Review: Luck of the Titanic

Title: Luck of the Titanic
Author: Stacey Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Valora Luck has two things: a ticket for the biggest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world, and a dream of leaving England behind and making a life for herself as a circus performer in New York. Much to her surprise, though, she’s turned away at the gangway; apparently, Chinese people aren’t allowed into America.

But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother, Jamie, who has spent two long years at sea, is on board, as is an influential circus owner. Thankfully, there’s not much a trained acrobat like Val can’t overcome when she puts her mind to it.

As a stowaway, Val should keep her head down and stay out of sight. But the clock is ticking and she has just seven days as the ship makes its way across the Atlantic to find Jamie, audition for the circus owner, and convince him to help get them both into America.

Then one night, the unthinkable happens, and suddenly Val’s dreams of a new life are crushed under the weight of the only thing that matters: survival.

Review:

Valora Luck is excited to have a ticket for the Titanic, where she will surprise her twin brother who is also on board. After Valora’s employer, who was supposed to go on the trip with her, dies suddenly, Valora tries to get on the ship by herself. However, Chinese passengers aren’t allowed into America. Valora figures out a way to sneak on the ship to reunite with her brother Jamie. Her plan is for them to revive their acrobatics act to impress a circus owner. Jamie isn’t interested in doing their circus act anymore, or in staying in America with Valora. She has seven days of their journey to convince Jamie to follow their old dream, while also masquerading as a wealthy passenger.

This historical fiction was funny at times, but it also dealt with serious subjects. Valora, Jamie, and the other Chinese passengers had to face horrific racism. I was shocked when they said that she wouldn’t be allowed on the ship because she was Chinese. That was just the first in a series of racist incidents. When Valora wore a veil and dressed to impersonate her employer, she was treated completely differently, with a lot of respect. This reinforced the racism that was directed towards Valora. It’s so devastating that anti-Asian racism still happens today, though perhaps not as openly as in this book.

Since this book was set on the Titanic, I knew what would happen at the end. I kept waiting for the moment when the Titanic would hit the iceberg and sink. I was hopeful that, since this is a fictional story, something would happen and the ship would survive. I won’t give away the ending but I found it shocking and sad.

Luck of the Titanic is a heartbreaking historical young adult novel.

Thank you Penguin Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Have you read Luck of the Titanic? What did you think of it?

Review: The Devil and the Heiress

Title: The Devil and the Heiress (The Gilded Age Heiresses #2)
Author: Harper St. George
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sparks fly when a runaway heiress bargains with a devilish rogue to escape a marriage of convenience. 

No one would guess that beneath Violet Crenshaw’s ladylike demeanor lies the heart of a rebel. American heiresses looking to secure English lords must be on their best behavior, but Violet has other plans. She intends to flee London and the marriage her parents have arranged to become a published author–if only the wickedly handsome earl who inspired her most outrageously sinful character didn’t insist on coming with her.

Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh, has a scheme of his own: escort the surprisingly spirited dollar princess north and use every delicious moment in close quarters to convince Violet to marry him. Christian needs an heiress to rebuild his Scottish estate but the more time he spends with Violet, the more he realizes what he really needs is her–by his side, near his heart, in his bed.

Though Christian’s burning glances offer unholy temptation, Violet has no intention of surrendering herself or her newfound freedom in a permanent deal with the devil. It’s going to take more than pretty words to prove this fortune hunter’s love is true….

Review:

Violet Crenshaw’s American parents want her to get married. She doesn’t like the husband they’ve chosen for her, so she decides to flee London so she can work on her manuscript at an artist’s retreat. Just as Violet is ready to flee, she’s stopped by Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh. He offers to give her a ride out of the city, so she can run away from her family. Violet doesn’t know that Christian asked Violet’s father if he could marry her, but he was turned down. Christian hopes that he can convince Violet that they should get married on their long trip north. However, an accident throws them together in an unexpected way. Violet has to try to keep herself from falling for the devilish Christian while he tries to charm her into marriage.

