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Alexia Tarabotti has been on the shelf since she was fifteen. Her mother decided her Italian heritage and unconventional looks (dark hair, dark eyes and the predilection of tanning) was too much to overcome, that no gentleman would seriously pursue Alexia. So she made the early decision to concentrate her attention and money on securing good marriages for her two younger daughters.
What her mother didn’t know was this suited Alexia just fine.
Alexia enjoys the freedom spinsterhood allows her; to read whatever she likes, consort with flamboyant friends and concentrate on finding the best foods Victorian London can provide. Plus, well it would be a scandal if it came out to society that Alexia was born without a soul.
Soullessness can be an advantage when dealing with some of the residents of London, Werewolves, Vampires and Ghosts, since just her touch negates their power. This comes in handy when a very rude vampire has the audacity of attacking Alexia at party, thereby tossing Alexia into Lord Maccon’s path again, (how many times does she have to say the Hedgehog was not her fault?) and into the mystery of why all the lone wolves and rogue vampires are disappearing from all around England….
If you are looking for historical accuracy of Victorian London, with insights into the life and times of the people living in this period, this is NOT the book for you.
If you are looking for a funny, witty, romantic, melodramatic action-packed supernatural romp, then I highly recommend this book to you! I enjoyed every second of this book, the ridiculousness of pairing proper Victorian manners when being attacked by an unknown Vampire is hilarious. Alexia and the rest of the characters are over the top in their personalities and are just fun to read. And the mystery at the core of this book is well thought out as well, setting up future villains and problems in the books to come. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series!
I picked up this book purely because of the author description “Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriated Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life for Europe and inadvertently acquired an education. She now resides in the Colonies with a harem of American lovers and tea imported from London.” If you find this as humorous and intriguing as I did, like urban fantasy without sparkling vampires, and enjoy a bit of steampunk thrown in for flavor, I think you will really like this book. (Not a Kids Book)
The school is all atwitter when a trip to London is announced by the headmistress. Sophronia suspects the reasons for this sudden excursion are far more complicated than meets the eye, since it doesn’t make sense that the school would uproot itself merely to witness a historical event, no matter the supernatural implications. Adding to the excitement is a debut ball, several kidnapping attempts and a flamboyant vampire. Well things are about to get very interesting!
For those of you who have read the five books in the Parasol Protectorate series, this is a very interesting YA series, as they are a prequel to those books. You get to meet Genevieve Lefoux as a precocious ten year old and Lady Sidheag Maccon and begin to understand how she was able to lead a werewolf pack as a human. I found it great fun to meet these characters again and learn more about their origins.
For those of you who have not read anything in this universe before, never fear! While it is set in the same world and has a few carry-over characters, you do not have to have any knowledge of them in order to understand and love this book. Carriger does a great job in setting the reader up for success, without her writing becoming formulaic.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is charming, witty, humorous, adventurous and filled with intrigue. I found that the notion of women out in society (high or otherwise) would make excellent spies during this period, with a bit of training, since ladies’ intelligence was often overlooked, and the school helped them to take full advantage of this flaw in society. I also enjoyed the fact that while there are many strong male characters, Sophronia never relies on them to save the day. Rather she relied on herself and her training to figure out what is afoot and to thwart other people’s machinations.
I would suggest reading Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in the series before you start on this one, as it will give you a firmer grasp the complexities in this installment in the series. I would recommend this book to any female 14 and above, or very open minded males of the same age (but this I think is mainly aimed at the female audience).
Like all of Clare O’Donohue’s writing I was sucked right into this mystery and really enjoyed reading it. While this book is a themed mystery, one which centers around quilting, do not let it fool you. It is an Agatha Christie-ish style of cozy, meaning it is clever, well plotted and engaging. It is not syrupy sweet or mechanical as some of the themed cozies can be. While quilting is a theme, as Nell and her Grandmother Eleanor run the Someday Quilts shop, it never become distracting one. It is deftly woven into the story, enhancing rather than detracting from the other plots and subplots in the book.
I really enjoyed reading about Nell. Her relationship with her Grandmother Eleanor and her upcoming marriage, the future of the shop and house are interesting dynamics to explore. Or the troubles she finds herself in with Jesse, her mother and friends at one point or another is all very relatable and interesting to read. Ultimately I could see Archers Rest being a real place, with the entertaining social dynamics you find only in small towns.
I would recommend this to any female (or open minded male, however I am not sure that is the demographic aimed at here) looking for a nice, interesting, light read. And if you have someone in your life who loves to sew, I would definitely recommend this series to them! As Clare is a quilter herself, her description of quilts, fabrics, the quilting addiction (which I also share), and such are spot on. And I admit it had me itching to cut a new quilt when I get home!
While in many series you need to start with the first book in order to understand what is going on, in this case it is not necessary. Clare does such a great job in her writing you never feel lost, or spend the first chapter rolling your eyes because it is a rehash of the last book. But if you are a completionist here are the other books in the Someday Quilts Mystery series: A Drunkard’s Path, The Double Cross, The Lover’s Knot, The Devils’s Puzzle. And Two in the Kate Conway Mystery Series, Missing Persons and Life Without Parole, all of which I recommend reading!