Cover Image: No Life for a Lady

No Life for a Lady

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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 🤩
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
This book reminded me a lot of Lex Croucher novels which are strong female characters within the regancy period. This book however is set slightly later in the late Victorian era but i can still see the similarities between them. I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Violet and Benjamin at times and it also felt a little bit clinical which could be because of the time period in which this was set. 

The plot was an interesting one and I didn’t expect some of the turns which the story took. I laughed allowed though because of what Mrs monks made poor violet do, which shows really how innocent she is. I love how violet didn’t want to conform to the typical women stereotype of the time and wanted to be her own person and have her own career. The character of violet reminds me of the character of Enola homes as she is interested in becoming a lady detective. I’m
Was this review helpful?
Violet Hamilton was 18 when her mother, Lily, disappeared.  It was in the summer of 1886.  Now, 10 years later, her mother has never been found.  Violet’s father is quite concerned that at 28 his daughter will never marry.  He is a banker and they live in a suitable home with a few servants.  

Violet loved her mother dearly and misses her so much.  Unbeknownst to her father, Violet hires Frank Knight, a detective, to see if he can find her mother.  After meeting with him a couple of times, she feels like he is a sleaze and wants to find another detective.  However, the other one has passed on and his son has retired from that business and runs a furniture store.  His name is Benjamin Blackwood.  They become friends and Violet helps with some detective work for him as she learns to type on an old typewriter he has.

I feel like the intention of the book was to express the independence of a woman during this time period.  However, the story seemed to drag and be somewhat repetitious with Violet getting into things that she simply should not have.  The ending - finally - was good which wrapped up the story fairly well.  

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
When I first started this novel it wasn’t what I was expecting. It took me a little while to get used to the pace of the novel as well as the author’s writing style but as soon as I settled in, I truly enjoyed this quirky novel. Violet is a determined, single minded young woman but she’s also naive and somewhat misguided. She has not had a mother to ask questions about life and her father is unemotional and doesn’t want much to do with Violet because she reminds him of her mother. Although he does seem to want her to marry well, if not only to get her out of his house. As Violet finds out things about her mother, it taints her view of the world and men in general. She goes out of her way to dissuade her beau’s from falling for her and is actually quite comical in her excuses to get away. This rather endears her character to me at the same time as making me shrink away in embarrassment for her.

When Violet tries to hire the “other” detective in town that I begin to understand her motives a little bit better. This young woman, without a mother, is trying to find herself. She is a boat without a rudder and is spinning in circles. The only thing she thinks she knows is that she doesn’t want to get married because from what her mother told her it sounds awful. Benjamin, brings some stability to her life. He doesn’t try to hold her back, he in fact helps her with her detective work, giving sound advice and giving her life a little direction. Of course, he’s a man who she must not mislead- so there’s a little misdirection on her part to hold him at a distance.

No Life for a Lady was entertaining once I understood that I wasn’t reading a romance, but a coming of age story- despite the young woman being twenty-eight. It was also a mystery, but the disappearance of her mother tied into why Violet behaved so bizarrely. As a woman in the current world, it is always interesting to see how women were subjugated and held back. The men in Violet’s life treated her pretty abominably which was why Benjamin was so refreshing. The author was very clever in giving us a lot of disreputable male characters to contrast and caste him in such a good light.

If you decide to read this book, give it a few chapters to find the pace and discover the humor and quirkiness in Violet’s character. She is truly an original and even though this book was pretty light-hearted what she went through made me think about her and women in her situation in the hours following my finishing the book. The mystery was secondary to a story that was entirely character driven but once it was solved it did explain quite a few things about the mystery that was Violet. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the opportunity to review this new novel.

I think the actual book is not living up to the premise... "A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs Bird, The Maid and Lessons in Chemistry." I've read the first and the third of these books and No Life for a Lady doesn't even come near those in terms of plot, characters and atmosphere. I requested this book because I thought this was perfect for me. 

Violet was thinking the same things over and over with her internal dialogue which slowed down the pace and there the book lost me. I grew frustrated that nothing really happened and lost my patience. I put it down.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed the fun banter between the hero and the heroine.  Each scene had me chuckling to myself. I have read books before featuring a female detective in a male dominated field, but never one quite like this. The heroine is plucky and fits to the role so well. The hero is also so very likable while still giving her the space she needs. 
I will say I didn't altogether enjoy the ending. While I somewhat saw it coming, I didn't enjoy it. In fact that ending alone would make me hesitate on who I would recommend this book to. 
I also had to keep reminding myself that the female was 28 and not a teen. It read very much like an 18-22 year, not a 28 year old. However, I was able to overlook that as her upbringing brought about the way she thought about the world. 
Overall I really enjoyed the humor in this book. There were many moments I found myself laughing to myself. Very fun characters overall.
Was this review helpful?
I kept wondering about Violet’s mother and what has happened to her.
It’s a long drawn out plot, one that could have easily been truncated.
Some of the book it cheesy, but I liked the cover and the ending.
Was this review helpful?
RIGHT. I've had enough of this book so I'm quitting while I'm ahead. This was awful. 

The writing was strong enough for me to whack on an extra star, but good lord it was like reading the first three chapters of a book over and over again, never quite getting enough information or moving at a pace faster than a SNAIL to get interested. I read a review that called this amateurish and I am inclined to agree. There are so many plot ideas, so many little scraps of detail that have been stitched together and pushed into 300 pages and's achingly dull. Nothing happens! Our protagonist, the most significant character, is annoyingly naive (even for this time period) and doesn't actually drive any of the action. She has no notable development - she goes from being rude to people to lamenting her curse of being born female to going round and round in circles with the same characters. Most of these chapters felt like head-spinning deja vu - I'd read them already and yet, they kept coming back...

