Review: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates #2)

Title: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates #2)
Author: Julia Golding
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 22, 2021
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!

Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.

‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’

When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.

Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.

With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.


When the headmistress from their former school asks Cassandra Austen to attend their end of term hall, she brings her sister Jane along with her. They are excited to attend a fun event filled with dancing and fancy dresses. Jane befriends Brandon, the dance instructor’s assistant and a former slave. However, when a diamond necklace is stolen, Brandon is the first suspect. Jane is determined to prove Brandon’s innocence before he’s sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. 

The Jane Austen Investigates is a fun series because it reimagines a young Jane Austen as a detective. Jane encounters people who will later inspire her own novels. In this book, she meets Elinor and Marianne, among others, who will inspire her characters in Sense and Sensibility. 

Prejudice was an important part of this story too. Jane noticed right away that Brandon was being accused of the theft because he was Black. I don’t know how historically accurate it was for someone in Jane’s position to be able to defend someone against this kind of prejudice, but I’d like to imagine she would have done that in her real life. 

The Burglar’s Ball is a great Jane Austen Investigates mystery. 

Thank you Lion Hudson for proving a digital copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Burglar’s Ball? What did you think of it?

Sponsored Review: Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball

Title: Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball
Author: S.P. O’Farrell
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Publisher: Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
Source: Author
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 13, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Simone LaFray had never questioned one thing – the character of her father. A fourth generation chocolatier and proprietor of a world famous patisserie, in her eyes he could do no wrong. However, her eyes were trained to see everything that was wrong. A covert agent with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this extraordinary 12-year-old was living a double life, walking in the veiled footprints of her mother, icing eclairs, dusting pastries, and darting between the shadows. What could be sweeter? When a notorious thief returns to Paris seeking revenge against her mother, a series of unforeseen and potentially devastating events ensue, leaving Simone to question everything. Her father can’t be the man they say he is, can he? Her concealed life is evaporating, the store hangs in the balance . . . and did I mention she needs a ball gown? Life in a French patisserie may not be as sweet as you thought. Simone LaFray and the Chocolatier’s Ball pulls the invisible girl out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but is she ready?


Simone LaFray is a twelve-year-old spy from a family of chocolatiers. She works with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where her mother also works as an agent, while her father runs a chocolate patisserie. When an art thief returns to Paris to seek revenge on her mother, Simone takes charge of the investigation. The hunt for the thief leads her through art galleries and ultimately to the chocolatiers’ ball, where her father’s reputation is on the line. 

I was instantly drawn into this story with the evocative descriptions. Paris is a vibrant setting for a novel, and it felt like I was there while reading this book. The descriptions of the chocolate and sweet treats made my mouth water!

There were many layers to the mystery in this story. Simone had to investigate a notorious art thief, who had a rebellious reputation similar to Banksy. The mystery came close to home when Simone’s family was targeted by a thief. In the final chapters of the novel, I could tell that this was just the beginning of a larger mystery that would be continued in more stories. 

Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball was a fun middle grade mystery novel!

Thank you S.P. O’Farrell and for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

Simone LaFray and the Red Wolves of London by S.P. O’Farrell

Other books in the series:

  • Simone LaFray and the Red Wolves of London

Have you read Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball? What did you think of it?

Review: Four Aunties and a Wedding

Title: Four Aunties and a Wedding (Aunties #2)
Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 29, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.

Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family–actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene–over their dead bodies–and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.

The aunties are back, fiercer than ever and ready to handle any catastrophe–even the mafia–in this delightful and hilarious sequel by Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties.


Meddy Chen has worked at countless weddings, but it’s finally time for her own. Her mother and aunties find a Chinese-Indonesian family-run wedding company for Meddy’s wedding. The family is a mirror image of Meddy’s, including Staphanie, their wedding photographer, who can relate to Meddy’s problems with her family. However, the night before the wedding, Meddy overhears Staphanie talk about taking out a target at the wedding. Staphanie’s family isn’t a wedding vendor. They’re actually mafia, using Meddy’s wedding to murder someone. Meddy’s aunties and mother have to help her figure out who the target is and stop the mafia family before they ruin Meddy’s wedding. 

