Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in  as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I picked this as my first Prometheus Books title:
(a portion this was originally shared with the publicist who sent me my copy)
I was most enthused finding The Secret Life of Anna Blanc in Seventh Street Books catalogue via their publishing website. The allure for me to read this title is due to how much I love reading Cosy Historical Mysteries and Historical Thrillers and Suspense. It’s a special niche of the Mystery | Suspense genre that I happen to fancy and my review history reflects this as I cannot help but become excited when I find a ‘new story and a new author’ to become introduced too! Equally joyful in this regard is that Seventh Street Books found me on Twitter and thus, introduced me to this lovely new imprint for Mystery novelists! This is how I originally started to interact with the publisher Prometheus Books whilst becoming acquainted with their imprints and releases.
I happen to be a Sherlockian to boot and I love finding spunky characters with the moxie to win-over their peers by proving their salt for the field they are passionately working inside! It’s hard not to be curious about this novel!
I remember when it arrived and how much I wanted to read this back in December, however, the timing was not right for me to soak inside it’s chapters until the Spring. I personally love finding Cosy Historical Mysteries as it happens to be an active pursuit of mine – a few lovely things have happened since I received my copy of the novel, including being able to interact a bit with the author via Twitter but also, finding out a favourite author of mine has joined Seventh Street Books! Susan Spann’s Shinobi Mysteries are now *Hiro Hattori Novels* under this imprint and are set to release August 2016! I cannot wait to find out where The Ninja’s Daughter will take me as previously I have been wondrously happy inside her novels! To learn how I came to review for Prometheus Books, kindly view my End of the Year Survey, 2015. The sweet part is that as I’m revealling my impressions on behalf of Anna Blanc, Spann’s latest novel has arrived by Post! Talk about celebratory blissitude for Seventh Street Books!!
When I first started working with Seventh Street Books, I wanted to focus on their Crime Fiction, as I have a penchant for well-conceived plots and strong characters within Crime Dramas & Suspense! I am a regular reader of these kinds of stories – therefore, from the offerings of front list titles, this is the one that stood out to me because of how convincingly brilliant the synopsis sounded! I could well see why Ms Kincheloe has attached the tagline of “for readers who love Phryne Fisher” as her character, Anna Blanc is also living inside a man’s world where women are not generally allowed to pursue a career outside of what society deems is proper and right.
I’ve followed the #MissFisher Murder Mysteries solely through the adaptive serial starring Essie Davis, and had entertained reading the mysteries starting lateron this year, until through a twitterverse convo with my bookish mates, I learnt the sad truth that revealled Jack isn’t the object of Miss Fisher’s eye in the novels! To me, having gone through the serial first rather than the books, it would be too hard to back-track and thereby, I’m a Miss Fisher supporter via the adaptations only. However, having said that, if this book holds true to the sentiment that Anna Blanc is a mirror composite of Phryne by strength, ingenuity and moxie, I knew instantly I’d become her ally! We need more characters like Phryne especially set in the historical past to help illuminate how women have always tried to find a foothold towards freeing the rights we deserve to stand on equal footing as our male peers.
Notation on Cover Art Design: This is the most dearly loved cover art I’ve come across recently – not just for the image of Anna Blanc but because of it’s velvety softness upon touch! This clever cover is lovely to hold in your hands because it’s texture is truly a one of a kind original! I even loved how the typography has this fade in / fade out styling and how Anna Blanc herself is tipping her hat away from the camera as if to take the attention off herself and leave it on the story!
It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.
Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.
If the police find out, she'll get fired; if her father finds out, he'll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he'll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father's collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief's son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.
Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.
Places to find the book:
Published by Seventh Street Books
on 3rd December, 2015
Format: Paperback Edition
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook
Converse via: #SecretLifeOfAnnaBlancRead More
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge