Cover Image: No Life for a Lady

No Life for a Lady

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Member Reviews

We meet 28-yr-old Violet Hamilton in Victorian Hastings, ten years after the disappearance of her mother. A chance sighting of a newspaper advertisement for a new detective in town leads Violet to hire him in the hopes of finding out what happened to her mother.

Violet quickly comes to realise that the detective, Mr Knight, is not acting as she hopes, but he refuses to be put off the case. She also finds another option in the form of former detective Mr Blackthorne, but he doesn’t want the case. Violet, who returns to Mr Blackthorne’s shop to use his typewriter in an effort to train as a “Lady typist”, finds herself increasingly drawn into investigating cases that have found their way to Mr Blackthorne, while simultaneously trying to bat away suitors that her father insists on bringing home. As the investigation into her mother’s disappearance progresses, she knows that there is much to uncover and must decide whether finding out the truth is really what is best for herself and her father.

I really enjoyed this story, and loved Violet! Her interactions with others in the story, from the kindly reverend, to the unsuitable suitors, the ladies in the house of ill repute, her father’s new love interest, and the detective who makes her feel warm in a way she doesn’t quite understand, are funny and charming. While wonderfully naïve at the start of the book, Violet grows with every new interaction, and I found her quirks very endearing. I loved her efforts to learn about being a “Lady detective” and I hope there might be a sequel, as I’m not ready to say goodbye to some of these characters just yet! I would recommend this title to any fans of historical fiction.

My thanks to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for the arc to review.
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This was a really fun read.

At 18: Violet’s mother goes out one day. However she never comes home. The police investigate but close the case on lack of evidence.

10 years later, Evie, now 28 is living with her father. Determined to stay a spinster, she rebuffs the advances of all the unsuitable men that her father tries to set her up with.  Determined to find out what happened to her mother, she hires a private detective.

Violet gets herself into some scrapes along the way as she can’t help doing a little investigating herself.

Thanks must go to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
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I totally enjoyed this book. It is charming, funny, fast-paced and I read it in one sitting! 
Violet is 28 years old and her father fears she will never marry. No matter who he introduces her to as potential husband material, Violet finds new and creative ways to discourage the young man. She is only interested in solving the mystery of her mother's disappearance. She hires a detective to help and he turns out to be very trustworthy, not on the up and up. Violet then attempts to hire a second one, Benjamin who doesn't really wabt to be a detective anymore. 
There are some really terrific laugh out loud moments throughout this story. Violet is a pill and her inner thoughts can be a riot. Benjamin is a sweet cuddly teddy bear that you just want to squeeze and hold tight. 
Overall a truly delightful, light- hearted mystery/romance? I highly recommend to readers who are looking for a quick laugh and light entertainment for the afternoon. 
Thank you to Aria Publishing and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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Violet doesn’t want to get married. Why would she when she learned all she knows about sex and marriage from her mother who disappeared 10 years previous when she was just 18. Now 28, Violet is trying to find her mother and is learning some new things along the way. 
It’s glorious, so funny, quick, witty and clever. I adored it.
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Ten years after her mother went out and never returned, Violet wants answers. A historical fiction novel that is charming. I loved Violet and would like to see her story continue.
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Set in the late 1800s, violet is a rather innocent girls who's mother disappeared 10 years ago. She makes the decision to enrol the local private detective to find her, but then realises all may not be as it seems with him.
She then goes off in search of a new detective and finds Mr Blackthorn and sets off a whole new chain of events.
This was a slow burn mystery, with some really funny dialogue. Violet as a character was interesting and it was enjoyable to read about her escapades. Mr Blackthorn was a fab character and found the story picked up once he was involved.
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This book was well written and I loved the main character! I enjoyed all the characters in the novel and felt they were all written well and with depth. I thought this story was very entertaining and funny at times and would definitely recommend. My only complaint would be it took a little too long to get really into the story I think was a quarter of the way through before becoming really invested in the characters. I give this historical mystery 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. I want to thank NetGalley and Aria & Aries for the digital arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this book it was amazing read loved it. I loved learning about the Victorian fashion the type righters.  How the people used to live. I loved learning about the mystery and Hastings pier. And the characters lives and they story behind them. I loved doing the read along as well plus having a special a code as well as the book. Loved violets character and learning the mystery how to solve the story. Brilliant book.
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A delightful historical mystery book, featuring a strong willed, loveable heroine. 

Violet is a 28 year old, unmarried woman in 1896 but rather than searching for a husband she’s searching for answers about her mothers mysterious disappearance 10 years ago.

It took me a little while to get in to the story but I was instantly charmed by the characters and descriptions of Victorian Hastings. I found myself drawn further into the plot as the book progressed, becoming invested in Violet’s life and in discovering what had happened to her mother. 