None of the side characters get much development and I suspect the problem is because there are so many of them. There's a phrase I got told during my own writing education - every character needs to be there for a reason. And a lot of these just seemed like they were there so another few pages could be banged out. There are the makings of a great story here and they were totally ignored for a two dimensional lead who tells everyone how independent and thoughtful she is while being the complete opposite in practice.

This book is a mess but the most infuriating thing is there were so many options the writer could have taken to make it an intriguing, exciting novel. Instead, we have spent 300+ pages skirting around the periphery, never quite committing to one idea, never quite getting our feet too dirty, never quite developing a character who is dull, despite all of the author's protestations to the contrary. The only reason I kept going as long as I did was to find out what happened to Violet's mother, but I genuinely do not care anymore.

I'm so disappointed and I can't quite grasp what other readers have found so funny about this book. It's like reading a teenager's inner monologue. A story about a lady detective is great - but when it takes 70% of the book to get to that job starting, there's something seriously wrong with your narrative.

Alright. Now I'm pissed off. Let's go cool down.
Was this review helpful?
Violet's mother disappeared when she was eighteen,  Now ten years later she is determined to find out what happened to her.  She has hired a private detective- something young unmarried ladies don't normally do - to find any trace of her beautiful mother.  In between times, her father keeps bring a string of young men home to try and marry her off.
She regrets hiring the detective as something seems amiss and turns another PI, This causes further confusion and so it goes on. 
This book starts slowly but gathers speed,
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book, it went at a good pace, had an intriguing story and great characters.

I highly recommend it!
Was this review helpful?
Utterly charming and thoroughly enjoyable!
OK, confession time I thought this book was going to be a fun romantic comedy/historical romance - oh, how wrong I was and I am pleasantly surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed this feel-good humorous and charmingly fun historical mystery with one hell of a wonderful heroine taking the leading stage. I loved it and I cannot wait to see what happens next!
Was this review helpful?
am addicted to historical mysteries and was simply delighted to find this story and author because it was so much more!

Laugh out loud moments, a charming heroine who is determined to be independent and just makes you feel good, and a mystery she is determined to solve.  Plus so much more!!

Cannot wait for the next installment to see what Violet gets up to next!!
Was this review helpful?
1896. Violet's father laments that she will probably never get married. He keeps suggesting suitors for her but she really isn't interested. Plus her mother went missing 10 years ago and she really would like to know whether she is still alive. So she enlists the help of a detective. But is he all that he seems. It appears that he isn't and she regrets her choice particularly when she finds out that the son of a former detective (with a brilliant reputation) now has a shop in Hastings. Although it appears that Mr Blackthorn does not wish to be a detective.

But Violet is persistent and she has some adventures trying to impress Mr Blackthorn with her skills. I adored this book so much. It is a light hearted read about a serious topic (a missing mother). I found it utterly addictive and I just wanted to keep reading to see how the story unfolded.
Was this review helpful?
A great mystery that really picked up pace half way through. 

Please let there be a sequel! Currently imagining what things look like for Violet Hamilton and Benjamin Blackthorn, both in terms of a relationship, but also what future detective cases come their way!
Was this review helpful?
If you like your historical fiction to feature a sassy, feminist heroine and include a touch of both mystery and romance, then you’ll love this delight of a debut from Hannah Dolby. 

We’re in late-Victorian Hastings on England’s south coast, with 28 year-old Violet Hamilton, who lives alone with her banker father since the unexplained disappearance of her mother ten years before. Having decided that marriage is not for her — based on her mother’s terrifying (and hilarious) description of marital relations — she stubbornly rejects every suitor that comes her way. 

Violet is hopelessly unladylike: bold, opinionated, and very strong willed. A match for any man and certainly not marriage material.  But, she has other ambitions: to lead an exciting, independent life … with a career … perhaps as a lady typist or a lady detective. 

When Violet embarks on a mission to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance, the adventures that follow make for a rumbunctious romp of a read, involving a quirky cast of characters and all manner of shenanigans 

I quickly warmed to the character of Violet, loving her spirit and total disregard for social conventions. She’s intelligent, with an inquiring mind and a caustic tongue, and tries valiantly to hold her own against the opposite sex, more often than not succeeding.  She’s convinced that her mother is still alive and will stop at nothing to get to the truth. 

Dolby has an easy, engaging writing style that bounces along at a jaunty, exhilarating pace, embracing a wonderful concoction of intrigue, humour and delicious sexual tension. I can’t say I found some of Violet’s behaviour wholly credible towards the end, but hey, this isn’t a story to be taken too seriously. Rather, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Was this review helpful?
Violet Hamilton has decided that after ten years since her mother went missing in the summer of 1886, she wanted to find her. She was 18 years old when her mother just disappeared one evening after leaving to meet friends & nothing had been heard from her since. Was she dead or alive? Violet always believed she was alive.  Violet thought that hiring a private detective would answer all questions left outstanding.

This caused more questions than answers & led her to meet some incredible characters & to experience some life events that changed her life.

What a great book. The humour carries throughout as well as dealing with big issues from the time, it could easily translate to 2023.  Violet is such a strong young woman who is fighting against the norms of life for women at this time, & she succeeds with aplomb. Oh, to be Violet with her strength & where with all. 

Great debut novel by Hannah Dolby & I look forward to reading her further books.
Was this review helpful?
Really loved the main character, and her strong and funny personality. The mystery detective aspect was so fun too. Benjamin is such a fun character and I loved the ending!
Was this review helpful?