This story was a funny sequel, though not as funny as the first one. A lot of the humour from the first book came from the unexpected things that the aunties did to cover up the murder. I was expecting them to be outrageous in this story. However, there were some laugh out loud moments. 

I also found this story much more intense than the first one. A lot of the antics that they did to try to figure out who the target was were more serious than funny. I couldn’t see how they were going to get out of this mess. In the end, the explanation made sense to me so I was pleased with what happened. I hope there will be another book in this series because these are such fun characters!

Four Aunties and a Wedding is a great rom com sequel to Dial A for Aunties!

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

What to read next:

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Other books in the series:

Have you read Four Aunties and a Wedding? What did you think of it?

Review: The Raven Spell (Conspiracy of Magic #1)

Title: The Raven Spell (Conspiracy of Magic #1)
Author: Luanne G. Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: 47North
Source: Thomas Allen and Son
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 1, 2022
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

In Victorian England a witch and a detective are on the hunt for a serial killer in an enthralling novel of magic and murder.

After a nearly fatal blow to the skull, traumatized private detective Ian Cameron is found dazed and confused on a muddy riverbank in Victorian London. Among his effects: a bloodstained business card bearing the name of a master wizard and a curious pocket watch that doesn’t seem to tell time. To retrieve his lost memories, Ian demands answers from Edwina and Mary Blackwood, sister witches with a murky past. But as their secret is slowly unveiled, a dangerous mystery emerges on the darkened streets of London.

To help piece together Ian’s lost time, he and Edwina embark on a journey that will take them from the river foreshore to an East End music hall, and on to a safe house for witches in need of sanctuary from angry mortals. The clues they find suggest a link between a series of gruesome murders, a missing person’s case, and a dreadful suspicion that threatens to tear apart the bonds of sisterhood. As the investigation deepens, could Ian and Edwina be the next to die?


In Victorian England, sister witches Edwina and Mary Blackwood discover a man on the riverbank, nearly dead. Mary collects memories from corpses in little baubles, so she decides to take the memories from this man even though he isn’t dead yet. The man, Ian Cameron, wakes in hospital with no memory of his identity, with a business card of a witch and an unusual pocket watch in his pocket. The only clue Ian is given is to find the sisters who run a former apothecary shop. Meanwhile, strange murders are happening across the city, causing alarm. Though the sisters return some of his memories, many of Ian’s recent memories are missing, including the reason he was in town and what caused his accident. Edwina assists Ian in his investigation of the murders, a missing friend, and what caused his accident. 

This was an exciting and suspenseful fantasy mystery. I love it when fantasy is combined with historical fiction. There was a secret underground society of witches in this world. The story was fast paced, with a few different mysteries happening at the same time. 

The ages of the characters were never given, but I imagined the main characters to be in their early twenties. There was one part where an adult character is said to have a relationship with another character described as a child. It was only mentioned a couple of times but I found it kind of disturbing and out of place with the rest of the story. There were also mentions of suicide, but they were brief. 

This story ended on a cliffhanger. I’m really curious to see what happens in the next book!

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Have you read The Raven Spell? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Murder of Mr. Wickham

Title: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Vintage
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A summer house party turns into a whodunit when Mr. Wickham, one of literature’s most notorious villains, meets a sudden and suspicious end in this mystery featuring Jane Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. The unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.


The happily married Knightly couple decide to throw a house party, with four other couples attending. These couples are the Darcys and their son, Jonathan, the Wentworths, the Brandons, and the Bertrams, as well as Juliet Tilney, the daughter of the Tilneys. The party comes to an abrupt stop when Mr. Wickham shows up. He has harmed each member of the party, either by personally harming a female relative or swindling them out of money. Mr. Wickham is trapped there with everyone during a storm. Then one night he is found dead. Everyone there has a motive to kill him, but Juliet Tilney and Jonathan Darcy both have alibis. This younger generation take on the task of investigating the murder on their own, to prevent an innocent person from conviction. 

