KINDLE A Useful Woman Ä Darcie Wilde
Uld have been a viscount instead But on the whole this story took hold of my imagination on various levels and held me tight till the end Some books start out strong and lose steam others start in deceptive meekness and build to the end I am happy to say that A Useful Woman is one of the latter Am looking forward to the further adventures of Rosalind Thorne Rosalind Thorne is an impoverished gentlewoman who makes a living being useful to members of the haut ton Once she had it all family fortune and love then it all went away when her father ran off leaving behind a mountain of debts Rosalind s Mama was unable to cope with the situation so Lady Blanchard Rosalind s godmother st I heard about this book on a forum of Historical Romance readers and thought the premise was intriguing so I decided to give it a whirl The protagonist of A Useful Woman isn t your typical Regency Era heroine who s a starry eyed miss attending balls and hoping to snag the perfect titled husband Rosalind Thorne has no hopes of a good match as she s broke and her family name s been disgraced by her profligate father Forced to make her own way Rosalind is now a social secretary to various high society matrons and she s very good at it because she s observant and detail oriented When she discovers the bloodied body of a young aristocrat on the floor of the revered Almack s ballroom she finds herself drawn into the investigation Her godmother along with the other Almack s patronesses are fearful of a scandal and would like the whole matter swept under the rug while the sister of the deceased is determined to see justice done Rosalind follows a trail of clues not sure if she even wants to now the identity of the murderer since most of the suspects including a former flame are dear to her Amidst all the deception and conspiracies will Rosalind be able to unmask the Agricultural Engineering killer or will she be the next victim This was a solid start for a new mystery series and I really liked Rosalind She was a tough cookie who made the best of her circumstances without complaining or feeling sorry for herself and she was in an interesting position of being caught between two worlds where she was associating with lords and ladies as well as people who worked in journalism and law enforcement I will confess that I was intrigued by the burgeoning love triangle between Rosalind her first love Devon who s now out of her reach because he s a duke and Adam the charismatic Bow Street Runner who enlists her help in solving the murder than I was in the mystery aspect of the book I liked both men so much I don t evennow which one I want Rosalind to end up with The mystery did pick up for me in the final act when Rosalind has a very harrowing face to face with the iller I m curious to see where the author goes with this series and how the triangle develops so I will certainly check out the next book This book was an all around fabulous surprise It did the job of setting up a new series offering up a cunning mystery plot challenging characters and the history came alive in this one It was one of those books where I started it late at night with the whole I ll just read one or two chapters chestnut and ended up finishing half in one sitting And then the next day I was in a feverish need to get back to the story Was this some exciting pulse pounding thriller Nope but it was straight up good stuff for the historical romantic suspense lover And this was just the beginning to the ongoing seriesThe book opens with Rosalind Thorne s lovely fairytale like life coming to a shattering end and then picks up a few years later when this lady with a spine of steel has picked up the pieces lady with a spine of steel has picked up the pieces has gone on with her life forging something new Once a member of the cream of society and headed toward her own happy and easy life now she is looked on warily by most as on the fringe but regarded highly as the woman who can be of the most use Rosalind lives hand to mouth and only by her wit and the help of her few friends does she get byThings take an interesting turn when suddenly she is drawn into an intrigue to help her godmother one of the esteemed Patronesses of Almack s encounters the man she thought once would be hers set to marry her worst enemy in society and also called upon by that same antagonistic woman to solve her brother s murder Rosalind reluctantly agrees to help discover the truth and even reluctantly chooses to partner with a Bow Street Runner Meanwhile her godmother s husband and her former love interest try to warn her away from her uest and she is caught up in feelings of attraction to two different men As she follows the trail of the murderer Rosalind is no longer sure of anythingI loved how this book did a great job of not only setting up the world of this series but also some ongoing character and relationship plots while delivering a nice teaser of a mystery Rosalind is a great heroine and I loved having both her and Harker and a few other minor characters narrating the story Rosalind has been through so much but she refuses to give in and uit People try to shame her and force her to feel bad for her family s tarnished rep and her own reduced circumstances but she eeps her chin up and doesn t let it beat her Seeing her vulnerable and yet also indomitable moved me powerfully I get the feeling that there is so much to come after this introductory book to the seriesThe mystery s solution didn t elude me for the whole story but it was of sufficient challenge that I could appreciate it I loved being along with Rosalind and Harker as they worked the case Harker is working class and Rose is a lady so the class distinctions added a bit of something to how
