I really was impatient with the heroine of this series, Melanie Middleton, in the first book. Yes, her mother went away without her and abandoned her...moreI really was impatient with the heroine of this series, Melanie Middleton, in the first book. Yes, her mother went away without her and abandoned her with no explanation or reason; her father raised her, but her childhood was anything but happy. Her father dissolved into alcoholism and Melanie had to be the stronger person and make sure he could get up, compose himself and go to work and uphold his responsibilities.
Yes, while I did not live this life; while I realize how painful, how debilitating, how overwhelming this could to a child; I found myself unsympathetic and critical of the adult Melanie. She seemed to revel in her pain; perversely enjoy the injustice of her mother and father’s treatment of her. She is very unforgiving and quick to find abuse and hurt in everyone she meets; especially Jack Trenholm, the “love” interest in this story.
This book was not much different at the start. While she seems to have come to develop a truce and the beginnings of a relationship with her father; who has stopped drinking and absolved to be sober; she still cannot event attempt to relate, listen to, or understand her mother. She is a spoiled, petulant child – so consumed by her pain and dysfunctional childhood that she cannot see or fathom the reasons that may have prompted her parents to do what they did. It all centers on her; her hurt, her abandonment, her “abuse”.
My impatience stems from the fact that she is almost 40 years old. Don’t you think in this time she could have obtained some perspective; some experience; some wisdom? I’m not trying to dismiss how dysfunctional and painful her childhood was. I can empathize with that. My impatience is with the child she seems to be; her stubbornly holding on to the hurts and injustices of her past, even though life should have taught her to grow a bit beyond that at this point in her life.
Well, she redeems herself, at least to me in this book. She does start to see how everything does not revolve around her; her hurts; the injustice of her early life. She grows and gains perspective, wisdom. While more understanding and forgiving of her mother, she is still very distrustful and suspicious of Jack; not realizing how her actions have driven Jack away; how her inability to trust, open up and enjoy live has pushed people away from her.
I ultimately enjoyed this book very much and have become more forgiving and sympathetic to Melanie. I hope the third book resolve the remaining issues and puts Melanie and Jack onto a better road in the future. (less)
Very good book. I really like the heroine, Judge Deborah Knott, who gets involved in solving murders, but most of the time, avoids the overt nosiness...moreVery good book. I really like the heroine, Judge Deborah Knott, who gets involved in solving murders, but most of the time, avoids the overt nosiness and recklessness most cozy heroines display. This is not a cozy mystery - this has more thought and was probably timely politically when it was written, the story involving the burning of black churches in the south.
Description of this book on Goodreads explains the back story/history better than the book does. You eventually understand more as the books goes on,...moreDescription of this book on Goodreads explains the back story/history better than the book does. You eventually understand more as the books goes on, which is not bad. I don't mind learning slowly and in pieces.
This is a very thoughtful book. I really appreciate that, especially after all the cozy mysteries I have read. Cozies have their place, but they can be too simplistic and almost stupid at times. This is in no way simplistic or stupid at all.
Death, the Grim Reaper, is an interesting character in this book. Much more sympathetic than most portrayals. One of the thing not explained, but may be revealed more in other books in the series, is why Death is "haunting" and following Casey. He is very amusing and sometimes insightful in this book, but I don't understand his seeming fixation on Casey. Hope to learn more as I read more. (less)
I was almost tempted to give this four stars, since I enjoyed this book, the third in the series, the most so far. I think that was because their was...moreI was almost tempted to give this four stars, since I enjoyed this book, the third in the series, the most so far. I think that was because their was less focus on Georgie's reduced circumstances (a penniless member of the royal family of England) and more on her enlistment to help investigate what may be a plot to bump off heirs to the throne. She may be an amateur in terms of her investigative skills, but at least she doesn't seem quite as foolhardy as many cozy heroines - just gullible.