Violet is the heart of the story and it was interesting to follow her as she navigated Victorian society and expectations alongside processing the trauma of losing her mother and a desire to be independent. Her quirky personality and interactions with more conventionally Victorian characters also leads to plenty of fun and laugh out loud moments!

This was an enjoyable, easy read. I’m really looking forward to reading more from this author. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby was such a treat to read! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my ARC.

At 28, Violet's father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton's vanishing before it's too late?

You guys this book is so laugh out loud funny! Dare I say it is a historical fiction rom-com! It took me a few chapters to get into the story and relate to Violet, but the humor and mystery kept my interest. Highly recommend. 4 stars.

This is a perfect book for people who love a cozy mystery, rom-com vibes, and historical fiction.
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First of all, thank you to Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

(This book is more of a 3.5 stars, but I don't like to give lower scores, so it's rounded up to four stars!)

This book had a premise that had me hooked from the start. A period piece, mixed with some romance and mystery. Sign me up! I enjoyed how the story unfolded and how well you got to know Violet Hamilton, our main character. Is she most well-developed main character ever? No, but I understood where she was coming from most of the time. You see, Violet does not want to get married, not even a little bit. She rebuffs any suitor that her father sends her way, no matter how persistent they may be. She is far too busy finding her missing mother. When nearing the ten year anniversary, she decides to hire a detective to find her. However, this detective, a Mr. Knight, is a bit of a weird fellow and she does not like him much at all. So, she finds another one, Mr. Blackthorn, but he says he no longer works as a detective. She hopes to persuade him and persists going to meet him. From there on out, her life devolves into a bit of a mess. 

For the characters, only Violet is really ever dealt with in-depth. The other characters, fun as they may be, never really get to become anything more than two dimensional people, there to drive the plot. Even her eventual love interest does not get much depth to him, which is unfortunate. The ending also felt a bit rushed, leaving so much to be said, that it felt as if there were chapters missing. It seemed to me that the author perhaps could not satisfactory explain or expand upon the situation Violet and her family found themselves in that she decided that an open-end was the best option for story. Maybe that's true, but I wish she would've written more. If there is ever a sequel, I will be sure to crack it open to know how everything unfolded.
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Those looking for a light-hearted, cosy historical mystery will find they’ve come to the right place with No Life for a Lady. Violet is a sparky, likeable character who is determined to resist her father’s efforts to marry her off. There’s fun right from the beginning as Violet recalls the ways she’s managed to fend off potential suitors to date. This includes pushing one such unfortunate into a boating lake and inserting a hot teapot between herself and another.

It was unclear to me why Violet has waited ten years to make a serious attempt to investigate her mother’s disappearance but once she embarks upon it she has no intention of stopping. Except that her chosen detective turns out to be no ‘knight in shining armour’. (Violet, you should have trusted your instincts). Suddenly, Violet wonders if she’s really ready to find out her mother’s secrets and to have them become the talk of the ladies of Hastings, not to mention the men. She’d wanted discretion, wishing to keep the investigation from her father.

Although it makes for some slapstick humour, I wouldn’t have minded if the author had made Violet slightly less ditzy. She’s frequently tripping over things, bumping into lamp posts and even getting locked inside a price of furniture at one point.  She’s also rather naive although, to be fair, that does lead to some laugh out loud moments, such as Violet’s errand on behalf of a Mrs Monk, the same lady who corrects a few of Violet’s misapprehensions about ‘marital intimacy’.  And, for a prospective detective, Violet is a little quick to reach conclusions based on limited evidence, including about one particular person.  However, she’s up for pretty much anything – except house cleaning – leading one character to remark ‘You are the most infuriating female I’ve ever met’.

Set in 1896, there’s a nice depiction of a Victoran seaside town complete with bathing carriages, small boys dressed in sailor suits and ladies promenading in their finery, although I’m not sure the phrase ‘get his finger out’ would have been in common parlance then. If I’m wrong, I stand corrected.

Finding the solution to the mystery of her mother’s disappearance provides Violet with grounds for believing she has what it takes to become a detective. It also signals there is potentially more fun to come in the company of this particular Lady Detective.
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A compeling, entertaining and well plotted story.
I loved the characters and found the plot tightly knitted and fast paced.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
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Absolutely fabulous!
Historical fiction with a modern twist this kept me engaged all the way through. I love the fact you can get an insight into bothe the time period and the setting of Hastings and feel like you can be walking the streets with Violet. 
She’s an amazing strong female character who I would love to be friends with. And Mr Blackthorn had to be my favourite other character. The relationship building with him was just done impeccably.
Overall and absolutely favourite read so far this year!
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The concept of NO LIFE FOR A LADY has potential: feisty spinster Violet Hamilton, 28, who lives in Hastings, England, in 1896, wants to find her missing mother, Lily, who left Violet and her father suddenly 10 years ago. 

Alas, the story took nearly to the end to generate enough oomph or real feeling to capture this reader's attention. 

