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  • The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies

  • By: Alison Goodman
  • Narrated by: Kristin Atherton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

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The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies

By: Alison Goodman
Narrated by: Kristin Atherton
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Publisher's Summary

A high society amateur detective at the heart of Regency London uses her wits and invisibility as an 'old maid' to protect other women in a new and fiercely feminist historical mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman.

Longlisted for the 2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize

Welcome to the secret life of the Colebrook twins: unnoticed old maids to most, but unseen champions to those in need—society be damned.

Lady Augusta Colebrook, 'Gus', is determinedly unmarried, bored by society life, and tired of being dismissed at the age of forty-two. She and her twin sister, Julia, who is grieving her dead betrothed, need a distraction. One soon presents itself: to rescue their friend's goddaughter, Caroline, from her violent husband.

The sisters set out to Caroline's country estate with a plan, but their carriage is accosted by a highwayman. In the scuffle, Gus accidentally shoots the ruffian, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, an acquaintance from their past who was charged with murder and exiled to Australia twenty years ago. With Lord Evan injured and unconscious, the sisters have no choice but to bring him on their mission to save Caroline. What follows is a high adventure full of danger, clever improvisation, heart-racing near misses, and a little help from a revived and rather charming Lord Evan.

And so begin the beguiling adventures of the Colebrook twins ...

'Goodman's ladies are the undercover Regency heroes we've been waiting for! This is sparkling, thrilling, romantic fun.' Toni Jordan

'Witty and poignant, this is a clever twist on historical romance and mystery. The Colebrook twins are the Regency's answer to Holmes and Watson!' Belinda Alexandra

'A joyous romp through Regency England that is equally entertaining, revealing, feminist, heartbreaking and humorous' Books+Publishing

'Heroines can appear out of nowhere and soon become indispensable, and such is the case with Lady Augusta Colebrook, who, with her twin sister Lady Julia, is at the heart of this compelling, enthralling, unforgettable novel. You will be very glad you've let Gus into your life then wonder how you ever did without her.' Sophie Green

'Such an unexpected book. A Regency romp, like a 21st-century Georgette Heyer, with gay characters, people of colour and a feisty and independent heroine in her 40s. Just wonderful and delicious.' Maggie Alderson

'Fresh and fearless, Alison Goodman's exquisitely written, impeccably researched genre-blending novel shines a light in the darkest corners of Regency England. The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies is part heart-racing adventure, part gothic mystery, part tantalizing romance, and wholly wonderful. I can't wait for the next instalment!' Joanna Lowell, author of Artfully Yours

'Fierce, funny, and often dark, this is an eye-opening portrait of a colorful yet misogynistic period in English history. Readers will be eager to return for the duo's next adventure.' Publishers Weekly

'A truly delightful feminist adventure story that will have you cheering on the unconventional Colebrook sisters in all their exploits.' Stephanie Marie Thornton, USA Today bestselling author of Her Lost Words

©2023 Alison Goodman (P)2023 HarperCollins Publishers

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A Regency Romp Like No Other

A no holes barred story of intrigue told with intelligence, tension and romance. A sometimes naked look at the realities of the period, particularly for women but endured with manners and lace.

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Although some horrible circumstances for women, the heroine & her loves prove a great story

Can’t wait for book 2 with Gus, Evan, Julia & Kent .. I hope the get up to more mischievous timeless fun & adventure

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A fun and gripping romp!! Loved it!!

Gripping, engaging, whimsical, fun with a dashing uncharacteristic hero and a nice escape from the present, for listeners.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

Am first few chapters a little slow (but always hard to adjust to a new narrator and story line off the back of a previous epic tale!) but oh so worth sticking to it! I found this book by searching the Narrator (who is a new fave female voice!) and loved the story just as much! I hope there is another…so much more to cover!

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Love and mystery

It took me a little to warm to Gus but soon did and loved the relationship with her and her sister and of course Lord Evan.

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Loved the characters but needed more from the story

I loved these characters but I found that I was wanting more in the way of how they escaped each sticky situation. I felt at times the story was dragged out but at others it lacked detail or verged on predictablility. I was also left feeling like the story was unresolved in its ending.

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Gripping

This Georgette Heyer fan was thrilled with the characters and plot. I'll be buying the next one.

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fun regency adventures

I found the opening chapters to be slow in pace and unnecessarily descriptive, however, I am glad that I continued as once the plot developed, I was enthralled. The title of the novel is charming, implying that the novel is equally charming. This isn't entirely accurate. Whilst the characters are compelling, the relationships are nuanced and the plot moves quickly in unexpected ways, it should be noted that the subject matter of this book is at times, very challenging. I commend the author for writing descriptions of the atrocious human rights abuses of the time; she does this through engaging storytelling of schemes and rescues, and whilst I do recommend the novel, I also think people should know that it is not a cosy read. I especially appreciated that the main characters are unmarried women in their 40s and possess a strength of character appropriate to intelligent women of independence. I very much enjoyed this novel and now look to see if a sequel exists.

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  • AC
  • 29-12-2023

Wonderful!!!

Such a wonderful book! Very well written and narrated. Can’t wait for the next one!

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Loved it

Most enjoyable listening and I will look forward to listening to the next instalment
in 2024

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