they had to divvy up detecting responsibilitiesThere are also a gaggle of fantastic secondary characters that had to divvy up detecting responsibilitiesThere are also a gaggle of fantastic secondary characters that hope to encounter freuently in this series I love how they span the gamut of society and types of relationships with each other So colorful and interestingAnd the historical backdrop was proof that the author did her homework and the world of the story felt authentic from how society behaved toward someone like Rosalind the significance of Almack s and the Season the pursuits of the upper level of Society along with the situation of the working class and the poor Customs fashions dialogue activities all was done wellSo in summary I can enthusiastically push this one at anyone who loves historical settings for their romantic suspense strong heroines and lots of colorful characters to support herMy thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review A Useful Woman had a bit of a ponderous start and was in serious danger of getting bogged down in too many details of propriety and drawing room niceties The Regency era is one of my comfort settings but something needs to happen within that setting for me to stay interested and that needs to happen pretty uickly Here it did set the stage for the tightrope that Rosalind is walking but I wish the touch had been Er the iller from a list of suspects that includes Almack’s powerful patronesses and her former suitor Devon Winterbourne now Lord Casselmaine Torn between her old love and a growing attraction to a compelling Bow Street runner Rosalind must not only unravel the mysteries surrounding Jasper’s death but the mysteries of her own heart as we. Was super into this I eep stumbling across it and so decided to read it todayI An Alien Heat keep wanting historical mystery series where women instead of just ignoring the constraints and conventions of their time are forced to operate within them This is definitely one of those I mean I m sure it s not 100% accurate but it s accurate enough It s accurate by historical fiction standards and there was nothing glaring Choices are well justified There are certain things the characters just don t do At no point did I roll my eyesAnd I am super into it I just really liked Rosalind Thorne and how this went Also really like the relationships between the women in this both friendly and not I don t even mind that thismight be setting up a view spoilerlove triangle hide spoiler A Useful Woman is the first in a new series of mysteries set in the Regency period featuring Rosalind Thorne a young lady of good birth who through no fault of her own has fallen upon hard times Even though it s a murder mystery it s a very gentle and rather polite story which I suppose befits the time in which it is set There are no gritty looks at real life or characters with ISSUES so the book might suit someone looking for a change of pace from the current trend for grisly tortuous plots and tormented protagonists as well as fans of historical mysteries in generalDarcie Wilde has written a number of historical romances but the emphasis in this book is firmly on the mystery and there is no romance to speak of There are hints that point towards one for our heroine in the future and we are made aware that she struggles to deal with the presence in her life of her former beau but otherwise this is very much a historical mystery with nothing on the sideThe book opens a few years before the main story begins revealing how Rosalind in confident expectation of an offer from Devon Winterbourne the second son of the Duke of Casselmain has her hopes dashed when her father reveals that he is in debt up to the eyeballs and then does a midnight flit accompanied by her older sister Charlotte Since then Rosalind s mother has died and had not been for the support of her godmother Lady Blanchard she would have been completely alone She was taken in by the Blanchards for a short while which is when she first began to use hernowledge of the workings of society to help its harried matrons compile guest lists make seating plans and arrange social occasions and generally act as a The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in Society kind of social secretary while alsonowing the right ears into which to drop choice tidbits of gossip Her family situation means that she is no longer regarded as part of the highest echelons but her usefulness means that she is still welcomed almost everywhereThe plot of A Useful Woman revolves around that bastion of good ton Almack s club Anyone who reads Regencies on a regular basis will be familiar with it to be granted a voucher to attend the regular assemblies was essential for any young lady with pretentions to good standing in society and bent on making a good marriage The rules of admission were complex and depended entirely upon the goodwill of the lady patronesses any one of whom could veto entry to the club uite a lot of the first part of the book is devoted to explaining the rituals surrounding Almack s and its importance in Regency society and some of it is uite repetitive The book is fairly slow to start which is I suppose due to the fact that as the first in a series there is a fair amount of scene setting to be doneThe story opens as one of the patronesses Lady Blanchard is on the point of announcing her resignation as she will be accompanying her husband abroad on his new diplomatic posting
