Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl with a dash of Jane Austen, in Reputation, a Regency-era historical romantic comedy with a deliciously feminist twist, from a hilarious new British voice, Lex Croucher.
Abandoned by her parents, bookish and sheltered Georgiana Ellers is spending the summer with her stodgy aunt and uncle at their home in the English countryside. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who delights Georgiana with her disregard for so-called “polite society.”
Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana quickly falls in with Frances and her wealthy, wild, and deeply improper friends, who introduce her to the upper echelons of Regency aristocracy, and a world of drunken debauchery, frivolous spending, and mysterious young men. One, in particular, stands out from the rest: Thomas Hawksley, who has a tendency to cross paths with Georgiana in her most embarrassing moments. Sparks fly, but Thomas seems unimpressed with the company she is keeping. And soon, Georgiana begins to wonder whether she’ll ever feel like she fits in––or if the price of entry into Frances’s gilded world will ultimately be higher than she is willing to pay.
Set against a backdrop of lavish parties, handsome men on horseback––and in a time when one’s reputation was everything––this edgy, hilarious romantic comedy explores sex, consent, belonging, and status through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine that Austen herself would have cheered for.
Why would the world’s most famous mystery writer disappear for eleven days? What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage? How deeply can a person crave revenge?
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.
Tsarina covers the life of Tsarina Catherine, the second wife of Peter the Great. There are many factors that make her life interesting, but the first and foremost is that she was born into abject poverty in the rural Baltics.
The blurb suggests that Catherine is faced with a great responsibility upon her husband’s death. While this is certainly true, very little of the book is devoted to Catherine’s ascension to power as the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Rather, this is more of a “record scratch—freeze frame—you’re probably wondering how I got here” narrative, in which we examine the events that led up to Catherine scrambling to cover up her husband’s death until her position is more secure.
This book has been on my radar for years, but I didn’t get around to reading it until my 8th grader selected it as her summer reading book. Instead of being disappointed in myself at having waited for so long to read this masterpiece, I’m going to focus on the positive and tell you that it was absolutely worth waiting for.
The Song of Achilles is a glorious retelling of the Greek legend, but instead of the hero himself sharing his exploits, the narrative unfolds from the perspective of Patroclus, Achilles’ childhood friend who later becomes his lover. They first meet as boys, and Achilles takes Patroclus under his wing, setting him apart from the other boys as his boon companion. Patroclus accompanies Achilles to Mount Pelion, and lessons with Chiron the centaur, which is where their friendship begins to shift into a physical relationship. Eventually, the call to war sounds and Patroclus accompanies Achilles to Troy, where the Greeks lay siege to the city-state in their attempt to recapture Helen, who absconded with the Trojan Prince Paris.
A couple of days ago, I was chatting (via text) with a friend, and I told her that I was reading a book about “the woman before Wallis”.
My friend said, “Freda Dudley Ward?”
I said, “No, she’s in this book, but this one is about the other “Other Woman”.
Like my friend, I was also not aware of Thelma Furness’ involvement with David, the Prince of Wales, but having read this book, I am much more aware—not only of Thelma’s story, but of the Gloria Vanderbilt custody battle.
The Widow of Rose House was written by Diana Biller. I’m a big fan of historical romance; I don’t read very much of American historical romance, but the premise piqued my interest.
Alva Webster has returned to New York after living abroad, accompanied by her scandalous reputation. She intends to renovate a Hyde Park mansion, detailing the process in an interior design book full of photographs, an innovative and creative venture that hasn’t been done before.
But the workers have abandoned the project because they say the house is haunted.
And then this pesky scientist keeps popping up because he wants to study the ghosts.
Alva doesn’t want to rely on anybody but herself, but Samuel Moore is sweet and kind and very earnest. Read more
The Business of Blood is the first book in Kerrigan Byrne’s new Victorian-era historical mystery series. I have enjoyed her previous books: historical romance novels with angst-ridden heroes, and so I was very excited to read something completely different than Byrne’s usual fare.
This is, indeed, a departure: even though Byrne’s historical romance novels are darker than most of the books in the genre, potential readers should know that The Business of Blood is not a cozy historical mystery. There are fairly graphic descriptions of crime scenes, and while I don’t think it’s any worse than the depravity some of Byrne’s other characters have demonstrated, it’s still worth mentioning.
Fiona Mahoney, an Irish immigrant living in London, works as a crime scene cleaner. There is no shortage of work, and she is not easily shocked- until she arrives at the home of a murdered man posed in a gruesome fashion. All signs point to Jack the Ripper, who has been dormant for years. Fiona has been haunted by this elusive killer, and wonders if this is her opportunity to track down the man who killed her childhood best friend. Read more
No Good Men is a historical mystery novel written by Thea McAlistair. This book piqued my interest because it’s set in the 1930s and features gangsters and a m/m romantic subplot.
Alex is in his early 20s, and working alongside his mentor Donnie as a bodyguard for the mayor. They’re at a nightclub one night, and while Alex is talking to a man at the bar during his break, the mayor and Donnie are both shot and killed.
It turns out that Sev, the man Alex was taking to, is the nightclub’s manager, and he has mob ties. The mayor’s death might also be linked to organized crime, and so Alex begins asking questions, although it is more for his mentor’s sake than for the mayor.
And of course, the mayor’s murder wasn’t an accident, or even one disgruntled citizen. As more people connected to the case are killed, it’s clear that Alex is in the middle of a dangerous situation. Read more
Murder at Kensington Palace is the third book in Andrea Penrose’s Wrexford & Sloane series of Regency-era historical mystery novels. I’ve read the other books in the series, so I was interested to see how the unlikely duo was going to handle their newest investigation.
This time, the victim is Cedric, a young man who recently inherited a barony. The prime suspect is Nicholas, the victim’s twin brother- the two were overheard arguing about the inheritance and the unfairness of Cedric receiving everything simply because he had the good fortune to be born a few minutes earlier. Read more
Who Slays the Wicked is the fourteenth book in C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr series of Regency-era historical mystery novels. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I have read the last few entries in the series, and I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen next- especially when I saw whose murder Sebastian was investigating. Read more