No Life for a Lady – Book Review

No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby

This book was such a treat to read. It was heart-warming, romantic and funny in equal measure and a brilliant debut from author Hannah Dolby.

Violet Hamilton is an unmarried woman still living at home with her father in late Victorian Hastings. She seems surprisingly naïve for a twenty-eight woman and this jarred at first but as I read on, the reasons for this became apparent and I just fell in love with her character.

The only real role for a woman in her father’s eyes is to marry and he introduces Violet to possible suitors. However, she doesn’t want to marry although, she doesn’t actually know what she does want. Her mother mysteriously disappeared ten years ago and Violet decides that she needs to find out what happened so she engages a private detective. She doesn’t entirely trust him and so tries to engage another only to find that he has died and his son has absolutely no interest in carrying on his father’s profession.

Violet is nothing if not determined and won’t let Benjamin Blackthorn give up detecting so easily. She is also determined to find out more about life itself as well as her mother’s disappearance and this leads her into various situations, none of which end up as she expects them to.

I absolutely loved Violet. Her naivety is touching as well as amusing and her frustration with the social requirements of being ‘a lady’ feel very real. The author did a good job of showing Violet’s frustration with society’s rules for well brought up young women but without making her seen too anachronistic. Her frustration with the church gossips and awareness of the fact that by being alone with a man, she was breaking those rules were well portrayed. I loved the situations that she found herself in, many of which were hilarious and her character development is brilliant.

I loved Benjamin too as he gradually becomes involved with Violet’s mystery despite his misgivings. The supporting characters are also brilliantly written  especially Maria Monk who is a woman of wide experience. I also enjoyed the character of Violet’s father who is a typical Victorian man and comes across as completely unfeeling. However, he has depths which we begin to see as he pursues his new relationship with the vivacious Mrs Beeton.

The mystery is well thought out and I loved the ending. The mixture of Violet’s character, the mystery and humour combine to make this a fantastic read.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers, Aria and Aries for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

No Life for a Lady is published in the UK on March 2nd, 2023.


Book Blogger Hop February 17

 The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, it was relaunched on February 15, 2013 by Billy @ the Ramblings of a coffee addict. . Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

This weeks question is: Do you use other sources for ARCs besides NetGalley? (submitted by Bonnie @ Bonnie Reads and Writes)

This is a really easy question to answer. No. 😃

I didn’t even know that there were such things as ARCs for the general public until a couple of years ago when I started reading book blogs and kept seeing references to people reading ARCs. A quick bit of googling took me to Net Galley and it didn’t take me long to set up my account and enter the sweet shop.

I don’t really need any more ARCs though. With my Net Galley shelf, my library books and the books that I buy, I have quite enough to read !!!!!!

Where do you get your ARCs from? Are there other sources than Net Galley in the UK?

New Year NetGalley

Happy 2023 everyone!!

I thought I would use today, which is a public holiday here in the UK, to look at my NetGalley shelves. I joined NetGalley in June 2021 after seeing so many bloggers talk about books that they had received as ARCs and since then I’ve read and reviewed 192 books. It’s a brilliant way to discover new authors and I’ve read so many books that I never would have discovered otherwise.

It can be a bit dangerous though as it is basically a sweet shop for book lovers and it’s all too easy to request everything that takes your eye. Or in my case, all those books that I see mentioned on other blogs and I just go over to Net Galley to see if it’s available here. It is – brilliant – that’s another one added to my shelf. 😃

I have tried lately to reduce my requests so that my shelf stays manageable. I’ve currently got 20 books on my shelf waiting to be read and I would really like to get that down to single figures. That probably isn’t going to happen though.

This is what I currently have waiting to be read and I am really looking forward to reading all of them:

January Releases

February Releases

March Releases

April Releases

May Releases

Releases June and after

Non Fiction

I try to read my books more or less in publication order and to get them read and reviewed before they are actually published. At the moment it’s working out to about one a week which is perfectly manageable. That is of course, unless I spot unmissable books with a January or February publication date.

The odd one out is the non fiction book, The Darkness Manifesto, which was published in November 22. However, I wasn’t approved for it until after publication date so I don’t feel too badly about not having read it yet. I will start it this week.

My review rating is currently 89% and it would be nice to get it above 90. I’m at 192 books reviewed so I’m well on the way to getting to 200. Do I get a new badge? That would be quite nice😃

Do you read Net Galley ARCs? What is your current shelf looking like?

Stacking the Shelves 57

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It’s Saturday again and time for my weekly Stacking the Shelves post. Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

My STS posts are generally my library books. The library is where I get most of my books and I hope that maybe I can inspire other people to use their local library. Our libraries are constantly under threat of closure but the more people that use them, the less likely that is. My library is also how I manage to read a lot of newly released hardbacks as I can order them. Sometimes they can take quite a while to arrive if a title is really popular though.

The Opera House in Buxton

This week though, we’re in the gorgeous town of Buxton in the Peak District as we’re performing The Desert Song at the opera house. That means that I haven’t been to the library this week so this week’s post is about the books that I have recently added to my Net Galley shelf.

I have definitely slowed down requesting books from Net Galley as it put me under too much pressure to read books to a deadline. I currently only have 17 books on my shelf but my review rating is up to 90% which I’m really pleased about. These are the books that I have recently been approved for.

