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A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder

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"[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency "[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency London shaken and horror-struck. But for genteel spinster Miss Emmeline St. Germaine, the crime slices far too close to home. Just hours before the knight's death she held a dagger to him, threatening him to stay silent as she rescued a scullery maid he had procured for his pleasure. Did the man—or woman—who murdered the knight know of her visit? Her secret identity at risk, her reputation and life in jeopardy, Emmeline must solve the crime or face scandalous exposure and ruination, or worse—the hangman's noose—for a crime she did not commit. "Hamilton's novel will appeal to fans of Anne Perry's Charlotte and Pitt mysteries."—Booklist "A simply riveting and compulsive page-turner of a read from cover to cover. A deftly scripted mystery with more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster."—Midwest Book Review


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"[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency "[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency London shaken and horror-struck. But for genteel spinster Miss Emmeline St. Germaine, the crime slices far too close to home. Just hours before the knight's death she held a dagger to him, threatening him to stay silent as she rescued a scullery maid he had procured for his pleasure. Did the man—or woman—who murdered the knight know of her visit? Her secret identity at risk, her reputation and life in jeopardy, Emmeline must solve the crime or face scandalous exposure and ruination, or worse—the hangman's noose—for a crime she did not commit. "Hamilton's novel will appeal to fans of Anne Perry's Charlotte and Pitt mysteries."—Booklist "A simply riveting and compulsive page-turner of a read from cover to cover. A deftly scripted mystery with more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster."—Midwest Book Review

30 review for A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    This was so delicious, I savored every word. If you like historical mystery, pick this up right now! Highly recommend! My Rating: 5 starts Reviewed by: Mrs. N

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Cate

    A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder is the first book in a new historical mystery series by Victoria Hamilton. Previous books that I read by Victoria Hamilton were all cozy mysteries (some of the Vintage Kitchen mysteries and the Merry Muffin mystery series) and I really enjoyed those books so I thought I would give her new historical mystery series a shot. I am a big fan of historical mysteries usually, with Victoria Thompson and Rhys Bowen as two of my favorite authors, so I thought I would probab A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder is the first book in a new historical mystery series by Victoria Hamilton. Previous books that I read by Victoria Hamilton were all cozy mysteries (some of the Vintage Kitchen mysteries and the Merry Muffin mystery series) and I really enjoyed those books so I thought I would give her new historical mystery series a shot. I am a big fan of historical mysteries usually, with Victoria Thompson and Rhys Bowen as two of my favorite authors, so I thought I would probably enjoy A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder. I did enjoy the book but not as well as I expected I would. The book starts off strong with Emmeline donning her Avengeress role and rescuing a scullery maid that is about to be raped by the Head of the Household Sir Henry Claybourne. After threatening Sir Henry, Emmeline takes the scullery maid and leaves with the knight very much still alive. Shockingly, Sir Henry is found murdered the next morning and the press quickly latches on to the idea that the Avengeress was the one that killed him. In order to save herself from being found guilty of a murder she did not commit, Emmeline begins investigating. The premise behind the story was fascinating and I got really invested in the story very quickly. However, I felt that the plot really slowed down midway through the book and it made for some difficult reading at times. It also grew tiring to hear repeatedly about the main character's anti monarchist sentiments, her fury at having to hide her true thoughts and feelings when she is polite company, and her seeming distrust of any male that came into contact with her. I understand that the author wanted to stress how women were treated during the Regency period in London and how different her main character was from most other noble women of that time period, but it grew a bit tiring to be reminded continually of this throughout the story. I thought the mystery overall was well done and I was happy with the way the author resolved the mystery and the niggling doubts that both Emmeline and her maid Gillies had about the resolution. I am interested to see where the author takes this series in the next book. I recommend this book if you enjoy a good historical mystery. A note of warning that this book is not a cozy mystery in that it deals with violence, rape, and prostitution of children. The mature themes did not bother me but I would not advise reading the book if you think you would be bothered by these themes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Monajem

