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The Crimson Inkwell

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A magical fanfare of a woman who knows her own mind and sparkling romance, The Crimson Inkwell is a modern, gothic Victorian delight.

Magical gifts may seem like good fortune, but the repercussions and the costs might not be all they cracked up to be. This is the lesson in The Crimson Inkwell by Ken Baldwin.


Luella Winthrop is a young woman in Victorian era London, determined to make something of herself as a renowned journalist. Writing under a male pen name for a small paper owned by her much older fiancé, her critics aren’t being kind in helping her to succeed. Baldwin paints the atmosphere, the grime of city life and the middle class struggle of the time, with wonder. But he also, thankfully, makes Luella a woman worth championing, a woman who can stand on her own. Even better, the supporting men are equally as deftly handled. 


Edward Thomas, a young constable who has had a recent encounter with a ghostly apparition, is written as unshakable in his mind but bendable on societal matters. This paints him as a forward thinking male of the times, and instantly admirable. Meanwhile, the charming but suspicious carnival magician, Bram is expertly woven by Baldwin to remain a mystery and keep the readers in a sense of mistrust. Because of this, the romantic storyline is superb and not overly sappy. But this novel could have used an editorial hand with the internal thoughts and qualms of our protagonist Luella. Often a paragraph expresses the same thing in different ways, making it slightly tedious to read instead of the usual perfect pace that author Ken Baldwin otherwise does well to set.


The Crimson Inkwell is lovable for all the right reasons and though a very abrupt end has the reader shot like a human cannonball from the prose, it delivers a proper dose of feminism and equality without going too far as to be deliberate. 

Reviewed by

A sometimes kind, sometimes evil hedgewitch on a crusade to create as many fantastical worlds and read as many stupendous adventures as I can. Currently living with two loyal hounds, some impartial cats and my very own vampire husband.

Et tu, Brutus

About the author

Kenneth A. Baldwin loves stories you can sink your teeth into. He lives nestled under the Wasatch Mountain Range with his wife and dog. He writes historical fantasy. When he's not working on his next book, he can be found teaching story mechanics or sketch comedy writing. view profile

Published on May 08, 2019

Published by Eburnean Books

100000 words

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by