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Relative Fortunes

(Julia Kydd #1)

by
3.70  ·  Rating details ·  5,531 ratings  ·  530 reviews
In 1920s New York, the price of a woman’s independence can be exorbitant—even fatal.

In 1924 Manhattan, women’s suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life’s too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what’s hers—including
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  5,531 ratings  ·  530 reviews


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Dee Arr
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Marlowe Benn book, “Relative Fortunes,” is a breath of fresh air amid the countless books that hit the market on a daily basis. While I hesitated, deliberating between this and a few other Kindle First books, I eventually chose this as my second choice of the month. Happily, it is the better of the two reads.

Ms. Benn displays a wonderful talent for stringing the right words together, and the novel is an endless stream of descriptive passages. Add to that the distinct characters that walk
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Karen Levay
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I gave this three stars because for about the first half of the book I thought this book would never get going and almost stopped reading it. But eventually I got caught up in the story. I’ll probably read future books of the series now that the probable recurring characters have been established.
Siobhan
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
With Relative Fortunes, the first book in Marlowe Benn’s Julia Kydd series, I think it’s safe to say ‘it’s me, not the book’. Although I love a good historical crime, I am extremely picky about such reads, and in this case this one wasn’t quite for me.

Relative Fortunes is a book that takes a long time to start, much longer than I would have liked. With my mysteries, I like it when things start to come together much sooner than they did in this one, and there were plenty of points where I did con
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Kristina
My opinions about Relative Fortunes by Marlowe Benn went back and forth quite a bit. I downloaded the sample and enjoyed that enough to buy the ebook. I liked the book more or less but wouldn’t read another one, as this is apparently the first in what will be known as the Julia Kydd series.

Julia Kydd is an heiress living abroad in London. She is about to turn 25 and come into her full inheritance. Her brother Philip, the trustee of the will, has summoned her to New York City. He is contesting t
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Yvonne (Fiction Books)
“Sometimes death is the loudest voice you have.”

Right, so how to offer up my best review of this book – without giving away any (too many) spoilers!

I am already a dedicated fan of traditional / classic mystery stories, however many of these are by their very definition, English centric, so I was interested to see how well the genre would transfer across the Atlantic to the USA. I need not have worried, as in author Marlowe Benn’s expert hands the transition was seamlessly elegant, with a new and
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Elizabeth
I’m giving it a 3 because it frustrated me so much. I wanted to hear more of the beginnings of the Equal Rights Amendment and all the other social injustices that were brought up. I had no picture in my mind of what the main characters looked like. I will read the next in the series as it ended how I thought it should.
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
What a great debut novel ! An accomplished letterpress printer, Marlowe Benn holds a master’s degree in the book arts from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in the history of books from the University of California, Berkeley.
Her protagonist, Julia Kydd's desire is launch her own private press in New York City. But first, she has to secure funds from her impending inheritance. The only things in the way are a feud with her older half brother, an insistent suitor imploring her to sail bac
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Morgan Nebistinsky
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
☕️Kimberly
This started slow but ended strong. Full RTC 3.5 stars
Jenni
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in Manhattan in a time of suffragists and prohibition, bootleggers and soap-box orators, Julia Kydd, a bibliophile and modern woman, finds herself in a situation that requires her to solve the mystery concerning the suspicious death of her friend's sister. As she delves into Naomi's life and death, she sees parallels between her situation in which her estranged brother controls her fortune, and Naomi's, whose brother forced her into dire circumstances by controlling her inheritance.

I loved
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Brian
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
In Relative Fortunes, we meet Julia Kydd, a woman who is just shy of 25 but wise beyond her years. Julia encounters an acquaintance named Glennis who discovers her progressive sister has died..supposedly under some rather mysterious circumstances. Despite Julia's hesitation, she soon becomes engrossed in a very complicated plot. The book was very historically accurate; it was centered around the early 1920's when women had yet to vote. I felt as though the book was a bit plodding at times but ov ...more
Leslie
maybe 2.5* but I am giving this book the benefit of the doubt as I liked the 1924 NYC setting. The mystery was OK but I really liked the riff on S.S. Van Dine... The feminist/suffragette angle was a bit heavy-handed.
Carolyn
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Relative Fortunes was my Amazon First Reads pick for July, and overall I enjoyed it! The story line itself started out pretty slowly, but the intrigue and the mystery picked up significantly in the second half and I finished that bit off in a single evening. There were definitely some twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end.