    This mystery takes place in 1810 and centers around the sexual abuse of young girls. It also deals with the subjugation of women (which I suspect will continue to be a central topic if the heroine, Emmeline St. Germaine, blazes her way through more stories in the series). She’s incredibly fiery and brave and determined, and she keeps on fighting abuse and injustice through the many twists and turns of the story, as more and more ghastly stuff is revealed. Not an easy read but definitely a worthw This mystery takes place in 1810 and centers around the sexual abuse of young girls. It also deals with the subjugation of women (which I suspect will continue to be a central topic if the heroine, Emmeline St. Germaine, blazes her way through more stories in the series). She’s incredibly fiery and brave and determined, and she keeps on fighting abuse and injustice through the many twists and turns of the story, as more and more ghastly stuff is revealed. Not an easy read but definitely a worthwhile one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kayt18

    An interesting historical mystery. Dealing with some very sensitive subjects with a gentle hand, yet giving it the strength it needs. Not for the faint of heart or too sensitive. Great new series

  5. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    I didn't like the subject matter of this book, but got too far before I realized how much the orphan girls being set-up to work for the wealthy, but for wealthy homes that had wealthy men who wanted to rape them. I finished it, but maybe I shouldn't have. As a historical, one could tell that it was set in the past, but there was not enough information (for me) to establish it as Regency, or even post Regency.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    This pleasing mystery transports readers to London in 1810. While gentle in tone throughout, there is nevertheless a timeless disturbing crime against women at its core, i.e., human trafficking. Emmeline is part of a secret group of society women who are determined to defend girls as young as 10 who are being removed from orphanages under the guise of being given work as scullery maids. After a successful rescue, the master of the house is found murdered. Thus begins an urgent ever-widening searc This pleasing mystery transports readers to London in 1810. While gentle in tone throughout, there is nevertheless a timeless disturbing crime against women at its core, i.e., human trafficking. Emmeline is part of a secret group of society women who are determined to defend girls as young as 10 who are being removed from orphanages under the guise of being given work as scullery maids. After a successful rescue, the master of the house is found murdered. Thus begins an urgent ever-widening search for the murderer. Some minor changes would have helped strengthen the story a bit. The author keeps summarizing what the reader knows at each stop in the puzzle. Emmeline will talk to one friend and summarize the facts and then talk to another friend and do it all again. Perhaps each character needed to be brought up to speed, but the reader frankly did not. There were times when it really felt like this was a contemporary novel about human trafficking and then the author remembered the voice and setting are 1810. Author points out the restrictions on women's day-to-day freedoms but Emmeline goes her own way a lot without discovery and arrives at places quite quickly which just would not have been the case back then. Finally, it would seem that just about every man is an abuser, and every woman had been abused. A stretch? One great value of this book is highlighting how far women have come in terms of gaining the rights to manage their own finances, choosing who to wed or not marrying at all, using their own name to publicly write, and more. This is more Sherlock Holmes-like rather than leaning toward suspense or thriller. The conclusion clearly leads to another book in the series, so fans will enjoy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Miss Emmeline St. Germaine has irritated her brothers by refusing to get married; they don't realize that they have maddened her by trying to control her, only too easy to do in Regency England, where women have no rights. Emmy and some friends of hers are trying to help the helpless--servant girls who are abused by their masters. But Emmy finds some secrets among people she knows well, and narrowly escapes being accused of murder. Of course, murder is wrong, but what redress do the helpless hav Miss Emmeline St. Germaine has irritated her brothers by refusing to get married; they don't realize that they have maddened her by trying to control her, only too easy to do in Regency England, where women have no rights. Emmy and some friends of hers are trying to help the helpless--servant girls who are abused by their masters. But Emmy finds some secrets among people she knows well, and narrowly escapes being accused of murder. Of course, murder is wrong, but what redress do the helpless have? Emmy seems rather more modern than is credible, and a lot angrier than is good for her, unwilling to be civil to a suitor who may really love her.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Lynx

