rating: 4 of 5 stars
The perfect thing to devour on a sick day. I barely got off the couch, completely diverted by this entertaining blend of historical fiction, mystery, great characters, and snappy dialogue. It’s nothing too serious, but the writing has none of those terrible, annoying flaws often found in fluffier books. The characters were all fascinating, there was some great (and completely unresolved) sexual tension, fun descriptions of clothes – and I was really more interested in all of that than in the mystery itself. The mystery is certainly entertaining, even though I managed to guess the murderer (even with diminished brain function), but of course there are all sorts of smaller mysteries that must be solved on the way to the main event, and these were a bit trickier to guess at. If I’d had the second book on hand, I would’ve picked it up and started it immediately. Definitely recommended – it would make great airplane reading, or work any time you want to be “excessively diverted” without thinking too hard.
PS – this came recommended by Leila at Bookshelves of Doom, and she has a much more entertaining review than I do. I have to agree with her point about Julia being one of those “familiar raised-in-unusual-family-situation-therefore-less-inclined-to-worry-about-social-conventions-of-the-time female characters,” which are EVERYWHERE in historical fiction, but since this is not a book that asks to be taken too seriously, I can forgive it this indulgence.