Cover Image: No Life for a Lady

No Life for a Lady

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"No Life for a Lady" would be best described as a lovely historical fiction about a woman ahead of her time, trying (or not) to fit in 1800s Victorian England. I saw another reader's review comparing this to "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," and while the protagonists in each book share some similar quirks, the story here was on the more humorous spectrum (honorable mention of the hilarity that was chapter 40). I might not have been too fond of the pacing at first, especially in the first third of the story, but it's just one little thing among many things I loved, such as the playing the detective aspect of this book, all the hilarious misunderstandings, and one very interesting gentleman named Benjamin Blackthorne (and the marvellous science that went behind chapter 58). And I simply adored Violet. She's one of the funniest female characters I've encountered in a while! If you're looking for a very entertaining historical fiction novel, look no further and read Hannah Dolby's new book.
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This was one hell of a book to read. Loved every minute of it. Well worth more than 5 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this ARC
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Still in the process of finishing this one - full review to come! I will update my star rating also.
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As light  humorous historical romance stories go this one was excellent. I enjoyed the setting of  turn of the century Hastings  and  found the  characters  engaging.  A fun read.
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A quirky, funny Victorian mystery, Dolby’s debut novel was a refreshingly original story about a young woman who wants to find mother. Viola doesn’t want to get married. She wants to be independent, have a career but finds herself being forced by her father to meet a multitude of young bachelors that she has no intention on marrying.

Hiring a detective to help find her mother is a bold step, but soon Viola is over her head and pins her hope on Mr Blackthorn, another detective to help her out of her predicament. Viola decides that she could be a lady detective and nothing or no one is going to stand in her way.

This was such a fun read! If you like Miss Marple and Enola Holmes, Viola will be a character you will enjoy. Her innocence and naïveté as a young 28 year old woman who hasn’t received any guidance from her mother is highlighted throughout and Dolby uses this to bring about some hilarious and touching moments in the story.

This is not just a book about a mystery- it’s about women breaking conventions and making a place for themselves in the world regardless of what society dictates to them. The romance sub-plot adds a further dimension to the story and I loved the banter between Bernard and Viola. Another stand out character is Mrs Monks- she’s a tyrant to Viola but their interactions bring about some of the funniest scenes in the book.

An entertaining coming of age story with plenty of humour and mystery. I hope that Hannah gives Viola another book and can’t wait to see what she writes next. Thanks to NetGalley and Aria & Ares for the arc. No Life for a Lady is out now! 4 ⭐️
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I voluntarily read an advanced copy of No Life For a Lady by Hannah Dolby. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to NetGalley and Aria & Aries for this ARC.

I started this book and, from the start, was confused about the tone. The flip from independent woman to sheltered daughter was too extreme. But I kept with the book, thinking that eventually, everything would click. I also wanted to know what happened to the mother. Unfortunately, that plot arc was very disappointing. I give this book 2/5 stars.
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This was a slow one, especially the first half. While I did find myself wanting to stop reading it altogether at times, the humor and mystery helped me want to finish it. This is a unique book, one that I would not normally go for, but overall I’m happy I read it. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a honest review
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Violet Hamilton is twenty eight, she can clearly remember the day her mother Lily left their house in Hastings, she was going to visit friends and she never returned. Violet’s father alerted the police, they looked into her disappearance, Lily was seen near St Leonards Pier, the police assume she drowned and her father ordered the staff pack up all his wife's possessions and store them in the attic. 

Ten years later, Violet’s father has been trying to marry her off for years, what he doesn’t understand is after her mother went missing, Violets friends stopped talking to her, they cross the street when they see her and some men no longer treat her with the respect she deserves. 

Violet doesnt want to get married, her greatest wish is to find out what happened to her mother and she secretly hires a private detective to look into Lily's disappearance and she doesn’t want her father to know. Mr. Knight uncovers some shocking information about Lily, what her mother had been doing for the months prior to her vanishing, Violet didn't have a clue and this makes her extremely curious and she now wants to investigate the case herself.

In 1896, a lady of her social standing shouldn’t go out in public without a chaperone and could never be a sleuth, and Violet comes up with some clever ways and reasons to leave the house. Violet is frustrated by her lack of life inexperience, she has no idea about basic things a grown woman should know and what she has been told is rather vague and couldn't possibly be correct?

I received a copy of No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby from NetGalley and Aria and Aries in exchange for an honest review. The narrative is based around a long term missing person’s case, and the main character Violet wanting to break free of the silly rules women are forced to follow and start working as a private investigator. Violet wants to test society’s boundaries, at her age she’s considered a spinster any way, she makes some amusing blunders along the way and discovers the possibility her mother is still alive.

