Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
You might remember how much I enjoyed reading the Countess of Harleigh novels last July? I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms Freeman during the blog tour as well – as I was blessed to cross paths with this Cosy Historical Mystery novelist whilst hosting her tour as it routed through the book bloggers who like me have a fierce passion for Historical Fiction; hosting with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
I remember when the books first arrived by #bookpost and how curiously I had looked upon them before I began reading the stories – the cover art danced in front of my eyes, a bit on the cheekier side and definitely with a keen eye for drawing your attention to their design! You had to wonder about the Countess of Harleigh and how her life and this Cosy Historical Mystery was going to resonate with you as you dug into her story and sorted out a new author’s cosy style of relating a mystery set during an era you rather enjoy visiting.
If you’ve missed my previous ruminations about this series let me share this ahead of #SatBookChat this Saturday morning:
Part of the joy of reading this series are the layers of etiquette permeating into the fabric of the story-line – fitting for this debut of the series itself as it lends a certain view of the absurdity of tradition these lords and ladies were put through when their era was in its heyday! All the confining points of societal regulations and the fact, you couldn’t just remove yourself from the obligations as that would be lent to scandal and gossip; Freeman takes you through the motions of how frivolous the ton can be and how determined you must become to outwit them all the same! Frances shows this by her unwavering belief that if you lead with strength and a resolve to overcome whatever befalls you, society will either a) move on to the next lead story or b) forget you completely; which I felt was her preference. Frances wasn’t the kind who welcomed notoriety – quite the opposite, I believed she wanted to live a more ordinary life without all the pops and poms of the elevated class.
I was endeared to the plot long before I caught-on to the mysterious events happening in the background – for me, this series is wickedly driven by its characters – specifically everyone related into the personal orbit and sphere of Frances! You can’t help but feel caught inside her life – seeing how even the most ordinary of lives can suddenly become a feast of trouble yet with a sturdy circle of friends and family; any obstacle can surely become defeated! I must admit, by the time I unearthed the actual crime and the person behind it – I was quite somber! I hadn’t expected the villain in the story to be whom they were as I was expecting it be someone else completely! The way in which Freeman related those finer details of the whys and hows lead me to believe the rest of this series is going to be as charmingly cosy to read as its debut!
-a quote from my review of The Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of the first novel in the series The Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder finding myself re-attached to the world Ms Freeman alights us inside and cheekily finding myself smirking into ready smiles all over again as I had when I first read the novel in print!
The narrator Sarah Zimmerman is a good match for bringing Frances to life – she has her sensibility and her personality perfectly perfected. I would imagine this might have been a hard role to fulfill because as soon as you begin reading these Mysteries you’ll notice the curiously brilliant styling of Freeman – she has the marked fixures of the era she’s writing but with the added bonus of giving us a heroine who reminds me of Lady Emily Ashton (from Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series) and Lady Darby (from Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby Mysteries).
The audio versions are a brilliant entrance and revisit of the series – Zimmerman has a tone of delivery I felt resonated with how I felt Frances would talk and relate her life to her listeners whilst at the same time, Zimmerman has one of those hypnotic voices which implores you to listen and to see how she delivers the story until the very end. I look forward to re-listening to these prior to the forthcoming third release A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder this Summer!
I hope you’ve brewed a cuppa to enjoy the information on this spotlighted post in conjunction with @SatBookChat whilst taking time to visit our past chats archived via the Moments on the chat’s feeds via Twitter. This chat will be archived after it concludes and a bit lateron from there to allow everyone the chance to interact, share and respond.
Without further adieu,
I give you the latest #SatBookChat spotlight
wherein you can learn a bit more about the author & her story.
The 3rd novel releases 28th July, 2020!
The Synopsis for A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder:
London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host—or hide—any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily’s imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton’s family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits—shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens.
But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it’s not simply the arrival of Frances’s socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these “accidents” are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily’s fiancé, Leo. Frances’s mother is unimpressed by Lily’s groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George—a man who loves her for much more than her dowry—she heartily approves of Lily’s choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas.
As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll. . . .