I think the more interesting aspect of the book was actually the historical context and social backdrop. I learned a lot about women's rights in 1924 and so
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Mary
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Arc courtesy of Lake Union and Little Bird Publicity in exchange for my honest review.
Julia Kydd sails from England to New York with the sole purpose of claiming her inheritance upon her 25th birthday. That evolves into a fight with her half-brother that keeps her in New York longer than she’d expected. They strike a deal – a bet, really – in which the winnings (the inheritance) will go to the victor. I won’t spoil by revealing more. What I can say is that fans of historical mysteries, a post WW
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MM Suarez
Oct 18, 2019 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I gave up on this extra slow burn, if a book doesn't grab me when I'm 20% into it I'm moving on, too many good books out there to muddle through this one!
Susan
Julia Kydd returns to prohibition-era New York from the life she's created for herself in London, because her half-brother, whom she barely knows, is challenging her inheritance, which she's to receive in only a few weeks. She must consider what she would do, what she would be, without money, which she has always taken for granted, even though her half-brother Phillip keeps insisting that he doesn't really want her money, that it's a game. But while they wait for the lawyers to decide, Julia bec ...more
Marjorie
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Very much a story of two halves this one. One half was engrossing and atmospheric and the other was disjointed and felt very thrown together and almost bolted on to the tale.

First off, the good bit. Julia's life has been rather charmed, admittedly she has lost both her father and her mother but she has enough wealth to live her own life and is even dabbling in her own printing imprint - Capriole is very much a dabble at this point in time, no matter what Julia seems to think. As her 25th Birthd
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Jennifer Robb
Jul 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Jennifer by: Amazon First Reads
I'm kind of sorry I wasted a First Reads pick on this book. I'll tolerate some things I don't like for the sake of a plot (murder in a mystery or thriller etc.) but I won't tolerate fortune telling, contacting spirits and the like--and that comes up in the first chapter of this book so I was done.

The part I did read reminded me of when I used to read Grace Livingston Hill novels--in that I had to remember it was set at a time when women had fewer rights and opportunities than we do in today's wo
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Julier
Julia is an interesting and strong character. I wonder how many women in 1924 in the USA would openly have a married lover and visa versa. This book was engaging on one level, but felt sometwhat flat with the other characters, with Naomi's death and ensuing inquiries into it. The twists and turns of that investigation and how it ended was pretty darn suspenseful and clever! I might read the next in the series. This was a Kindle First-Read.
I thought the writing style was inventive. It had the to
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Sharon
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first I thought this book was about a woman in the mid 1920's who was losing her only income due to a scheming half brother and a poorly written will, but it turned out to be so much more. By the end we get incite into a time when women in the US had the vote but not much say over what happened to their own money and by extension to their own lives. We also get a murder investigation with an unexpected solution. The characters are diverse and interesting and range from the rich and powerful t ...more
Alan Teder
Jazz Age Detection
Review of the Lake Union Publishing paperback (2019)

The fiction of the post-World War I era of the 1920-30's has been a long time favourite of mine. It has some of my most loved works by Fitzgerald and Hemingway. It includes the "Golden Age of Crime" by writers such as Christie and Sayers. So a lost generation/jazz-age detection series combined with a love of books and publishing is like catnip to me.

Julia Kydd is an orphaned heiress who was in the process of establishing a sma
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Vintagebooklvr
This has a lot more substance than most of the frothy mysteries set in the 1920s that have come out in the last few years. Women's rights and their less than equal status in society is a major theme that runs through out this story. It effects Julia, the protagonist, who finds herself at her brother's whims when he challenges her inheritance. It forces her to take on a wager with her brother to prove her friend's sister's death is murder to safeguard what is rightly hers. The investigation into ...more
Jamie
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Little Bird Publicity and Amazon Publishing for the free book.

