Twenty-eight year old Violet Hamilton is perfectly fine remaining unmarried and an old maid. Her father, however, has other ideas introducing Violet to what seems to be the entire population of Hastings. What Violet wants is to find her mother who disappeared 10 years ago without a word. It’s 1896 and detective work is ‘No Life For a Lady’ so she hires a detective, but he begins to uncover things that could threaten Violet’s reputation. The only thing to do is to solve the mystery herself.
When I first started this novel it wasn’t what I was expecting. It took me a little while to get used to the pace of the novel as well as the author’s writing style but as soon as I settled in, I truly enjoyed this quirky novel. Violet is a determined, single minded young woman but she’s also naive and somewhat misguided. She has not had a mother to ask questions about life and her father is unemotional and doesn’t want much to do with Violet because she reminds him of her mother. Although he does seem to want her to marry well, if only to get her out of his house. As Violet finds out things about her mother, it taints her view of the world and men in general. She goes out of her way to dissuade her beau’s from falling for her and is actually quite comical in her excuses to get away. This rather endears her character to me at the same time as making me shrink away in embarrassment for her.
It’s when Violet tries to hire the “other” detective in town that I begin to understand her motives a little bit better. This young woman, without a mother, is trying to find herself. She is a boat without a rudder and is spinning in circles. The only thing she thinks she knows is that she doesn’t want to get married because from what her mother told her it sounds awful. Benjamin, brings some stability to her life. He doesn’t try to hold her back, he in fact helps her with her detective work, giving sound advice and giving her life a little direction. Of course, he’s a man who she must not mislead- so there’s a little misdirection on her part to hold him at a distance.
No Life for a Lady was entertaining once I understood that I wasn’t reading a romance, but a coming of age story- despite the young woman being twenty-eight. It was also a mystery, but the disappearance of her mother tied into why Violet behaved so bizarrely. As a woman in the modern world, it is always interesting to see how women were subjugated and held back. The men in Violet’s life treated her pretty abominably which was why Benjamin was so refreshing. The author was very clever in giving us a lot of disreputable male characters to contrast and cast him in such a good light.
If you decide to read this book, give it a few chapters to find the pace and discover the humor and quirkiness in Violet’s character. She is truly an original and even though this book was pretty light-hearted what she went through made me think about her and women in her situation in the hours following my finishing the book. The mystery was secondary to a story that was entirely character driven but once it was solved it did explain quite a few things about the mystery that was Violet. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest.
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