A Victorian era mystery and a humerus coming of age story all rolled into one narrative and Violet is a rather inquisitive and funny character, I enjoyed reading about how she outsmarted the creepy suitors her father found and her hilarious verbal exchanges with Benjamin Blackthorn and Maria Monk and four stars from me.
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Fabulous! I loved Violet so much and the story was hugely entertaining. I’d love to see a Netflix adaptation! Very VERY highly recommended. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.
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This was quite a quirky and at times a funny read. Violet was such a naive young lady and she had no one to guide her. However, she was determined and wanted to find herself something useful to do. Violet wants to find out what happened to her mother. This brings her in contact with Benjamin, a one time detective and now shopkeeper. She feels an attraction to Benjamin but is unsure what to make of it. This was an entertaining read, it was good to see Violet maturing throughout the story and becoming more self aware and confident. This appears to be the first in a series and I will be interested in seeing how this series develops. I found this to be an entertaining read with a good variety of characters. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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“Delightful” describes Hannah Dolby’s No Life for a Lady.  Despite the central character’s frustrating but understandable naivete and her bumbling, or perhaps because of them, I was quickly drawn into Violet Hamilton’s loneliness, her desire for independence, and her search for her mother who had been missing for a decade.   

A fan of Victorian fictional female detective Loveday Brooke, Violet lives with her banker father in Hastings, England.  She has never had any adult responsibilities other than running his household since her mother left home as if to go to one of her frequent social engagements, giving no hint she wouldn’t return later in the day. Even running the household, Violet has the help of two full-time servants and a weekly laundrywoman.  Regarded as a spinster at twenty-eight, Violet is happy with her single status.  In fact, she has long found creative ways to reject every suitor her father brings home.

Violet is a determined woman.  Without telling her father, she hires Frank Knight, a detective, to search for her mother, but she soon regrets her decision for more than one reason.  Wanting to replace Knight, she finds an advertisement for Bernard Blackthorn, only to find him deceased and his son Benjamin running a furniture shop at the address. Might Benjamin be able to help her find her mother? After all, he had learned  the detective business from his father. Despite Benjamin Blackthorn’s insistence that he is now a furniture salesman and nothing more and his advice to let Frank Knight continue doing the job, Violet hopes Blackthorn will change his mind. As a married man with a large brood of children, he inspires Violet’s trust, and she feels safe around him. 

What’s more, she has found an object in his shop—a means to learn a respectable trade and to achieve the independence she craves and has been held back from achieving as a woman.  

Surprisingly, Violet soon finds herself attempting seemingly simple detective jobs on her own and managing to botch the jobs in ways frustrating or embarrassing to her but humorous to readers.  

What will the future bring for Violet Hamilton?  Will she find her mother with or without Detective Frank Knight? Will she achieve the independence she so craves? Pick up this delightful book, turn the pages, and find out.

Thanks to NetGalley and Aria for an advance reader copy.

Shared on Barnes and Noble.
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The year is 1896 and it’s now been a decade since Violet Hamilton’s mother vanished without a trace, determined to find out what really happened to her she hires a detective who turns out to not be who she thought he was and this in turn drags her into a whole world of things she shouldn’t be involved in…

Despite being about someone going missing this book is fun and pretty light hearted and I raced through it. At the centre is a mystery but the book is very much about women breaking convention and being who they want to be in a time where that was almost impossible.

There’s also a romance side plot which I absolutely adored and could’ve read an entire book about! I hope this is the beginning of a series as I don’t think the characters are finished with yet!
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🗃️No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby🗃️

Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…

28 year old Violet is not your average Victorian woman. She is strong, independent, and with no desire to marry, she has her father driven to distraction. 

Violet wants to work and make her own way in the world, but despite this rebuffing of social conventions, she is still quite prim and proper and altogether living a sheltered life on the edge of societal ostracism because of her lifestyle choices - namely, being single.

Until that is, she embarks on searching for the one thing she wants more than anything, to find her mother, Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier. Violet feels her beloved mother’s disappearance wasn’t taken seriously, the police closed the case toot de suite, and Father won’t have ‘that woman’ mentioned in the house any longer. Violet even feels the house servants resent her for their lady of the house abandoning them.

There is, of course, no such thing as a lady detective, other than in the books Violet immerses herself in at home rather than spend time with her dour father. Instead, Violet hires a rather shady character, a man who gives her the heebie-jeebies, to help, sparking a chain of events that risk not only Violet’s reputation and a family scandal but that unearths shocking secrets that some people will do anything to keep hidden.

Violet is a great protagonist. Inquisitive, tenacious and full of charisma, it is impossible not to root for her. Though she did have me cringing sometimes with her candid honesty, she has little ‘filter’ once she gets going, but it’s clear working up to a frank conversation gives her immense nerves too.

The mix of mystery and historical fiction works well here with a slowly unravelling tale with some twists and surprises along the way, but interwoven beautifully is Violet’s journey of self-discovery as she reflects on the world around her.

