The Merchant's Curse (The Harwood Mysteries #4)

The Merchant's Curse (The Harwood Mysteries #4)
Age Range
Release Date
October 17, 2022
Buy This Book
In this thrilling installment of the award-winning Harwood Mysteries series, Xan leaves the Abbey for far-away Lincoln to apprentice with his uncle. But he quickly learns that all is not well. Uncle William has fallen in debt to a heartless moneylender called the Master. Nigel, the reckless nephew of William’s business partner, has put them in danger by befriending an enemy of the King.
Why are the Master’s thugs lurking near Uncle William’s shop?
Does the disfigured woman in the marketplace really have power over life and death?
Will Nigel stop his dealings with a known traitor?

Editor review

1 review
Faith and goodness will triumph
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Despite being the fourth book in the series, this book can be read on its own. Xan is adapting to life outside of Harwood Abbey and he questions if he made the correct decision. He has a crush on a co-worker and friend named Christine which complicates his transition. Xan’s older cousin Nigel has eyes for her too and appears to have plans to make her his wife. Christine has a kind heart and beautiful face but she’s complicated by vanity and ambition. Xan can’t compete with Nigel’s charm and position in society, so he’s unsure what to do about his feelings for Christine. He’s disturbed when she’s around Nigel but he knows she has a kind soul.
Religion and faith are major topics in the book. Xan leaves his religious studies at Harwood Abbey to work in the merchant business with his uncles. He strives for wisdom like Solomon in the bible and often recalls scripture when making decisions. He counsels with Father Philip for guidance and spiritual support and he often remembers his friend Lucy’s words as she studies to become a nun. Xan notes the problems created when characters display biblical sins such as vanity, coveting, and greed. He has much to learn about the value of the wisdom he cherishes as Father Philip points out the pursuit of wisdom comes with its own issues.
As the title indicates, this book contains a mystery and Xan has a talent for solving them. Xan’s uncle is cursed by a witch and the family is unable to find a cure. Even Father Philip’s blessings have no effect on nausea and weakness that’s slowly killing Xan’s uncle. This conflict forms the main focus of the story but Nigel may bring serious trouble to the family. He’s corresponding with one of the king’s sons who has eyes on taking the throne. The king and his followers may view this as treason so Nigel, his family, and friends may be in danger of imprisonment or hanging. Then, Xan notices two goons working for the Master in the area and knows they can’t be up to anything good. Why are they leaving his uncles’ business?
What didn’t work as well:
The climax pulls in characters from previous books so they seem like strangers jumping into the middle of the story, if readers haven’t read the earlier books, like me. Most of the plot is unaffected by events in earlier stories so readers can still enjoy this book. Reading the previous books will make it easier to understand these “new” characters but it shouldn’t detract from being entertained.
The Final Verdict:
The book has its moments of biblical reflection but it doesn’t feel like readers are being preached to. The witch’s curse creates a compelling conflict between good and evil with Xan having faith that God will triumph in the end. Overall, I enjoyed the story and recommend you give it a shot.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account