    The characters did not act like characters of that time would have acted.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Steinbrink

    This book is nothing like the wonderful cozy mysteries this author usually writes. I found it disturbing and wish I hadn't read it. I wish I had known it wasn't a historical cozy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This book and I got off on the wrong foot right from the start because it turns out that light, cosy-style prose doesn't mix well with the subject of pedophilia. When Emmeline's POV mentioned (in the opening pages, so this isn't a spoiler) that she thought it helped make her point to catch abusers in the act, but before any real harm had been done, I wanted to throw the damn book against the wall. Intentionally timing a rescue so that a child gets a little bit assaulted but not quite raped is ea This book and I got off on the wrong foot right from the start because it turns out that light, cosy-style prose doesn't mix well with the subject of pedophilia. When Emmeline's POV mentioned (in the opening pages, so this isn't a spoiler) that she thought it helped make her point to catch abusers in the act, but before any real harm had been done, I wanted to throw the damn book against the wall. Intentionally timing a rescue so that a child gets a little bit assaulted but not quite raped is easily the most disgustingly off-putting introduction I've ever had to a supposed heroine. That kind of pragmatism might not leave me bailing on a gritty antihero, but the tonal mismatch makes me worry that I can't trust the author to show any more sensitivity during other intense scenes. I forced myself through the first fifty pages to see if anything could overcome that initial revulsion, but nah. No dice. The Regency details are slim and awkwardly inserted, and some passages read so much like series recaps that I had to double check that this was actually the first book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katreader

    A GENTLEWOMAN'S GUIDE TO MURDER by Victoria Hamilton The First Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder Regency England may be remembered for its romances and lovely people living a life of frivolity and indulgence. But, that was the life of members of the ton. In reality, life was harder and much darker, especially for those on the lowest rungs of the service ladder. Miss Emmeline St. Germaine is a woman with a mission, as well as a double, if not triple, life. In public she's a proper, if unmarried woman. A GENTLEWOMAN'S GUIDE TO MURDER by Victoria Hamilton The First Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder Regency England may be remembered for its romances and lovely people living a life of frivolity and indulgence. But, that was the life of members of the ton. In reality, life was harder and much darker, especially for those on the lowest rungs of the service ladder. Miss Emmeline St. Germaine is a woman with a mission, as well as a double, if not triple, life. In public she's a proper, if unmarried woman. As The Rogue, she writes articles for a newspaper, bringing light to scandalous gossip and social injustices. But her most dangerous role is that of The Avengeress, who ventures out to save young girls and boys from abuse. After rescuing a young maid about to be raped by her employer, she's stunned when the man is found brutally slaughtered the next morning. With the majority of the public blaming The Avengeress, Emmeline determines to find the real killer, before she's exposed...and found guilty of murder! Victoria Hamilton does not shy away from the gritty reality of life tackling sexual assault and pedophilia in her first Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder mystery! Yet these atrocities are dealt with tact and not sensationalized. I enjoyed my first entry into Regency England with Miss Emmeline St. Germaine. She's doing what she can to be a free and independent woman, fighting for the betterment of society at a time when upperclass women were thought of as nothing more than adornments while women of lower classes were meant to be used and abused. Sadly, this remains somewhat of a reality even today, 200 years later! The author has a firm grasp of life during this time period, providing a myriad of small details that are intrinsic to the mood and spirit of the novel and not extraneous fluff or an overt history lesson. Emmaline's work as the Rogue, sharing gossip and rumours with broad hints as to the real people involved, was a standard practice of the time. Clothing details showing class distinction as well as how the different classes met and mingled are all integral particulars to the story. The characters are all multidimentional with deep backstories simmering under the surface. Vivid descriptions are haunting, especially the subtle changes seen in those being abused. A GENTLEWOMAN'S GUIDE TO MURDER is a smart historical mystery that isn't afraid to deal with difficult subject matter. A truly heroic heroine graces its pages engaging in a fight to be her own person, a fight that women continue to this day. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nichole