I love Jane Austen’s novels so I knew I would love this novel with all of them brought together. It was so well written! Each of the stories were assigned a year at the beginning of the book to show when they took place, so many years had passed from the events of some of the novels. It would be helpful for readers to be familiar with these characters before reading this one. The only problem I had was that the characters were very similar because they were similar in the original novels, but that isn’t a fault for this book. 

Mr. Wickham was a deplorable character from Pride and Prejudice, and he didn’t have any redeeming qualities. I don’t think I’ve ever read a mystery where I thought the victim deserved to be murdered right from the start. He had done horrible things to all of the characters, so any of them could be justified in murdering him. I was surprised at the outcome but I was glad at how it ended. 

The Murder of Mr. Wickham is a great murder mystery!

Thank you Vintage and Austenprose for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

About the author:

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs.

Have you read The Murder of Mr. Wickham? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Sense and Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #2)

Title: Sense and Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #2)
Author: Tirzah Price
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Three of Jane Austen’s classic novels receive a murder mystery makeover in this romantic and thrilling three-book series that’s perfect for fans of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy and Stalking Jack the Ripper. In Sense and Second-Degree Murder, aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood and her sister Marianne, a budding detective, work together to solve the mystery of their father’s murder.

When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.

But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.

Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love.


When eighteen-year-old Elinor Dashwood discovers her father’s body in his study, it’s only the beginning of their problems. Her father hadn’t updated his will since Elinor and her sisters were born, so everything he had was left to his son, John Dashwood, from his first marriage. John and his wife, Fanny, take their rightful inheritance and kick Elinor, Marianne, Margaret, and Mrs. Dashwood out of their house without their fortune. However, Elinor and Marianne aren’t comfortable with the way their father died. They search his study before they leave the house and discover evidence of murder. The sisters must investigate their father’s murder while also unravelling some other mysteries along the way.

I have read Sense and Sensibility a couple of times, but it isn’t one of my favourite books by Jane Austen. Despite that, I loved this adaptation. Mr. Dashwood had been a private investigator and his daughters took up that job once he was gone. This is completely different from Jane Austen’s story, yet this storyline fit into the plot of Sense and Sensibility perfectly. This book hit all the main plot points in a way that made sense to the original story.

I love adaptations of classics. I think they’re a great way to teach the younger generation about classical literature that can seem heavy at times. This book is the second in the Jane Austen Murder Mystery series. It could be read as a stand-alone, but there were some fun mentions of the first book which readers of Pride and Premeditation will love. I hope more of Austen’s novels will be adapted in this way because I loved it!

Sense and Second-Degree Murder is a great adaptation of Sense and Sensibility!

Thank you HarperTeen and TBR and Beyond Tours for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Other books in the series:

About the author:

Tirzah Price grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot, where she can be found recommending books on the site, newsletters, podcasts, and social media accounts. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters.Tirzah is pronounced TEER-zuh. Pronouns are she/her.

Where to buy:

Tour schedule:

April 4th
Kait Plus Books – Interview
Worlds Unlike Our Own – Review
Books With Michelle – Top 5 Reasons to Read Sense and Second-Degree Murder & Mood Board
Stephanie Reads – Review

April 5th
Stuck in Fiction – Promotional Post
Bibliophile On Loose – Review & Mood Board
laura’s bookish corner – Review
The Book View – Review & Mood Board

April 6th
Books and Strokes – Journal Spread
Pages & Plots – Promotional Post
Phannie the ginger bookworm – 15 Reactions While Reading Sense and Second-Degree Murder
Books Over Everything – Review