I will not publish my comments anywhere else, because I believe the writer has innate ability and just needs more time to hone skills in plotting, pace, and character development. I wish her great future success.
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I don't read a lot of historical novels but this was quite refreshing. It showed how stifling and restrictive life was for women in Victorian times. The fact that a father can make decisions for a 28 year old is shocking! Violet is a breath of fresh air. Trying to stick within social norms and preserve her reputation while investigating her mother's disappearance 10 years previously. A light, refreshing read. #netgalley #NoLifeForaLady
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At 18 years old Violet's mother vanished from her life, having kissed her goodbye that evening. Having been last spotted on the Hastings Pier, she vanished without a trace. Now 10 years later Violet is desperate to find her beautiful - if not slightly flighty and flirty - mother. In her desperation she hires the private detective Frank Knight to investigate, but with every interaction with Frank, Violet senses she will need to solve her mother's disappearance on herself since Benjamin Blackthorn, the son of a PI is determined to remain simply the owner of a furniture shop.

This book came as a bit of a surprise, I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, but Violet's antics were hilarious and kept me engaged and entertained even if the pacing of the book was a bit slow at times. 

Violet herself is fiesty and courageous, if not woefully ill equipped for the realities of the world. Naivete cannot be avoided though considering Victorian sensibilities and a father who virtually ignores her unless it's trying to set her up with another hapless chap. While her father desperately wants her to get married, Violet is an expert at warding off potential suitors. 

No, for Violet she is singularly focused on finding her mother, which while this is the main driving plot of the novel was not my favourite part of it. I prefered the moments of absurdity that came with Violet's antics and adventures - they were much more compelling and interesting.

In the end it is a lovely coming of age tale, for a woman that at 28 in this era should really have come of age long ago. It's a fun, charming, and lighthearted read sure to amuse readers.
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Charming, inspiring and hilarious, it was a perfect read for the International Women’s Day!

The story follows Violet Hamilton, a twenty eight year old woman whose mother disappeared ten years earlier. Violet is determined to find out what had happened and, without telling her father, hires a detective. As the detective proves to be less and less trustworthy, she tries to hire another one - enter Benjamin Blackthorn, an adorable giant who really wants to drop the whole detective business and live a quiet life selling furniture. 

The pacing of the first half of this book was very slow but this is my only complaint. No life for a lady is an engrossing historical mystery with a wonderful cast of characters (trust me, you want to meet Maria Monk, a former courtesan and an occasional sex-ed teacher) and a compelling storyline. I loved Violet’s inner monologue, this book made me laugh out loud so many times! Violet was brilliant in the way she scared off her suitors and absolutely adorable when trying to escape an uncomfortable situation. Benjamin was like a big puppy; good natured but clumsy at times, I just wanted to hug him 🤗 While romance is not the center of attention in this story (no smut, pervs!) it surely adds to its charm. 

Highly recommended, we need more women like Violet! 

Thank you Aria & Aries and NetGalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Ohmygosh this book! This was an absolute charm of a read, so witty - some of it is laugh out loud, I mean if you've read the bit about the turkey neck/ mushroom you know exactly what I mean.

Violet Hamilton is an independent, strong minded, driven woman - in 1896. She does not want to follow the rules, she doesn't want to court men or get married (especially not to please her father) - what she really wants to do is live her life the way she wants to, and find her mother who went missing 10 years ago.

On a mission to unravel the circumstances that surrounded her mother's disappearance Violet crosses paths with private detectives, and gets a taste of wanting to do her own detective work. Let me just leave it there without spoilers - but expect: bucking the rules, humour, a great insight into the times, some fabulous vocabulary (Popinjay, Camphor, Bombazine, Mycology - just some of the fab words I googled!) oh and yes I did also google THAT mushroom!

I'm really hoping there will be a sequel...
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No Life for a Lady is a bold, historical fiction read, centred around 28-year old Violet Hamilton, an unmarried spinster who struggles to fit into the confines and expectations set by society.
This was such a fun read! The book started off quite slow and did take me quite a few chapters to really get into, but once I was half way through and the mystery finally started to unravel, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Violet is a strong, independent character who just doesn't fit into the mould of a women of that era, much to the dismay of her father who is desperate for her to get married and forget about her mother's disappearance ten years prior. Violet knows her own mind and isn't afraid to stand up for herself (without feeling like an unrealistic character for the time period), and I love that. 
Violet finds herself spending time with detective/furniture seller Mr Blackthorn, who is just an absolute delight, and I adored reading about them together. 
My one gripe with this story was that the end felt a little rushed. Once the mystery was solved and the twists unravelled, I would have liked to have seen some more of what happened afterwards and what it meant for the relationships between certain characters.
I would describe this book as a 'cosy mystery' with a tiny sprinkling of romance thrown in for good measure. A book with plenty of wit, humour and feel good vibes, that doesn't take itself too seriously - I would recommend!
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