    London, 1810 and Miss Emmeline St. Germaine is doing right in the world! Along side other lovely ladies, Emmeline is doing her part to save orphaned children and scullery maids who are being abused by men, for their own disgusting pleasures. Emmeline pays a visit to knight, Sir Henry Claybourne, holding a knife to his neck. Warning him of his own wrong doing with his scullery maid. Shortly after Emmeline's visit, Sir Henry was murdered. Leaving Regency London shaken with fear, knowing a murder or mu London, 1810 and Miss Emmeline St. Germaine is doing right in the world! Along side other lovely ladies, Emmeline is doing her part to save orphaned children and scullery maids who are being abused by men, for their own disgusting pleasures. Emmeline pays a visit to knight, Sir Henry Claybourne, holding a knife to his neck. Warning him of his own wrong doing with his scullery maid. Shortly after Emmeline's visit, Sir Henry was murdered. Leaving Regency London shaken with fear, knowing a murder or murders are on the loose.  Emmeline is concerned that perhaps the true assassin witnessed her at the home. Needing to be mindful where she treads. Miss Emmeline needs to make sure her hidden identity is not revealed and that she herself is not held guilty for Claybourne's murder. 4 out of 5 stars I will start by saying as mentioned above men are using scullery maids for their own personal pleasures. Trigger warnings for physical abuse towards young girls. I will add that Victoria does so in a very gentle way and does't go deep into details during these parts throughout the book. At first I found the pace of this book to be a bit slow. I was concerned I was going to lose interest quickly.  Yet again, I was wrong! It didn't take long and I was sucked in. Emmeline is a strong, bold, intelligent young lady. She knows the events happening around her are wrong and will not stand for it. Even when people are doing everything in their strength to turn her in an alternative direction. Believing that no women has a place in what she's trying to accomplish. A strong female protagonist is always refreshing and enjoyable to read, and Miss Emmeline St. Germaine is exactly that! A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder may have started out a bit slower but Victoria sends you down many different pathways throughout this book. Keeping you on your toes with each and every twist and turn. A very enjoyable read. It gave me tons of Sherlock Holmes vibes mixed with a gentle classic. Very well done! Published by: Midnight Ink on February 8, 2019 Thank you very much to Thomas Allen & Son for sending me this copy for review! Very much appreciated. And of course thank you all for reading. Your Strong Female Book Worm -Nichole