This was such a fun sequel to The Heiress Gets a Duke. That book followed Violet’s older sister August who wasn’t in this story that much because she was traveling back to America at the end of that book.

There was a lot of steamy romance in this book. I loved Violet and I could relate to her desire to be a writer. She had to struggle with rejection, but she kept pursuing her dream.

The romance for the next book in the series was introduced throughout the book. It will follow Violet’s brother, who made a couple of appearances in this story. I can’t wait to read that one.

The Devil and the Heiress is a fun historical romance!

Thank you Berkley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Devil and the Heiress? What did you think of it?

Review: How to Survive in the North

Title: How to Survive in the North
Author: Luke Healy
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Nobrow Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

With stunning narrative skill, this compelling graphic novel intricately weaves together true-life narratives from 1912, 1926 and a fictional story set in the present day. How To Survive in the North is an unforgettable journey of love and loss, showing the strength it takes to survive in the harshest conditions.

Review:

2013: Sully Barnaby is put on leave from the university where he works after having a relationship with a student. He finds comfort in the library, researching the Arctic expeditions of 1912 and 1926. The 1912 expedition follows a grumpy captain, Robert Bartlett, whose ship ends up stranded on a deserted island. In 1926, another group of explorers went on the same expedition. Ada Blackjack told their story of being stranded on the same island.

All of the characters in these three alternating narratives have to deal with some kind of crisis. Sully had a midlife crisis after being placed on a leave of absence. Bartlett and Blackjack had to solve problems to survive in the Arctic. Bartlett was a captain who had to make decisions to save his crew. Blackjack had to learn survival skills, such as how to hunt, so that she could survive until she was rescued. They all faced different forms of crisis and survivals.

Each of these stories were devastating in their own ways. Sully lost all of his life’s work and had to give up his job because of the relationship he had with his student. He learned from reading about the Arctic expeditions how to pick up his life and continue on. The 1912 and 1926 narratives were set in harsh living conditions. Many people died on those expeditions. They also had to hunt and kill animals to survive. Some of these scenes were upsetting to read, but they reflect that period and place in history.

How to Survive in the North is a fascinating graphic novel about the Arctic expeditions.

Thank you Nobrow Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Americana by Luke Healy

Have you read How to Survive in the North? What did you think of it?

Review: Magic Dark and Strange

Title: Magic Dark and Strange
Author: Kelly Powell
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Bone Witch meets Sherlock Holmes in this thrilling historical fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead who must delve into her city’s dangerous magical underworld to stop a series of murders.

Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final goodbye. But this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life.

When Catherine is given the unusual task of collecting a timepiece from an old grave, she is sure that the mysterious item must contain some kind of enchantment. So she enlists Guy Nolan, the watchmaker’s son, to help her dig it up. But instead of a timepiece, they find a surprise: the body of a teenage boy. And as they watch, he comes back to life—not as the pale imitation that Catherine can conjure, but as a living, breathing boy. A boy with no memory of his past.

This magic is more powerful than any Catherine has ever encountered, and revealing it brings dangerous enemies. Catherine and Guy must race to unravel the connection between the missing timepiece and the undead boy. For this mysterious magic could mean the difference between life and death—for all of them.

Review:

Catherine Daly works at a printer, setting the pages for obituaries, but at night she has a special talent. She goes to cemeteries, digs up graves, and uses her magic to allow loved ones to have a final goodbye. For every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour of her life. One day, she’s instructed to dig up an unmarked grave of a coffin maker and retrieve a special timepiece that is enchanted to bring the dead back to life, permanently. She gets help from Guy Nolan, the son of a watchmaker. However, when they open the grave, they discover a decades old body and no timepiece. The body comes back to life as a boy, close in age to Catherine. He doesn’t remember anything about his past or the timepiece. Catherine’s employer is still expecting the timepiece, so Catherine, Guy, and the new boy Owen, have to search for the timepiece before it’s too late.

