By: Jennifer Ashley
Published Year: 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This n no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Victorian class lines are crossed when cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a murder that reaches all the way to the throne.
Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered.
Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.
The cover is does not make a great first impression. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing eye catching. To me, it’s on I would just pass by. I did like that the summary said that it would be like a Downton Abbey-esque mystery. I loved the first few seasons of Downton Abbey and loved the dynamic of the servants vs the Lords and Ladies.
What I thought
Can I just sum up this book with “meh”? It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It just was.
Mrs. Kat Holloway is starting a new post as a cook at the Rankin household. On her first night there, a murder occurs. She takes it upon herself to find out what really happened to the victim instead of leaving it to authorities who she feels will just write it off as a wrong place wrong time robbery.
My biggest issue that I had with this book is that while it’s the first in the series, it reads very much as if it’s the third or fourth. There is a lot of backstory that is referenced as though the reader should know it already. Specifically the relationship between Daniel and Mrs. Holloway. From the very beginning she mentioned Daniel McAdams and gives no explanation or description as to who he is. Just that he is and we should know everything we need to know already. I found that because of moments like these, I couldn’t fall into the story easily. I was always a bit confused.
I also was not a great fan of the voice of this novel. I think that it was done well in certain ways, but in others it was dull. For example, I think that the dialect was great. There were a lot of words I ended up looking up on my kindle because I hadn’t heard them before. I did appreciate the true Victorian air that this lent to the novel. However, it also dragged the book down a bit. The whole story seemed to move in slow and I think that was because there was never a sense of urgency in the voice of the narrator.
Even though this is technically a murder mystery, there is a lot more that happens. It’s kind of surprising how much is packed into the book. I will say that I did enjoy the characters and that was probably the saving grace of this book. Mrs. Holloway, Daniel, and Lady Cynthia were all interesting to read about and I liked following them on their adventures.