Julia is about to lose her inheritance due to a stipulation in her father's will. Her brother offers her a deal she can't refuse. He tells her that if she can prove that a local suffragette's death was a murder, and not a suicide, he will give her back her share of the inheritance. Thus begins Julia Kydd's investigation into what happened to Naomi Rankin.

I will preface this review with the fact that I am not much of a histor
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Noe
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I finally found a book worth finishing -- believe me, I’ve started more than a few stories over the past few years but wouldn’t waste my time continuing to read them. This book, however, is well worth reading from beginning to end. One thing that especially makes me like the story is that there are profound statements throughout the book on subjects having to do with the treatment of women, both personally and in society. There are also insightful observations on having money and the lack of it, ...more
Cheryl
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
What began as a long, slow, not-sure-I-can-finish-it read for about 100 pages, turned out to be quite an interesting and enjoyable story. Taking place in 1920s as women recently earned the right to vote, this was a timely read with the upcoming 100th anniversary of women's suffrage movement. We meet Julia Kydd just before her 25th birthday after arriving in Manhattan from London to collect her share of an inheritance which she soon learns isn't to be. She makes a wager with her brother, Phillip, ...more
Jacinda Literature Babe
Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author Ms. Marlowe Benn
for the opportunity to read this Advanced Readers Copy of "Relative Fortunes"

The first book in a new series, "Julia Kidd Novels", Ms. Benn plans to bring to life a crime solving twenty something "suffragette" living in New York and across the pond.

This is the story of "Julia Kidd", freshly arrived in New York and ready to conquer the world. She's single, an early feminist, and has come to claim her inheritance. She stru
...more
Violet
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the roaring twenties in New York, and a well-to-do heiress is pulled in to investigating the death of her friend's sister while simultaneously fighting to keep her inheritance. What more could you ask for?

The book is very well written, the prose snappy, the language and characterization realistic and believable. The author creates connection to her protagonist, and you feel along with Julia her despair, anger, frustration, curiosity, sadness and relief as she encounters different obstacles
...more
Amanda Cimorell
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Well, this was a pleasant surprise, which is rare when I get a free book from Kindle Unlimited.

This is about a woman named Julia who lives in New York in the mid-1920s. She is struggling of course because she is a woman and they have no rights and are not taken seriously, much like a hundred years later.

Her friend's sister is found dead and so the main plot of the book is Julia and her friend Glennis trying to solve the mystery of who done it. There is also a bonus of getting her rightful inhe
...more
Maxine
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of period murder mysteries, fans of mystery series
I found this new heroine refreshing and likeable. Julia Kydd is a young woman in 1924, in a world still reeling from The Great War. Julia is a Londoner in Manhattan to settle the matter of her inheritance. She's modern without being brazen, independent (insofar as she can be, with her half-brother controlling her inheritance), and can see no reason that a girl shouldn't pursue a career rather than a husband.

There's an interesting cast of characters, from her old schoolmate, Manhattan socialite G
...more
Conny Lenz
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Despite the average rating, I did enjoy this book. The characters were good and the writing was pleasant and easy to digest. The plot itself was good as well and the ending was fairly strong, pulling the reader along. What reduces this to three stars is the sheer amount of unnecessary dithering. This book should have been a lot shorter, there were a lot of unnecessary moments that could have been cut and it made the book a little bit of a core to get through sometimes.
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Born near Boston, Marlowe Benn grew up in an Illinois college town along the Mississippi River. Her debut novel, Relative Fortunes, was featured in the Amazon First Reads program, and CrimeReads named it one of 2019's best traditional mysteries. Her second novel, Passing Fancies, comes out in June 2020. A former editor, college teacher, and letterpress printer, Benn holds a doctorate from Berkeley ...more

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Julia Kydd (2 books)
  • Passing Fancies (Julia Kydd #2)

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