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    This is the first non-cozy mystery that I’ve read by this author, and I was not disappointed. I love her cozy mysteries; this is written with the same care and fine eye for details that Victoria Hamilton’s other novels share. It took a few minutes to become accustomed to the narrator, and there were times I wasn’t sure who the speaker was. Overall, however, it was clear and easily. Emmeline is one of a group of ladies who work together to rescue young girls who are working in homes where the man This is the first non-cozy mystery that I’ve read by this author, and I was not disappointed. I love her cozy mysteries; this is written with the same care and fine eye for details that Victoria Hamilton’s other novels share. It took a few minutes to become accustomed to the narrator, and there were times I wasn’t sure who the speaker was. Overall, however, it was clear and easily. Emmeline is one of a group of ladies who work together to rescue young girls who are working in homes where the man of the house makes unreasonable demands. We get to watch her rescue a girl from Sir Henry Claybourne’s home and catches him a breath away from harming the girl. Emmeline then delivered the girl to where she would have a better, safer position, then went home. The next morning brought the news that some crazed woman entered the Claybourne home, grabbed the young girl, then disappeared with her and the silver. It is also thought that the woman is responsible for the bloody death of Sir Henry later that night. Emmeline and her friends are horrified at the murder, and she is equally horrified that she could be discovered as the woman who made the first trip but didn’t steal the silver. Nor did she return and murder Sir Henry. She began to investigate on her own to protect herself and learned just how heinous the current conditions for working-class women were. I was stunned when I realized – and it was confirmed – who one of the bad guys was and how deeply rooted the effects and betrayal were and just how he minimized his behavior. The end was stunning, and even though I rarely like cliffhangers, it leads skillfully into the next novel. The author deals with very sensitive subjects in a manner giving dignity to those effected by the crimes. I highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy Regency-era mysteries set in England. From a thankful heart: I won an audiobook of this novel from the author; a review was not required.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    It sounded so interesting when I read the blurb. I was anxious to read it and could hardly wait to pick up the book at the library. And then I opened the pages. I read the first couple chapter and started skimming. That wasn't fast enough so I ended up skipping a large chunk and trying to read there. Still no, seriously 350 pages never seemed so long, I finally reached the end where she revealed who killed the first man. I'm like finally. Names were thrown around, and I felt no compulsion to rer It sounded so interesting when I read the blurb. I was anxious to read it and could hardly wait to pick up the book at the library. And then I opened the pages. I read the first couple chapter and started skimming. That wasn't fast enough so I ended up skipping a large chunk and trying to read there. Still no, seriously 350 pages never seemed so long, I finally reached the end where she revealed who killed the first man. I'm like finally. Names were thrown around, and I felt no compulsion to reread to find out who these people were. At least the story wrapped up nicely. (view spoiler)[ it could have wrapped up quicker, and of course we have an overbearing brother who threatens our heroine's independence and yada yada. This incident sets up the premise for the next book, but I'm not likely going to read it. (hide spoiler)] There are some heavy topics thrown about in this book. Child abuse and rape, but it's hard to say whether or not this is handle in any way well. (view spoiler)[ I'm going with not; because, I'm guessing the protagonist is suppose to come across as pragmatic in her thinking that she get there at just the right time. where in the man is caught with his pants down, but there's been no penetration yet. But it comes across as cold and insensitive. I mean the whole thing is traumatic from the get go, pants dropped or not. The thing to do is to get the child out regardless, not waiting for the predator to be in the act. (hide spoiler)] I'm wishing I enjoyed this more but sadly not so much. At least I got to the end and found out whodunnit and why. Recommended? eh no, but I've seen some reviews where people loved it, so it's your choice. Buy/Borrow? if you have to read it borrow it first.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    3.5 stars rounded up. I came across this book on Twitter at a time when I was looking for a new historical mystery author/series to try and I'm glad I read it. Overall I enjoyed it, though a few things didn't quite work for me. What I liked: - Emmeline had a strong motivation for investigating the murder. I've DNF'd a few books because the only reason the heroine investigated a crime was nosiness or a vague feeling of "being compelled". - Large cast of characters from different social classes. - Fem 3.5 stars rounded up. I came across this book on Twitter at a time when I was looking for a new historical mystery author/series to try and I'm glad I read it. Overall I enjoyed it, though a few things didn't quite work for me. What I liked: - Emmeline had a strong motivation for investigating the murder. I've DNF'd a few books because the only reason the heroine investigated a crime was nosiness or a vague feeling of "being compelled". - Large cast of characters from different social classes. - Feminism! - Though I figured out some of the plot, I didn't mind because I was very interested in how it would play out. What I didn't like: - Infodumping in the first few chapters, especially about many of the female characters' sad backstories. - A couple key developments in the mystery happened "off screen" and were therefore a little anticlimatic. I think they could have been more dramatic. - The final revelation of the murderer was kind of unsatisfying - it was messy and I think it just sort of happened to the Emmeline. She has so much agency in the rest of the book but didn't have a really strong role in actually solving the murder and bringing the villains to justice. That's what knocked the book from a 4 star to 3.5 star read to me. Also I should mention trigger warnings for child abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual assault.

