Series: A Gentlewoman’s Guide To Murder #1
Publication Date: 2/8/19
Number of Pages: 360
** 1.5 stars rounded up **
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.