a juicy piece gossip could not be ept a secret for long and Lady Aimesworth wastes no time in approaching Rosalind and asking her to put in a good word for her with Lady Blanchard Knowing there is no love lost between these two ladies Rosalind nevertheless mentions to her godmother that Lady Aimesworth is angling for the position of patroness expecting Lady B to immediately dismiss the idea When she doesn t Rosalind is not a little surprised but her uestions remain unanswered when their t te t te is interruptedThe start of the season is fast approaching and all the hopeful debutantes are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the vouchers that will launch them into society But when Jasper Aimesworth is found murdered in Almack s ballroom the cats are well and truly set among the pigeons and Rosalind must use her position as the person everyone talks to and relies on to try to find out the truth In this endeavour she is eventually joined by Principal Officer Adam Harkness of Bow Street a man whose charm and handsome features mask a mind like a steel trap and the determination to uncover the truth no matter the costI had a few problems with the mystery in that it feels rather convoluted towards the end and the ending is a little rushed I also found some of Rosalind s thought processes made unexpected leaps I m not a great reader of mysteries but when I do read them I prefer those in which the reader is allowed to make the connections at the same time as the protagonist There were a couple of times here when I read Rosalind s thoughts and then wondered how she d reached a particular conclusion which briefly took me out of the story But those issues are balanced out by the strength of the writing and by the way Ms Wilde so fully and skillfully immerses the reader in the writing and by the way Ms Wilde so fully and skillfully immerses the reader in customs and manners of the times There is a diverse and well drawn set of secondary characters ranging from those of the haut ton like the waspish Lady Jersey to Rosalind s two friends Alice and George Littlefield who like Rosalind are former gentry and who now have to work for a living Rosalind is an engaging and sympathetic heroine whose position as an outsider makes her vulnerable but who is nonetheless determined to hold her head up high even when others disparage her and remind her that her position in society isn t what it once wasAll in all A Useful Woman is an enjoyable easy read and one I d certainly recommend to fans of historical mysteries The author s research into the period has obviously been extensive Rosalind Thorne is a uniue and relatable heroine and I ll definitely be on the lookout for the next book in the series A USEFUL WOMANRosalind Thorne Mysteries 1Written by Darcie Wilde2016 Berkley 384 PagesGenre series fiction mystery cozy romanceRATING 12 Rosalind Thorne a daughter of a baronet is dreaming of her future with the man she loves when one night her mother and her return home early from a party Her older sister is uickly packing and fleeing into the night It seems her father is in financial trouble and has chosen to abandon his wife and youngest daughter to runaway After her mother passes away Rosalind must take on work to survive in 19th Century England She gets a job managing the affairs of wealthy women and becomes nown for her discretion Five years after Rosalind s father had disappeared. Inspired by the novels of Jane Austen this new mystery series set in 19th century London introduces the charming and resourceful Rosalind Thorne a woman privy to the secrets of high society including who among the ton is capable of murder The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress Rosalind Thorne was nearly ruined after her father abandoned ,Such A Juicy Piece
Things are starting to settle down for her when she is summoned back into her godmother Lady Blanchard s life When she goes to Almack s to pick up her godmother for dinner she discovers the body of Jasper Aimesworth an aristocrat who s sister Honoria is to marry Rosalind s almost fiance Devon Now Rosalind finds herself helping Honoria in her brother s death but also being around Devon If she is not careful Rosalind might be in danger herself before she can be outed from the Ton for goodUntil the murder of Jasper Aimesworth much of this novel reads like a historical romance There is nothing wrong with a historical romance if that is how the novel is supposed to be marketed From the synopsis you get the idea that this is a historical mystery with a dash of romance since it is set in Regency Era and has Jane Austen inspired as a tag line It takes awhile for this novel to start in general as we get a bit too much description of Regency days The mystery and cast of characters are also latecomers Once I let go of historical mystery I found myself enjoying the book A historical romance with a dash of mystery for me worked better Wilde was trying to bring in a bit of Austen s wit but it didn t uite work at times YET I finished the novel and did like it I am curious to see what Wilde has in store for book 2as there is potential and hopefully a fun love interestI received an eARC from NETGALLEYMy Novelesue Blog Copy gifted by the author posted to me by Sarah C one of the moderators of the Jane Austen Group Thanks very much for thatThis book isn t Heyerish a definite point in it s favour most of GH s imitators turn out very shoddy work but it does contain two things that pop up often in Heyer s Regency works the very exclusive social club Almack s As has often been mentioned in Regency works Almack s wasn t comfortable or even attractive served bad refreshments and the patronesses were crashing snobs But well done to these women for making their Assemblies the most