  16. 4 out of 5

    jammaster_mom

    This is a period mystery with a female protagonist, Emmeline, set in Regency England. Based on this premise this book should be perfect for me. Sadly, I found this book to be really difficult to read and didn't care for most of the characters. Emmie spends much of the book speaking of how the rules of society bound her and give control over her life to the men in her family. She is passionately concerned about rights for women of all classes. She is part of a group of women, all of whom have suff This is a period mystery with a female protagonist, Emmeline, set in Regency England. Based on this premise this book should be perfect for me. Sadly, I found this book to be really difficult to read and didn't care for most of the characters. Emmie spends much of the book speaking of how the rules of society bound her and give control over her life to the men in her family. She is passionately concerned about rights for women of all classes. She is part of a group of women, all of whom have suffered at the hands of men, who work to rescue young girls in service who are being abused. I did not like Emmie. We do not find out what her backstory is until about halfway into the book. This made me confused as to why she was doing what she was doing. She is very bitter and whines throughout the book. She does take action but often in doing so she is rude or mean to someone who would help her just because they are a man. The clues as to who the major perpetrators were are dropped rather obviously and the ending isn't a surprise given what we have been told of her family and the precarious line she walks in order to live in London. I didn't like the main character or any of the secondary characters so it was very difficult to finish the book. I rarely DNF a book so I did make it to the end but find myself unexcited about the next book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    The description on the back cover refers to a shocking murder, intrigue and the introduction of a female character who is not only part of the English upper class but secretly avenges those who are about to be abused. The premise was intriguing, had lots of promise and didn't (for me) deliver. I had hoped to get something that was more suspenseful, more of a mystery. What I got was something not very well put together, preachy and a slog to get through. I really tried - I pushed myself to read a The description on the back cover refers to a shocking murder, intrigue and the introduction of a female character who is not only part of the English upper class but secretly avenges those who are about to be abused. The premise was intriguing, had lots of promise and didn't (for me) deliver. I had hoped to get something that was more suspenseful, more of a mystery. What I got was something not very well put together, preachy and a slog to get through. I really tried - I pushed myself to read almost 200 pages before I said "enough". Facing a possible another 150 pages I turned to the last two chapters. My mother had a trick of when she started a book if she wasn't enjoying it she would go the last chapter or two, read those and if it was possible to tie things together that book got put aside. Well, I did that here. Read the last two chapters after slogging (and it was a slog) through about 2/3rds of the book and found that there weren't any surprises, that the person I thought was the culprit was. So for me the book is "finished". Apparently this is the first in a series. I for one will not be pursuing them. Which is too bad because I was hoping to find a good mystery series with a female protagonist. They exist but this isn't one of them.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)

    A historical mystery where a young woman dresses up as a vigilante and saves young helpless servant girls from getting attacked by the man of the house. A good girl should not be parading around attacking gentleman in their homes so she can't tell anyone that she is the one doing it. One night when she saves a young girl the Sir Henry Claybourne is murdered and now everyone thinks it's the vigilante but of course Emmeline knows better, so she has to try and figure out whodunit before someone fin A historical mystery where a young woman dresses up as a vigilante and saves young helpless servant girls from getting attacked by the man of the house. A good girl should not be parading around attacking gentleman in their homes so she can't tell anyone that she is the one doing it. One night when she saves a young girl the Sir Henry Claybourne is murdered and now everyone thinks it's the vigilante but of course Emmeline knows better, so she has to try and figure out whodunit before someone finds out who she really is!  So it's been a while since I listened to this so this is going to be short! I remember liking it and I can remember the premise but then it gets a bit fuzzy! I liked Emmeline, she is a genteel spinster who sees it as her job to rescue young girls being abused and I really liked that! It has a really good mystery and I don't think I guessed who the culprit was but I do know I enjoyed listening to this book.  If you like historical mysteries give it a try! 