I loved the dark and spooky atmosphere of this book. It was set in a fictional town that reminded me of Victorian England. There was a little magic, with the special power that Catherine had and the magical timepiece. There was lots of time spent in cemeteries which is always fun in a spooky novel.

I found some scenes a little repetitive. They returned to the cemetery a lot, which was understandable since the mystery centered around the cemetery. Some of the scenes were very similar so it felt repetitive. I figured out the secret behind what happened to the timepiece before the ending. I think it was the most logical explanation, so I was glad I got it right.

Magic Dark and Strange is a great spooky read!

What to read next:

Cadaver and Queen by Alisa Kwitney

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Have you read Magic Dark and Strange? What did you think of it?

Review: The House of Serendipity

Title: The House of Serendipity
Author: Lucy Ivison
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fans of Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy series and budding fashionistas everywhere will love this charming, delightful middle-grade novel about two girls with a talent for dressmaking set in 1920s London.

As Myrtle Mathers and Sylvia Cartwright know, the perfect dress can change everything. When Myrtle leaves her family’s tailoring shop to work as a lady’s maid in the grand home of the aristocratic Cartwright family, she thinks her days of sketching and stitching are over for good. That is until the spirited Sylvia Cartwright runs into a big problem–her older sister Delphine’s debutante ball is about to be ruined by a truly horrendous dress. Desperate, Sylvia calls on Myrtle to help her save the night, and a serendipitous partnership begins.

Their design for Delphine catches the eyes of all of London’s debutantes, including the prominent Agapantha Portland-Prince, who has the whole city buzzing about what she will wear to her extravagant ball. So when she practically begs Myrtle and Sylvia to dress her, the two girls make a plan: create something special for Agapantha without revealing their true identities. If the Cartwrights find out what Myrtle and Sylvia are up to, it could spell disaster for the girls’ futures.

But as it turns out, Agapantha is looking for more than just a gorgeous outfit–she needs a disguise that will help her escape high-society life forever. And for Myrtle and Sylvia, what starts out as a plan to prove their design prowess soon becomes a secret mission to defy expectations.

In this fabulous, fantastical adventure through 1920s London, author Lucy Ivison introduces a delightful new series about the magic of friendship, fashion, and being yourself. 

Review:

1920s, London: When Myrtle’s mother has to sell their tailoring shop, Myrtle is sent to be a lady’s maid at the home of the Cartwright family. There, she meets Sylvia, the young daughter of the house. Sylvia’s older sister is supposed to make her debut to society but she hates the dress that was made for her. Sylvia enlists Myrtle’s help to remake the dress so her sister likes it. When that dress is a hit in society, others want the be dressed by the same designer. Sylvia’s friend Lady Agapantha hires them to create a special look for her debut and to help her form a new identity to follow her dream. This project is almost too big for Sylvia and Myrtle, and can either make or break their designing partnership.

This story reminded me of Downton Abbey, but for a middle grade audience. Myrtle worked as a lady’s maid but she became friends with Lady Sylvia. The other workers in the palace had to remind Myrtle that she shouldn’t be too friendly with the family of the house because she was there to work for them. However, Sylvia was able to persuade Myrtle to help her with designing clothes. I kept imagining Sylvia and Myrtle as Lady Mary and Anna from Downton Abbey, if they were young girls who became friends in unlikely circumstances.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the sketches of the outfits. Since this story had so many descriptive outfits created by Myrtle and Sylvia, it was nice to see what they would have looked like. This was a great addition to this fashion themed story.

The House of Serendipity is a fun middle grade novel!

Thank you Razorbill for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

The Runaway Girls by Jacqueline Wilson

Have you read The House of Serendipity? What did you think of it?

Review: Pride and Premeditation (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1)

Title: Pride and Premeditation (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1)
Author: Tirzah Price
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit. 

When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.