I also am enjoying the evolving relationship between Georgie and the equally penniless Irish lord, who apparently is not as frivolous as he seems on the surface. He apparently works on mysteries assignments in service to the crown and for the protection of the country. He certainly has pulled Georgie out of the fire several times.
This book is very amusing as well. Some of humor in the fist two books fell flat with me; especially that which was based on Georgie's trying to make her way in the world, with no marketable skills and a basic lack of knowledge on how to fend for herself on an everyday basis without servants. I realize she wasn't brought up to be self-reliant and her family's lack of money makes it hard for her to maintain the standards of living expected of the even the lower ranked members of the royal family. I just can't empathize or sympathize much with the royal family, however. (less)
This was not as satisfying a read as I expected. I remember reading most, if not all of an earlier series by the same author, 44 Scotland Street, and...moreThis was not as satisfying a read as I expected. I remember reading most, if not all of an earlier series by the same author, 44 Scotland Street, and enjoying it very much. I usually like books with "ensemble" cast of characters, for lack of a better term. I love the weaving in and out of the different lives and stories; the switch in points of view and sometimes learning how intertwined all the character's lives actually are.
This had all that, but something was a bit flat for me. Not every one is entirely likable, but that's okay. Smith portrays the faults and foibles of human's very realistically and sympathetically. I just can't put my finger on what was missing or not quite right. (less)
I hate to say it, but after enjoying the first three books very much, this was a let down and a bit of a disappointment. I think this was partly due t...moreI hate to say it, but after enjoying the first three books very much, this was a let down and a bit of a disappointment. I think this was partly due to the setting - the Ottoman Empire of the Victorian era; not a culture that holds a lot in interest for me. Unfortunately, the lead characters, Lady Emily and her new husband, Colin Hargreaves, were also disappointing.
Lady Emily is still set on maintaining her independence and becoming a partner to her husband in investigations and service to their country. Colin supports her, but both are becoming a bit much to bear. Lady Emily is bordering on being totally self-centered and maybe has already crossed over. Colin's support and patience of his wife is almost too hard to believe any longer; especially since Emily hides things from him and is still somewhat foolhardy in her investigations.
What disappointing book is not bad enough to stop this series. After all, it wasn't a bad read, just not as good as the previous books. (less)
Love the horses and learning about the horse world. However, Michaela is just too nosy and impulsive. If she has any common sense, it appears it take...moreLove the horses and learning about the horse world. However, Michaela is just too nosy and impulsive. If she has any common sense, it appears it take back seat and even is buried by her need to know and poor impulse control. She sits her nose where it doesn't belong.
Yes, she's accused of murder in this book and she wants to clear herself. That doesn't mean she has the right to barge in on people and ask questions and interrogate them.
Doesn't appear there is another in the series right now, which I think is okay by me. I don't think I have the patience for Michaela and her antics. (less)
I am thoroughly enjoying this series. I love the feisty, independent heroine, Lady Emily Ashton, ahead of her time in the Victorian age, and her oh so...moreI am thoroughly enjoying this series. I love the feisty, independent heroine, Lady Emily Ashton, ahead of her time in the Victorian age, and her oh so “perfect” man, Colin Hargreaves, who is apparently some type of “secret agent” for the Queen (Victoria). Far-fetched; sure – outlandish; maybe. I don’t care. I really am engrossed in this series and am still looking forward to the next book.
I was a bit distressed in this book to find that Colin had an earlier passion and love, other than Lady Emily. I guess it’s to be expected. Both Colin and Emily, while still young, are no longer in the first bloom of young adulthood and both are old enough to have histories. Lady Emily’s is known from the first book. Colin’s past was a bit of a surprise in this book, but really, it probably shouldn’t have been. I guess I am enough of a romantic that I wanted Lady Emily to be Colin’s only one true love.