  19. 5 out of 5

    The Sapphic Nerd

    This story starts off with a bang and though there are some sections where things feel a little slow, it's overall quite an entertaining read. Emmeline is a willful and delightfully feminist protagonist who refreshingly does NOT fall for her male suitor. She wants to carve her own path and challenges the power of men over her, over women in general, and over the working class/servants. Where the world turns a blind eye to rich men preying on poor young women, Emmeline does what she can to expose This story starts off with a bang and though there are some sections where things feel a little slow, it's overall quite an entertaining read. Emmeline is a willful and delightfully feminist protagonist who refreshingly does NOT fall for her male suitor. She wants to carve her own path and challenges the power of men over her, over women in general, and over the working class/servants. Where the world turns a blind eye to rich men preying on poor young women, Emmeline does what she can to expose and stop them. My hero! My main problem is how distracting the voice actor is in the audiobook version, giving the same upward ending intonation to 98% of her sentences. It takes a considerable effort to focus on WHAT she's saying and separate it from the WAY she's saying it. The moments where she'd put on an accent were a brief respite from the painful sameness of each sentence.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joyanna Haggard

    I wanted to love this book but I didn't. The audio book was poorly edited and in the first half of the books she forgets her maids name apparently and it also replayed one of the chapters forgivable I suppose what was not forgivable in my opinion is the heroine either she is a strong woman or she's not. It seems like towards the end of the book she does a 180 in personality and becomes the delicate flower. It seems to me that there is a flaw in the writing I just don't understand what happen the I wanted to love this book but I didn't. The audio book was poorly edited and in the first half of the books she forgets her maids name apparently and it also replayed one of the chapters forgivable I suppose what was not forgivable in my opinion is the heroine either she is a strong woman or she's not. It seems like towards the end of the book she does a 180 in personality and becomes the delicate flower. It seems to me that there is a flaw in the writing I just don't understand what happen the last chapter seemed as through it was added on solely for the propose of introducing the next book by someone who didn't read the rest of the book. It wasn't bad it just wasn't good. the story line was just okay.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Judith Wolfe

    Man Hating I would have enjoyed this novel more if the author had not spent so much time belittling and bashing men through her female character. There was on!y one man in the novel, aside from a servant, who had any redeeming qualities. True, the story is about sick, twisted behavior that deserves to be highlighted and condemned. The men deserve the punishment that they receive; however, the female characters who commit evil are allowed to go free. My main objection is the author's choice to use Man Hating I would have enjoyed this novel more if the author had not spent so much time belittling and bashing men through her female character. There was on!y one man in the novel, aside from a servant, who had any redeeming qualities. True, the story is about sick, twisted behavior that deserves to be highlighted and condemned. The men deserve the punishment that they receive; however, the female characters who commit evil are allowed to go free. My main objection is the author's choice to use her female lead to consistently view men as evil, hateful, and abusive characters.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kiwi Carlisle

    Although this novel held my interest enough to finish it, I don’t know if I want to read any more in a potential series. There were enough minor, niggling historical errors to annoy me. I am also not happy with the fact that, although the author keeps talking about the lack of freedom of action of women in immediate pre-Regency England, her adult female characters pretty much do as they please and display an enormous amount of agency. They always seem to be able to find ways to handily work arou Although this novel held my interest enough to finish it, I don’t know if I want to read any more in a potential series. There were enough minor, niggling historical errors to annoy me. I am also not happy with the fact that, although the author keeps talking about the lack of freedom of action of women in immediate pre-Regency England, her adult female characters pretty much do as they please and display an enormous amount of agency. They always seem to be able to find ways to handily work around the restrictions placed in their way in a rather unrealistic manner.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dodd

    Well done. With so much in the news recently about human trafficking, this is a very timely story. We have a group of (somewhat) privileged woman who want to help those less fortunate. The social restrictions of the time allow them little autonomy, so they have to act clandestinely . The insights into the lack of control over ones life if they are born femail, is brought home clearly. The clever ways to work around it are inspiring. Sadly, even the seemingly supportive males show their ingrained attit Well done. With so much in the news recently about human trafficking, this is a very timely story. We have a group of (somewhat) privileged woman who want to help those less fortunate. The social restrictions of the time allow them little autonomy, so they have to act clandestinely . The insights into the lack of control over ones life if they are born femail, is brought home clearly. The clever ways to work around it are inspiring. Sadly, even the seemingly supportive males show their ingrained attitudes while trying to help.