The Dazzle of the Light

Ruby Mills is ruthlessly ambitious, strikingly beautiful – and one of the Forty Thieves’ most talented members.

Harriet Littlemore writes the women’s section in a local newspaper. She’s from a ‘good’ London family and engaged to an up-and-coming Member of Parliament – but she wants a successful career of her own.

After witnessing Ruby fleeing the scene of a robbery, Harriet develops a fascination with the elusive young thief that extends beyond journalistic interest. As their personal aspirations bring them into closer contact than society’s rules usually allow, Ruby and Harriet’s stories become increasingly intertwined.

Their magnetic dynamic, fraught with envy and desire, tells a compulsive, cinematic story about class, morality and the cost of being an independent woman in 1920s London.

The Cruise
A glamorous ship

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large, luxurious cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, goes missing.

Everyone on board has something to hide

Two weeks later, the ship is o ut of service, laid up far from land with no more than a skeleton crew on board. And then more people start disappearing…

No one is safe
Why are the crew being harmed? Who is responsible? And who will be next?

Mum calls me Maame. It has many meanings in Twi, but in my case, it means woman.

Meet Maddie.

To her mostly-absent mum, she’s Maame, the woman of the family. To her dad, she’s his carer – even if he hardly recognises her. To her friends, she’s the one who still lives at home, who never puts herself first.

It’s time to become the woman she wants to be.

The kind who wears a bright yellow suit, says yes to after-work drinks and flirts with a thirty-something banker. Who doesn’t have to google all her life choices. Who demands a seat at the table.

But to put ourselves together, sometimes we have to fall apart…

Snowed in for Christmas
She’s snowed in with the family. The only problem? They’re not her family.

A family gathering
This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal – to avoid their family’s well-meaning questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don’t intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.

An uninvited guest
Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone, and the prospect of losing her job – unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller. She’ll deliver her proposal to his family home in the Scottish Highlands and then leave. After all, she wouldn’t want to intrude on the Miller’s perfect family Christmas.

A Christmas to remember
When Lucy appears on the Miller’s snow-covered doorstep, she is mistaken for Ross’s girlfriend. But by the time the confusion is cleared up, a storm has hit and Lucy is stuck. As everyone settles in for a snowed-in Christmas, tensions bubble to the surface and suddenly Lucy finds herself facing a big family fallout with a family that isn’t hers…

The Mystery of Four
Tess Morgan has finally made her dream of restoring beautiful Kilfenora House and Gardens into a reality.

But during rehearsals for the play that forms the opening weekend’s flagship event, her dream turns into a nightmare when a devastating accident looks set to ruin her carefully laid plans.

There are rumours that Kilfenora House is cursed, but this feels personal, and becomes increasingly terrifying when more than one body is discovered. Could someone be closing in on Tess herself?

Clarissa Westmacott, ex star of stage and screen, certainly believes so, particularly when she learns that purple-flowered aconite has been picked from the Poison Garden. And Clarissa will stop at nothing to protect the friend she has come to see as a daughter.

Needless Alley
Birmingham, 1933.

Private enquiry agent William Garrett, a man damaged by a dark childhood spent on Birmingham’s canals, specialises in facilitating divorces for the city’s male elite. With the help of his best friend -charming, out-of-work actor Ronnie Edgerton – William sets up honey traps. But photographing unsuspecting women in flagrante plagues his conscience and William heaves up his guts with remorse after every job.

However, William’s life changes when he accidentally meets the beautiful Clara Morton and falls in love. Little does he know she is the wife of a client – a leading fascist with a dangerous obsession. And what should have been another straightforward job turns into something far more deadly

Driving Home for Christmas
Driving home marks the start of the holidays for Kate and Ed, who have made this journey every Christmas of their ten-year long relationship. Normally the seasonal hits blare from the car stereo, and they are guaranteed to be wearing ridiculous jumpers in anticipation, but this year a frosty silence fills the car…

A massive argument leads to the immediate collapse of their relationship. But the show must go on, so they decide to brave their families together one last time.

With three Christmases to celebrate, an old flame waiting under the mistletoe and a shed load of expectation around their future together, this most wonderful time of year is anything but. There will be turkey, tiffs and tantrums galore, but it’s sure to be a Christmas they’ll never forget.

Stay Buried
Detective Inspector Matt Lockyer has been side-lined to working cold cases, following a bad decision he made in a recent investigation in order to support a friend. Lockyer isn’t too bothered though, as it gives him the chance to review some of the cases that keep him up at night and to look into his own brother’s senseless killing which still remains unsolved.

On a quiet afternoon Lockyer receives a phone call from prisoner Hedy Lambert – a woman he put inside for murder fourteen years ago. She informs him that the man she was originally accused of killing has turned up alive and well. She begs him to reopen her case.

All those years ago, Lockyer had been the one to pin down Hedy’s motive, but deep down he’d never wanted to believe she was guilty. The thought that he might have sent an innocent woman down for life doesn’t sit well with him and he agrees to reopen the investigation. But has it become too personal and is he being manipulated? Perhaps there are some cases that should just stay buried.

So that’s my recent ARC approvals. They’re mainly mystery books with a couple of Christmas ones to read in the Autumn. There’s a definite lack of fantasy so I might need to go and search out a couple of new fantasy authors to read.

That’s what I’ve added to my shelves this week. What’s been added to your bookshelves?

All pictures and details taken from Net Galley site.