Review:

When there’s a scandalous murder in London, aspiring lawyer Elizabeth Bennet uses the opportunity to get some experience. She comes up against Fitzwilliam Darcy, a lawyer at Pemberley Associates. Lizzie wants to prove to her father that she can be a lawyer at their law firm by solving the murder and prove that Darcy’s friend Bingley is innocent. However, the case is much more complicated than Lizzie expected and puts her life in danger, with Darcy being the only one who can save her.

This is a fun twist on Pride and Prejudice. I love different retellings of this classic romance. This one was set in the late 1800s, with Lizzie aspiring to follow her father’s footsteps in their law firm. If she can’t prove herself to him, the law firm will be inherited by his cousin, Mr. Collins. Many of the themes and relationships were the same as the original story, but they had the added layer of a murder trial.

I really liked the ending of this book. All of the characters that I didn’t like in Pride and Prejudice had to face justice in this book. This was a slightly more modern take on the story, since Lizzie wanted a career as a lawyer, yet it was still historical fiction. I listened to the audiobook edition. It was really well done and easy to follow.

Pride and Premeditation is a great adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Thank you HarperTeen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Have you read Pride and Premeditation? What did you think of it?

Review: The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

Title: The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
Author: Robin Maxwell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Arcade
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 1, 2021 (originally April 24, 1997)
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

One was queen for a thousand days; one for over forty years.  Both were passionate, headstrong women, loved and hated by Henry VIII.  Yet until the discovery of the secret diary, Anne Boleyn and her daughter, Elizabeth I, had never really met.  

Anne was the second of Henry’s six wives, doomed to be beloved, betrayed, and beheaded. When Henry fell madly in love with her upon her return from an education at the lascivious French court, he was already a married man. While his passion for Anne was great enough to rock the foundation of England and of all Christendom, in the end he forsook her for another love, schemed against her, and ultimately had her sentenced to death.  But unbeknownst to the king, Anne had kept a diary.

At the beginning of Elizabeth ‘s reign, it is pressed into her hands.  In reading it, the young queen discovers a great deal about her much-maligned mother:  Anne’s fierce determination, her hard-won knowledge about being a woman in a world ruled by despotic men, and her deep-seated love for the infant daughter taken from her shortly after her birth.

In journal’s pages, Elizabeth finds an echo of her own dramatic life as a passionate young woman at the center of England ‘s powerful male establishment, and with the knowledge gained from them, makes a resolution that will change the course of history.

Review:

When Queen Elizabeth I is given her mother Anne Boleyn’s secret diary, she learns the truth about her parents’ relationship. Anne was Henri VIII’s second wife, but they had a very unstable relationship, ending in Anne’s death. Elizabeth sees a new perspective of her mother’s life, which determines the choices she makes in her new reign.

I love reading about Anne Boleyn, so I was excited to read this novel. There were dual narratives of Elizabeth, just beginning her long reign as Queen, and Anne, who was the second wife of Henry VIII. Elizabeth didn’t know this side of the story, since her mother died when she was a toddler. She had to learn her true history without the veil of her father’s narrative.

The ending of this story was very clever. There was a decision that Elizabeth made after learning about her mother’s life. She wanted to live her life differently and independently, and I believe she did that. I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth’s and Anne’s stories side by side.

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn is a must read for fans of Tudor historical fiction!

Thank you Arcade for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Have you read The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn? What did you think of it?

Review: Malibu Rising

Title: Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

Review:

Malibu 1983: Nina Riva always has a big end-of-summer party with her younger siblings. The four of them: Nina, Jay, Hudson, and Kit, are the children of singer Mick Riva, who abandoned them and their mother. All of Malibu is fascinated by the Rivas, and are drawn to the Riva party every year. This party is going to be life changing for each of the Riva siblings. Nina doesn’t want to be in the spotlight anymore after her professional tennis player husband left her for another tennis player. Jay is waiting for the girl of his dreams to show up. Hudson has important news that he must confess to his brother before it’s too late. Kit decides she wants to grow up at this party and finally kiss a boy. The party gets out of control, with alcohol and drugs flowing everywhere. By the next morning, the house will go up in flames. The four siblings must decide what’s most important in their lives and what can be left behind.