April 7th
The Book Dutchesses – Interview
Books Are Magic Too – Review
Book Notes by Athina – Promotional Post
Gwendalyn’s Books – Review

April 8th
Nine Bookish Lives – Promotional Post
Fanna for Books – Review
The Blind Scribe – Book Look
Jill’s Book Blog – Review

April 9th
Stuck in the Stacks – Review
decklededgess – Book Look
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post
The carly library – Review

April 10th
The Clever Reader – Interview
Ana en Noir – Review
Little Corner Reads – 15 Reactions While Reading Sense and Second-Degree Murder
teatimelit – Review

Have you read Sense and Second-Degree Murder? What did you think of it?

Review: The Witch’s Hand (The Montague Twins #1)

Title: The Witch’s Hand (The Montague Twins #1)
Author: Nathan Page, Drew Shannon
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Knopf
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Brothers. Detectives. Witches? Meet Pete and Alastair Montague in the first installment of a new graphic novel duology that is the Hardy Boys meets Paper Girls.

Pete and Alastair Montague are just a couple of mystery-solving twins, living an ordinary life. Or so they thought. After a strange storm erupts on a visit to the beach, they discover there is more to their detective skills than they had thought. Their guardian, David Faber, a once prominent professor, has been keeping secrets about their parents and what the boys are truly capable of.

At the same time, three girls go missing after casting a mysterious spell, which sets in motion a chain of events that takes their small town down an unexpected path. With the help of David’s daughter, Charlie, they discover there are forces at work that they never could have imagined, which will impact their lives forever.

An exciting new graphic novel from innovative creators Nathan Page and Drew Shannon that is at once timely and thrilling.


Pete and Al Montague are teenage twins who live with a professor and his family. Pete and Al solve mysteries in their town. However, they have a magical secret behind their success. After a storm, the boys find a mysterious witch in a lighthouse. Then three girls disappear, including the daughter of a prominent man in town. Along with the professor’s daughter, Charlie, Pete and Al investigate this disappearance and the mysteries of their town. 

This story was set in the 1960s, which reminded me of vintage Archie comics meets the Hardy Boys. There was some diversity in this story, with queer characters talking about coming out. I enjoyed this setting for this story. 

This was an exciting mystery novel. I loved the addition of some magic along with the mysteries. There was some witch lore involved as well. I liked that the mysterious elements were introduced in this story, and it left a lot of questions to be explored in the next volume. 

The Witch’s Hand is an exciting start to the Montague Twins series!

Thank you Penguin Teen Canada for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Devil’s Music by Nathan Page and Drew Shannon

Other books in the series:

  • The Devil’s Music

Have you read The Witch’s Hand? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: A Forgery of Roses

Title: A Forgery of Roses
Author: Jessica S. Olson
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 29, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.

She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.

But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.

Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.

Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.

From Sing Me Forgotten author Jessica S. Olson comes a gothic fantasy murder mystery perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Erin A. Craig.


Myra Whitlock is a Prodigy. That means she can paint someone’s portrait and then use it to alter their appearance in some way. Under the current Governor, Prodigies are illegal. Myra’s Mom, who was a Prodigy too, and her dad have disappeared. Myra is left to look after her ill sister on her own. When the Governor’s wife approaches Myra with a proposition that will give her a huge paycheck, she can’t resist. The Governor’s wife wants Myra to paint her son, who has secretly died, and bring him back to life. Myra has never brought anyone back to life, but it isn’t as easy as fixing a small injury on a portrait. She discovers a murder mystery which puts her life, and her sister’s life, at risk. 

This book reminded me so much of Stalking Jack the Ripper and The Picture of Dorian Gray, two of my favourite books. The idea that a portrait can alter a person’s real appearance is fascinating. Pictures can show things on a person that they don’t notice themselves. This talent that Myra had was useful at times but also dangerous because it can harm a person as well as heal them. 

I was completely shocked at the ending. The final twist was not what I expected at all. There were hints at the end of the possibility of a sequel and I hope there will be one because I loved this book!

