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A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder

Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Heather Wilds
Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 Victoria Hamilton (P)2019 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[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)

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No cosy mystery

While well written and narrated, this is quite a dark historical mystery, dealing in child prostitution and rape, poverty, violence and women’s rights. It’s a good book but not if you’re looking for a little escapism!

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  • jessFW
  • 20-07-2019

Most irritating reader

Deadpan, halting and in no way lyrical .... she does do accents well, but the rest is so frustrating to read ... It was so distracting that it was difficult to decide if I liked the book or not.

4 people found this helpful

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  • B. Rogers
  • 02-10-2019

Very Disappointed

I liked the narrator's voice, but the delivery was sort of choppy on occasion. That could have been due more to editing than to the narrator's delivery.

** My rating is actually 1.5 Stars **

I love this author’s Vintage Kitchen Mysteries series so I couldn’t wait for this new series to start. The book blurb sounded great – just the new historical mystery series for which I’d been looking. Sadly, it turned into the longest three-hundred-sixty pages I’ve ever read. At several points, I almost marked it as DNF, but I did slog on through to the end.

Historical mysteries are my very favorite sub-genre – but I always want a romantic relationship in them. In this book, I can’t imagine there ever being a romantic relationship because I’ve never read a more unlovable or unlikable heroine in my life. I’ve liked some villains more than I liked this heroine. Emmeline St. Germaine is absolutely eaten up with rage and hate – she hates men (yes, hates is the correct word – unless you know a stronger one), she detests the monarchy, she doesn’t believe in God, she is bitter and she is a first-class shrew.

According to this tale, every female in England has been preyed upon, sexually abused and exploited – and – every male in England is a sexual deviant who abuses females – women and children. To me, Emmeline has some really sick reasoning – for instance – at the beginning of the book – she’s going to rescue a young scullery maid – she wants to time it so she catches the perpetrator in the act, but before any real damage has been done. Say what!!! It is okay if the little girl is abused, assaulted, and scared to death as long as the penetration hasn’t actually taken place.

While the book was supposedly set in the Regency period, the only indications of that were mentions of the king’s madness and the profligate prince regent. Nobody obeyed any of the social norms and the group of women who were so downtrodden and under the thumbs of the male population certainly seemed to do whatever they wanted when they wanted.

The only person I even remotely liked in the book was Dr. Woodforde. I am sure he is supposed to be the love interest, but given the way Emmeline speaks to him and treats him, I fail to see how he could possibly love her. If he does, he is definitely a masochist because she speaks to him worse than a dog.

The set-up for the next book puts the setting in an insane asylum. Frankly, I think that might be a good place for Emmaline.

I’m sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book.

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  • Jessie
  • 01-07-2019

Mediocre

I like Heather Wilds as a narrator, but I have to say with this story, there were a ton of characters to keep track of and her range of voices was too limited. I had to rewind often to listen to a part because most of the females sounded the same so I became confused.

The story itself was good in concept, but too tedious in execution. I’m a big fan of this genre but I felt like there were a million girls names mentioned and often all at once, so it was hard to keep them straight. The lead has some obvious backstory but it’s only barely hinted at throughout most of the book, and when finally revealed it’s not that shocking. I wanted to like this story but it was very average for the theme. The ending was also just not good. Seems like they edited out the actual ending and this was what remained.

If there’s another book in the series, it’s a maybe for me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Olivia Street
  • 14-05-2019

To prejudice

I like this reader, and I am all for strong female characters but the very out matched victimized women to almost every male being horrible is not good. I have a mother and a sister who were raped by an uncle, one at age three.. repeatedly. It happens more then anyone wants to admit, however, there are good men around. My brother Father, brother in law .. moreover the heroine is far to full of herself. Her brother an idiot. Actually the whole story is weak. The end far to rushed and deluded

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kim Fountain
  • 18-11-2019

Excellent novel by a skilled author

An unapologetic, survivor-centered book that names and calls out sexual violence? I was all in. Set in 1810, Regency London, where upper and middle class women are property of men and where poor girls are seen as expendable, this book doesn't use the euphemisms or glosses so often employed to explain away the abuses women and girls faced in order to move a mystery along. Nor does the author excuse the cultural systems in place that allowed predatory men to inflict harm and label it their right. Hamilton tells a story that centers strong women and as the story moves along, the ways that her thoughts become more complex opens her world to a group of other women, whose lives are intricately connected to her own. To be clear, Hamilton lays blame where it is deserved and does not tend toward sweeping statements unless the main character is struggling with how to make sense of just how many women's lives, across classes, included sexual violence and how even a single man can have had such a profoundly significant reach. I have worked in the field of SV for many years and listening to the women in this novel speak about such memories, some for the first time, was far too familiar.

I truly enjoyed this book and of the nearly 250 similar books I've listed to, count it among my favorites precisely because there are so many moments of women bonding to hold perpetrators accountable, even in naming the violence, that I wished showed up in other novels. If it helps, other authors I enjoy include Sherry Thomas, Deanna Raybourn, Rosemary Simpson, Charles Todd, and Theodora Goss, I also actually enjoyed that there was no romance. They can be fun when done well but in this case, would have been distracting.

Heather Wilds is one of my favorite narrators. I don't need all sorts of different character voices and truly enjoy how Wilds reads women's voices.

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  • Chay
  • 17-05-2019

Good for fanatic feminists

The actual story was good, if not well thought out and told. Too much of it came forward in great bursts of revelation. The rest of the book speaks to how horrible, chauvinist, lecherous, incestuous and despoiled men are in the 19th century. Every time the author sat down to write it was the same rant over and over. By the end I was ready to be done. I will NOT be reading another of her books. Concentrate on story and not your personal vendettas and grievances in life. It's not that you're wrong, but the same refrain without growth, resolution and appeal is tiring.

3 people found this helpful