A quirky, funny, beautifully written read that you’ll race through. 4⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advance copy in return for an honest review. No Life for a Lady is out now.
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This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I really enjoyed it! The author does a great job of blending romance and mystery along with historical details and entertaining fiction. Violet Hamilton is a wonderful lead character who has the perfect blend of lady like behaviors and witty attitude to keep the reader guessing! 

Overall 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📚Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher via Netgalley. All thoughts, opinions, comments, and interpretations of the story are my own and bias free. I did not receive any money in exchange for this review. Thank you to the publisher/author for allowing me the opportunity to review. Reviews are usually cross-posted to social media, goodreads, and bookbub. 🦄
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No Life For a Lady is a cozy detective story set in 1896.

Violet is 28 and she is becoming increasingly ostracised by society for remaining unmarried. To her father's consternation, she refuses any and all potential suitors.

Violet isn't interested in marriage. She wants to work and learn about the world, not become just another unhappy wife. This reluctance is  fuelled partly by her mother expressing extreme horror at the marital intimacy expected. Violet was close to her mother, but one night she simply vanished and this is a mystery that Violet feels compelled to solve.

Hiring a detective, Frank Knight, Violet soon discovers her mother was more than she could ever have imagined. But Frank gives her the creeps and she tries to sever the arrangement, with no success.

She has learned of another potential source of help in the form of Benjamin Blackthorn, a reluctant former detective. Violet explodes into his life, and she soon acquires life experiences she would never have dreamt of.

A quirky and fun read, there's no doubt that Violet has gumption and tenacity, but also a tender heart and an insatiable curiosity which leads her to finding the answers she's longed for.

And there's a sprinkling of romance along the way too.
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In 1886, the beautiful and vivacious Lily Hamilton appeared to vanish in thin air, never to be seen or heard from again. A decade later and still finding no answers to her sudden disappearance, Lily's daughter Violet takes it upon herself to hire a private investigator but when he instills little confidence, Violet attempts to solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance her way. However, in the close-knit town of Hastings where tongues wag and eyebrows rise, can Violet solve the mystery all the while keeping her reputation intact?

Hannah Dolby has crafted an utter joy of a read. I read this book in one (yes, one!) sitting because I had so much enjoyment and pleasure from the story that my afternoon flew by in the blink of an eye.

Violet is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the novel. Her humour, wit and courage leap off the pages in abundance that you simply cannot help but to fall in love with her and root for her success. The incredible naivety in which she regards the adult world - intimately - I believe makes her more sympathetic and brings to light the way that many women were often shielded of their own sexuality and femininity by society.

Violet is a narrator whose voice you never tire of and I would adore to read more of her "Lady Detective" escapades in the future!

Perhaps the ending was a tad rushed for my tastes, but when compared to the overall development of Violet's character and storyline, this is just a minor quibble.

No Life For A Lady is a fun, fresh look at exploring the female role in a male-dominated society at the end of the Victorian period and I can see this being a firm favourite among many historical fiction readers.
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No life for a Lady is a brilliant Historical Fiction and Mystery Novel that I feel very lucky to have been able to read as an Advanced Copy. 

Dolby explores feminism, sexuality, self-growth and self discovery absolutely beautifully. The writing is fast paced and incredibly witty - I laughed out loud on multiple occasions. 

The story focuses on a 28 year old woman named Violet in 1898. Violet’s Mother disappeared 10 years prior and she now lives with her Father, who expects Violet to run the household and to marry. Violet is very strongly against this whole premise and continuously fights against female stereotypes, focusing more on what she would like to do for herself. While this story delves more into the disappearance of Violet’s Mother, Violet meets a number of new people and discovers a lot about herself along the way. 

This story has an equal balance of plot and character focus, which really hooks you as you learn more about each character. The book is very accessible and has quickly moved into my top 10 books. I could not recommend this enough. 

Obviously this book gets a 5/5 after I’ve done nothing but sing it’s praises. 

The book is now on sale as of yesterday and I’m going to need to get myself a physical copy because I know I’m going to want to read this again in the future. 

What a brilliant novel 🤩
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Oh, I love this book! It was such a nice read, and you can't not love Violet. It was an engaging story line and I was hooked from the beginning in Violet's search for her mother.
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This was an entertaining, well-written book. It was fun, intriguing, held my interest and I wanted to find out what was going on. I enjoyed this book and will look for more books by this author.
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I couldn't connect with this story. I don't quite understand why, but I didn't.

I say that I can't understand why I didn't connect because I think it's an interesting story, that it's well written and I really like that it shows how a woman was limited at a certain time (although she still is today, but from other aspects ) and how he coped with it.

However, it took me a long time to read it because I didn't feel attracted to the story, it didn't make me want to continue with the next chapter. In any case, I consider that it is something very personal, because I have not seen any faults.

The chapters are short and dynamic which makes the reading quite light.
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