  24. 4 out of 5

    J.

    Not only a fun historical read but very timely as well. I don't like to give plot away in my reviews but it does center around a woman working to right wrongs done by men of the time. Wrongs ignored because of class, position, or just plain old misogyny. So it's great to see a female "superhero," flaws and all, in a great historical setting. This is a little less cozy than Hamilton's contemporary mysteries with more of a gothic edginess to it, and I personally love that. Reminds me, in tone, of Not only a fun historical read but very timely as well. I don't like to give plot away in my reviews but it does center around a woman working to right wrongs done by men of the time. Wrongs ignored because of class, position, or just plain old misogyny. So it's great to see a female "superhero," flaws and all, in a great historical setting. This is a little less cozy than Hamilton's contemporary mysteries with more of a gothic edginess to it, and I personally love that. Reminds me, in tone, of the Lady Anne mysteries, which are also recommended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Ladensack

    Nicely plotted with an intriguing group of characters and a mystery with a disturbing but well-presented context. I thought the handling of the subject (exploitation of girls) was just a bit heavy-handed (by the end, I was thinking, ok, I know it’s 1810 but #notallmen and not all women either). Strangely, I felt Emmeline was a bit too one-note and slightly lacking in logic, but most of the other characters were dimensional and nuanced enough to avoid being overt caricatures, which all too often Nicely plotted with an intriguing group of characters and a mystery with a disturbing but well-presented context. I thought the handling of the subject (exploitation of girls) was just a bit heavy-handed (by the end, I was thinking, ok, I know it’s 1810 but #notallmen and not all women either). Strangely, I felt Emmeline was a bit too one-note and slightly lacking in logic, but most of the other characters were dimensional and nuanced enough to avoid being overt caricatures, which all too often happens in books with strong messages.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Meh. It had its moments. Decent read, I'm glad I did an audiobook instead of reading it since British commentary tends to be dry and very wordy. At times it reminded me of The Alienist while other times I even bored with the feminist struggles of the era. I kind of wish the book was more sleuthing and less pandering about how rough it was to be female back then. I want to see someone snake through those difficulties and overcome the obstacles while utilizing the feminism assumptions of the time Meh. It had its moments. Decent read, I'm glad I did an audiobook instead of reading it since British commentary tends to be dry and very wordy. At times it reminded me of The Alienist while other times I even bored with the feminist struggles of the era. I kind of wish the book was more sleuthing and less pandering about how rough it was to be female back then. I want to see someone snake through those difficulties and overcome the obstacles while utilizing the feminism assumptions of the time as a grand cover. Idk, worth the read... That's just my rant.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bailey

    A little heavy going at first until you just give yourself up to the times and the language and the disturbing period of time where abuse was rampant and women had no rights. I think I would have just been one of those women addicted to laudanum if I had to deal with those times. Or maybe not, maybe I could be like the story’s heroine and try to change things. A very good read once I set aside the time to read straight through and get into the story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    I absolutely loved this book. A murder mystery and a look at upper class pre-victorian life. I am not a fan of cozy mysteries and I really would not put this one in that category although others have. I am pretty sure we are set up for the beginning of what appears to be a great series. Fingers crossed.

  29. 4 out of 5

    CR

    What grabbed me first with this one was the cover. This cover is just so amazing but sadly that was the only thing this one had going for it. Early on things happened in this story that just kind of turned me off of it. So sadly this one I ended up not liking at all.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    An interesting main character. Enough twists to keep one interested. A little disappointed in the ending, but it was fair. A hint at the end about the next book. I'd be interested in reading more from this author.

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