. Abandoned and falling into a derelict state, it must have been a grand home for some family and uncovering it step at a time, takes the reader back to the WW2 era and the tragic saga of the Amsherst family.

It is the story of Martha (who also discovers love in the best way possible) at the age of sixty and is in a quandary as to what she should do and the story of Henry, George, Alice and Madame Roussell takes the reader across from England to France to espionage, betrayal, love, distrust and lost opportunities. Very poignant, very tragic but very well told this was a beautiful story to read.

by Mystica Varathapalan

A masterly weaving of the changeable fortunes of the Amsherst family of Lapston Manor during the second World War and a curious journalist today who is determined to unravel the truth behind untimely death and the sad decay of a once great Cotswold house in her own village. The stories are linked by the wonderful Maxwell Carrick who in suffering his slow death and final redemption provides the key to the mysterious Madame Roussell and the horrors of wartime France . Jan goes from strength to strength-think Barbara Pym meets Sebastian Faulks -Jan creates her own world in a totally engaging and believable way and holds our interest beyond the last page.

by Mrs. E. A. Clarke

Two compelling stories are cleverly and deftly woven together in this well crafted novel from Jan Harvey.

Newly retired journalist Martha is struggling to cope with her free time, and it almost seems like a godsend when she learns that the local history society is seeking someone to put together a book about the locality. When reviewing the information they have gathered she finds herself repeatedly drawn back to the story of the local grand house, Lapston Manor. Rumors of robberies, mysterious deaths and tragedy surround it , and when she goes to explore the area for herself she meets a local landscape gardener, and finds herself irresistibly drawn to him, despite being a contentedly married woman, Is the shadow of Lapston going to destroy her marriage, and will she be able to uncover the truth about the mysterious French woman who somehow came to own the manor after the war?
This mysterious woman is at the heart of the second story told in the book, the fiance of Henry, deceased heir to Lapston, she visits towards the end of WW2, , while the remaining family are grieving their terrible loss. We are introduced to the titular Maxwell Carrick, family friend and companion since childhood. Desperately drawn to the new arrival he cannot see how he is breaking the heart of Henry's sister Alice, but soon he begins to suspect that something is very very wrong with the mysterious Cecile , and her actions soon prove him to be correct.

What really shines throughout this book is the time, effort and attention to detail that the author has put into creating really believable and interesting characters. Martha really resonates, and her internal struggles with her marriage are powerfully rendered.

Structurally the book alternates chapters from both time lines, and while this was a little jarring at first, particularly in the early chapters narrated from Maxwel'ls perspective, I soon adjusted to the rhythm. It's rare in books like this, that I find myself enjoying both story threads equally, usually I will have a preference for one, but in this case both were equally enthralling,

by Annette Jordan

Jan Harvey

Jan Harvey was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire in 1961. After a career as a magazine editor/designer working on various business publications she became an author in 2011.

Jan is also an artist working in glass and acrylics. She has exhibited widely with artwork selling worldwide.

Jan lives in The Cotswolds with her husband, Paul and flat coated retriever, Byron,

  • Buy as a printed
  • £9.99
  • Xmas Newsletter Offer

  • 18 customer reviews
  • Buy as an ebook
  • £3.99
  • Find this ebook at your favourite retailer
Also by Jan Harvey / Related Books