Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 2nd 2016
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Blurb from goodreads:
The author of No Comfort for the Lost returns with a new mystery of Old San Francisco...
British-born nurse Celia Davies runs a free medical clinic to assist the poor women of San Francisco. Aided in her endeavors by her half-Chinese cousin Barbara and feisty housekeeper Addie, Celia has earned the trust and friendship of many of the city’s downtrodden, including a young orphan named Owen—who’s just confided to her that he’s stumbled upon a corpse.
Owen recently started working for the ruthless real estate and development group, Martin and Company, and discovered a dead body in the office’s basement. Celia turns to Detective Nick Greaves for help, only to learn that one of the main suspects—the husband of Celia’s dearest friend—is an old enemy of Nick’s.
Now, Celia and Nick must put aside their personal feelings about the case—and each other—if they’re going to bring a killer to justice...
Today it's my pleasure to welcome Sophia Rose from the Delighted Reader blog. Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Find Sophia Rose at:
Delighted Reader blog: http://delightedreader.com/
Sophia Rose's Thoughts:
Post Civil War San Francisco is the colorful and fascinating setting for this series of historical mysteries featuring former Crimean War nurse, Celia Davies, gritty police detective and Civil War veteran, Nick Greaves, and the motley group of mainstay characters that surround them. I was glad to discover this new to me author and series by accident and found the latest story
This is the second installment and was an engaging blend of history and mystery with a dash of romance. It develops slowly and divides the balance between the lives of the characters set in the life of the times and the cunning mystery. There was not a dearth of suspects and there are a few twists that turned my pet theories on their ears.
I read this one out of order and could tell there was a connection and ongoing storyline begun earlier in the first book, but the author caught me up enough on the backdrop and characters so I didn't feel lost.
With a deft touch of historical authenticity, the author helps the reader immerse into the period. The focus is more on the characters than the history or the mystery though there is a good balance so someone looking for a blend of both won't be disappointed.
Celia is an eccentric renaissance woman who has a troubled past and a strong, stubborn character beneath her genteel facade so that she steps out and forges her own path whether it is living in an immigrant neighborhood with her half-Asian cousin, Barbara, struggling to find her place in a world that rejects her, offering a free clinic to poor women and children who may or may not be respectable, or delving into a murder investigation beside the police detective that unsettles her for reasons she won't and can't explore. I confess that she wasn't my favorite person because she does ignore common sense about safety and tends to ride rough shod over other people because she believes she knows best, but she's also a compelling and gutsy character, too.
Nick is also something a little different after his experiences in the war, losing a beloved sister to suicide, estrangement from family when he followed in an uncle's footsteps to become a police detective. He doesn't distinguish when he investigates no matter the status or wealth, he doesn't cut corners with the law, and he works above and beyond which puts him at odds with even his fellow cops. Nick is both annoyed and amused by the presence of the interfering yet helpful Mrs. Celia Davies on his case. I felt a bit sorry for him because he had to be the professional and keep everyone safe even the impulsive Celia, but he also had such pain and anger over one of the suspects and I never felt that situation was resolved. Maybe it continues into a later book.
So, two complex characters and a solid twisting story that gets personal for both of them. Overall, I loved the book. It does have slow moments though it could be argued that it was while things were transitioning and setting up for what was coming after. I would definitely go back for the first story and continue with the series.
I got this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.