This was a tragic story about a tragic family. Though the four children had a famous singer for a father, he wasn’t there to look after them. They didn’t have enough money and had to look after themselves. There was a lot of generational trauma, with problems from their parents’ generation passing onto the children.

Even though the ending of the story is given in the synopsis, I had no idea how they would get there. Though I could figure out things that would happen before they happened, I got chills when I read the words. This story had a unique omniscient narrator, who knew everything that was happening in each character’s mind. The characters’ motives couldn’t be hidden from this narrator, but when the ending of the story is given away in the synopsis, this type of narration works well.

There are some trigger warnings such as alcohol and drug abuse, accidental drowning, abandonment, and adultery. Death at childbirth was mentioned but not part of the present story.

I was shocked and pleasantly surprised at the ending. It wasn’t what I expected at all.

Malibu Rising is a beautiful, tragic story that is perfect for the summer.

Thank you Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Have you read Malibu Rising? What did you think of it?

Review: To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #1)

Title: To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #1)
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

Review:

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton, likes to flirt and argue with her brother’s friend Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham. One evening, they make a bet for a hundred pounds that Jeremy will marry within the year. Soon after that wager, Jeremy ends the romance with his current mistress, which leads her to spread rumors about his skills in bed. Jeremy wants an opinion on his skills, so he proposes a brief affair with Diana to get her honest critique. Diana hopes to start her own rumors with this affair, to signal that she is ready to take a lover. What Jeremy and Diana don’t expect is to fall for each other.

I’ve read a few stories with a similar plot to this one, but this type of storyline never gets old. This enemies to lovers trope is so much fun. The tension between Jeremy and Diana when they argued easily led to romantic tension between them.

This story had some different scenarios that a woman would have been in during the Regency period when finding a husband. Diana didn’t have any money so she had to find a husband when she was young. He died a couple of years later, making her a wealthy widow who didn’t need to find another husband. Her friend Violet found a husband in the previous novel To Have and to Hoax. They had some drama but they were mostly a happy couple. Another character did not want to find a husband for a secret reason, so she manipulated her public image to make her seem unappealing to potential suitors. Though these women were all in a similar position, following society’s standard of looking for a husband, they each had different motivations behind what they were doing.

This was such a great Regency romance!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George

Other books in the series:

Have you read To Love and to Loathe? What did you think of it?

Review: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery

Title: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery
Author: Julia Golding
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 23, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?

Review:

1789: After her older sister is injured, thirteen-year-old Jane Austen is sent in her place to be a companion to Lady Cromwell while she prepares for her son’s birthday party. Jane is excited to go so she can solve the mystery of the ghost that haunts the Abbey. However, Jane soon has to investigate some incidents. Two horses go missing and a fire burns part of the library on the same night. Jane must sneak around the Abbey to figure out who is to blame for these two crimes.

As soon as I saw this novel about a young Jane Austen who investigates mysteries, I knew I had to read it. This is a middle grade mystery novel, similar to Nancy Drew but set in the 18th century. Jane was a hilarious character, who was outspoken and sneaky, but I don’t think she was like the real Jane Austen at that age. Jane made some funny comments, such as writing an obituary for her dress that was ruined which promoted her third-best dress to second-best dress. She was a witty and entertaining character.

Another thing I liked about this story was the way that it hinted to Jane’s future novels. There were characters named Fitzwilliam and Tilney, like the characters in Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. The story was also set in a haunted Abbey, like Northanger Abbey. There was even some diversity in the story, which wouldn’t have been in a story written during that time period. Jane became friends with an Indian girl, Deepti, who lived at the Abbey with her father, the cook. These additions to this historical fiction story made it more relatable to a modern audience.

I loved this story. I hope there will be more Jane Austen Investigates novels!

Thank you Lion Fiction for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Have you read Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery? What did you think of it?