It didn’t detract from my enjoyment, however; it just put a little bit of angst in another lovely story. (less)
Okay - now I remember why I stopped reading this series. Claire Mallory is so self-absorbed, so self-centered and so full of her herself, she gets unb...moreOkay - now I remember why I stopped reading this series. Claire Mallory is so self-absorbed, so self-centered and so full of her herself, she gets unbearable after awhile. I'm sure this is supposed to be tough in cheek and funny, but it doesn't come off that way; at least not to me.
She also seems to think she is better at investigating murders than the police; even though her new husband is a police official. (I guess she is in a sense - this is a series about her.) The police don't have the same sense of urgency she does and they get bogged down trying to find evidence. She on the other hand, goes off with her hair-brain theories.
Not sure I'll try another; but I must admit, I am curious about the honeymoon in Egypt, which is apparently what the previous book is about. May try that one. (less)
One of the earlier books, with just hints of the paranormal that seems and integral part of her later works. I kind of miss the paranormal aspects of...moreOne of the earlier books, with just hints of the paranormal that seems and integral part of her later works. I kind of miss the paranormal aspects of the later books, but this was a very enjoyable romantic suspense. The characters are not over the top and very likable, sympathetic and believable.
I may need to try more of these earlier books and broaden my horizons. (less)
Yeah!!! A Heroine that doesn't go off half cocked - at least not in this book. She does get herself in sticky situation, but for once (and it seems li...moreYeah!!! A Heroine that doesn't go off half cocked - at least not in this book. She does get herself in sticky situation, but for once (and it seems like forever since this has happened), there is a good reason for her getting herself into this situation. I may bump this up another star for that reason alone.
Okay, I was all ready to say that this was it - I'm not continuing with this series. However, I was not done with the book. I was about 92% done when...moreOkay, I was all ready to say that this was it - I'm not continuing with this series. However, I was not done with the book. I was about 92% done when I was ready to throw in the towel: then the last 7% hooked me again. Oh my god - I'm hooked by the heroine's potential romance and love interest. I can't believe it. The woman who professes to not really like romances.
Frankly, much of the book was tedious. Its supposed to be humorous, that Georgie, thirty-four in line to the throne on England, is trying to make her way in the world as a penniless royal. Much of the humor is supposed to come from her reduced circumstances and having to do things for herself that she never had to before (like get a job so she has money; make her own breakfast, lunch, etc; clean). I don't find this amusing. This is life for most of us.
But it was a recurring character and love interest, Darcy O'Mara, a supposedly penniless Irish lord, that hooked me in the end. Darcy is very amusing and seems feckless and frivolous, though very charming. However, he does come to Georgie's aid a few times and helps her out of some perilous situations. It turns out, he may be more than he seems.
This is what caught me and I'm sure I'll give the next in the series a go; even though I don't find Georgie's living situation amusing. I'll read to find out what happens between her and Darcy!
I really like this series. Isabel can be pedantic at times; overly sensitive and emotional at other times, and not very tolerant at still other time;...moreI really like this series. Isabel can be pedantic at times; overly sensitive and emotional at other times, and not very tolerant at still other time; but I like her just the same. She's human.
As usual, Isabel can't say no and agrees to look into the background of three candidates for the headmaster position at a nearby boy's school. Isabel is not a trained, professional investigator, but a philosopher - in fact, she own's and edits a philosophical quarterly magazine. She has however, developed a reputation for a discreet investigator, albeit and amateur one.
Most of the books do not involve deaths, as this one does not. As much as I enjoyed this read, however, Isabel seemed less thoughtful and more impulsive in this book - more prone to jump to false conclusions and submit to illusive feelings and emotions. She is a very passionate women, in an understated way, which probably makes her prone to giving into her emotions. However, in previous books, she usually seemed to try to reason things out more, rather than succumbing to her feelings.
In retrospect, however, she is prone to thinking too much and then reacting emotionally, so maybe she is not so out of character here. But in one case, in this book, she "judges" a person entirely on emotion and "intuition", without checking it out; as she usually seems to do.