A Forgery of Thorns is an exciting fantasy mystery!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

About the author:

Jessica S. Olson claims New Hampshire as her home but has somehow found herself in Texas, where she spends most of her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she’s not hiding from the heat, she’s corralling her four wild—but adorable—children, dreaming up stories about kissing and murder and magic, and eating peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. She earned a bachelor’s in English with minors in editing and French, which essentially means she spent all of her university time reading and eating French pastries. She is the author of Sing Me Forgotten (2021) and A Forgery of Roses (2022).

Have you read A Forgery of Roses? What did you think of it?

Review: The Storyteller

Title: The Storyteller
Author: Kathryn Williams
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Once Upon a Book Club Box
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 11, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

This story follows a teenage girl’s quest to uncover the truth behind her secretive great aunt Anna, who just might be the long lost Russian princess Anastasia.

It’s not every day you discover you might be related to Anastasia…or that the tragic princess actually survived her assassination attempt and has been living as the woman you know as Aunt Anna.

For Jess Morgan, who is growing tired of living her life to please everyone else, discovering her late aunt’s diaries shows her she’s not the only one struggling to hide who she really is. But was her aunt truly a Romanov princess? Or is this some elaborate hoax?

With the help of a supremely dorky, but undeniably cute, local college student named Evan, Jess digs into the century-old mystery.

But soon Jess realizes there’s another, bigger truth waiting to be revealed: Jess Morgan. Because if she’s learned anything from Aunt Anna, it’s that only you can write your own story.


In 2007, while Jess Morgan is helping her mom clean out her great-great aunt’s house a couple of years after she died, she finds an old trunk full of diaries. They’re all written in Russian, so she has to find a translator. Evan, a local college student accepts the job of translating them. However, they soon discover that the journals were written by Anastasia Romanov, who was supposedly killed with her family in 1918. Jess has to know if her aunt really was the Russian Princess, so she must do her own research to figure this out. Meanwhile, she has drama with her best friend, her boyfriend, and her parents. Jess uses her investigation into her great-great aunt to distract herself from the other problems in her life.

The story about Anastasia Romanov is fascinating. For some reason, throughout the 20th century, there have been many women who claimed to be her. One popular impersonator, Anna Anderson, was mentioned in this story. The main question in this story is whether Jess’s great-great aunt Anna really was Anastasia Romanov. 

The setting of 2007 is important to this story. There was a key discovery made in the Romanov mystery in that year. I won’t give it away in case it spoils the story. It cleared up a lot of questions I had about the story. I was worried the ending would be completely made up, but it followed the facts of the true story of Anastasia Romanov quite faithfully.

The Storyteller is a great YA mystery!

What to read next:

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Have you read The Storyteller? What did you think of it?

Review: The Maid

Title: The Maid
Author: Nita Prose
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary
Publisher: Viking
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 4, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.


Molly Gray is a twenty-five-year-old maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. She often struggles to read social cues, but she is meticulous about cleaning. One morning, she walks into a suite to find the wealthy Charles Black dead. Because of the unusual way that Molly behaves, misreading social cues and taking everything to have a literal meaning, she is targeted as the main suspect in the murder of Mr. Black. Molly must find support in some surprising friends to untangle the mystery that she has become involved in.

I knew this story was going to be great before I read it, and it didn’t disappoint! It is told in an unusual style. Molly is an unreliable narrator because she misunderstands a lot. She doesn’t recognize when other people are sarcastic or lying to her, though it was obvious most of the time. The narrative would go back and forth throughout time, depending on what needed to be told in the moment. This was an unconventional style, but it left clues for the reader and filled in gaps in time where they were needed.

The story was fast paced and very difficult to put down. I was certain that I knew what had happened, but I was still excited to read the story. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong. This story had a great ending that was surprising yet made sense.

The Maid is an amazing debut mystery!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book.

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Have you read The Maid? What did you think of it?