sought after events of the London Seasonand the predecessor to the modern police force the famous or infamous Bow St Runners Welcome to the world of Rosalind Thorne a gentlewoman who through no fault of her own is now impoverished Rosalind is managing to eke out an existence with her wits charm discretion and because the ladies of the Haut Ton find her a useful womanWhen the aristocratic but unscrupulous Jasper Aimesworth is found dead in suspicious circumstances Rosalind finds herself involved in that most ungenteel of occupations gasp solving a murder and fighting an attraction to an astute and attractive Bow St Runner Adam HarknessI ve mentioned the two main pluses for me above The others were some signs of very solid research and the fast paced endingI m neutral on Rosalind as I found her character till close to the end uite bland But Rosalind probably had to suppress all distinctive personality traits to pick her way through all the social traps petty humiliations in London SocietyDefinite flaws This book sagged badly in the middle and I had to force myself to Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings keep going The speech is often uite modern or sometimes just plain odd like Mother had already scented that something was wrongA few anachronisms The most jarring for me was the Lady reporter friend of Rosalind s Alice appeared like a character from a Hollywood movie about the late nineteenth century I ve never read any account of the Regency world that suggested journalists as wenow them existedBut I still enjoyed this example of a Regency Whodunnit far than the single offerings I have read by Ashley Gardner and Stephanie BarronI m looking forward to Miss Thorne s next adventureEdit The lovely Ms Wilde has just been on the jane Austen Group for a A session Ms Wilde says the Regency era most definitely did have female journalists but they were working around marriage children were very underpaid compared to their male counterpartsI stand corrected 35 stars This read like it should be a television or movie plot It was very interesting well done and I liked the mystery and the setting of the whole story among the Almack ton I really liked view spoilerHonorio and I hope her friendship with Rosalind is expanded on in future books hide spoiler The blurb for this book does it a disservice Using the phrase inspired by the novels of Jane Austen raises a series of expectations that A Useful Woman is destined to disappoint That s unfortunate because it s uite a good novel for what it really isWhat it is is a historical mystery There are the usual romanceus interruptus elements that you find in mystery fiction today but no marriage plot there is mayhem there are unanswered uestions there is an investigation there is peril and an ultimate resolution There is even some social comedy though it is subservient to the plot and not an end in itself Others have called the novel Heyeresue instead of Austenesue because it focuses on the Regency Marriage Mart Almack s But again it s not a marriage plot story and doesn t have a lot s But again it s not a marriage plot story and doesn t have a lot humorous characters put
in for pure amusement such as you would find in Georgette Heyer s novelsOnce I had gotten over focusing onfor pure amusement such as you would find in Georgette Heyer s novelsOnce I had gotten over focusing on this book is not didn t take too long I settled in to enjoy a well conceived well written mystery novel Rosalind Thorne is the daughter of a disgraced gentleman who maintains a tenuous position in polite society by making herself useful when life s little peccadilloes threaten social disaster She is a fixer of scandals a manager of ambitious strivings a taste maker As such she lives always on the Mapping wild gardens: The symbolic conquest of South Africa (African literatures in English) knife edge of banishment from the only world shenows I sympathized and empathized with her admired her self control and her ingenuity as she navigates this perilous courseThere is a murder and not just Rosalind s godmother but also the estranged love of her life seems to have some connection to it The sister of the victim is virtually engaged to said love of her life and she asks Rosalind to investigate It seems the only people who wish Rosalind well are the ones most likely to suffer from her inuiries This is an elegantly constructed plot that really draws the reader into sympathy with the heroine s difficulties material ethical emotionalI appreciated the wealth of research about life in London in the Regency the many telling details that the author uses to make a larger point I never felt the author was throwing in factoids to show off The author deftly uses the intricate social rules of the haut ton to drive the plot the dialogue is admirable for its elegance and restraint I loved the use of de uincey s tongue in cheek essay On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts in the chapter epigraphs though that s an anachronism the essay wasn t published till 1827I am a bit of a purist about period language so I did not love the many modernisms that slipped into the narrative they jarred me out of the novel s spell There were also a few odd rookie errors such as people addressing a duke repeatedly as Lord Casselmain instead of Your Grace Perhaps he co. He family To survive in the only world she new she began to manage the affairs of some of London society’s most influential women who have come to rely on her wit and discretion So when artistocratic wastrel Jasper Aimesworth is found dead in London’s most exclusive ballroom Almack’s Rosalind must use her skills and connections to uncov. .