Cover Image: No Life for a Lady

No Life for a Lady

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No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby

A very enjoyable historical cosy romantic sleuth mystery!  Something for everyone. Set in 1986 in Hastings/St Leonard’s on Sea wife and mother Lily Hamilton goes out and never returns.  There was no signs of her anywhere and Violet and her father have made no attempt to find her, until now. Violet is a brilliant character. Strong in a way women are not expected to be. Intent on getting a job and earning a living. Determined to find her mother and never to marry.  She is dreadfully naive, with no knowledge about physical relationships between husband and wife, but intelligent with a sharp wit.  

Briefly, ten years after Lily went missing and despite repeated attempts by her father to introduce her to eligible gentlemen Violet is adamant she doesn’t want to marry.  What she wants to do is find her mother and to that end she needs a private detective.  What follows is a rather enjoyable romp with Violet breaking all the rules for a Victorian lady. But can she find out what happened to her mother?

I love the way Violet managed to persuade all her potential husbands that she really isn’t suitable. Full of tongue in cheek humour and inappropriate events Violet is a joy. Whether she would have really have been able to get away with everything she did just doesn’t matter. A well written and highly enjoyable easy read with a great protagonist. I hope to see Violet again as a fully fledged detective. 

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I want more, more, more of Hannah Dolby's new heroine, Violet. I sure hope Dolby creates a series for Violet so I can return to Hastings for more fun. Readers who love a fun detective story sprinkled with their historical fiction will enjoy No Life For a Lady. It's refreshing to read a book set in the late Victorian era. It's the perfect setting for Dolby's spot-on humor- appropriately subtle but, at times, laugh-out-loud enjoyable. 

Bravo! Hannah Dolby for writing a thoroughly enjoyable debut novel. Please keep them coming.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an electronic ARC in exchange for a review.
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1896. At twenty-eight, Violet's father is beginning to fear she will never marry. But every suitor he puts forward, she finds an increasingly creative way of rebuffing. Because Violet is a woman who knows her own mind - and her mind is on her mother, who went missing ten years earlier, vanishing from Hastings Pier without a trace. Looking for the missing is not a suitable pastime for a lady. But when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off an unexpected chain of events that will throw her life into chaos.

What a delightful read this book was. It's a romantic mystery. The women in this story are strong characters. Violet refuses to get married even though her father keeps introducing her to new suitors. Her mother had disappeared ten years ago, but no one knows if she just disappeared or was murdered. I quite enjoyed this different type of romantic mystery. It's easy to read and quite entertaining. I really liked Violet, she's quite naive and funny. Violet's father is a typical Victorian character, but he's also quite likeable. This well written book is the authors debut. I will be looking out for more from this author in future.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #AriaAndAries and the author #HannahDolby for my ARC of #NoLifeForALady in exchange for an honest review.
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I love reading an author new to me and immediately wanting to read more of her writing!

Violet Hamilton is not the lady her father would wish her to be; he wants her to be safely married while she is of a mind not to get married at all. Her mother disappeared on them some years ago and Violet has long dreamed of finding her; to this end she has finally got enough money to hire a private detective - but is he any good?

I was first attracted to this novel by the striking cover - and when I read the blurb I knew it was one for me. There is so much more to it than that though; written with warmth and wit and such a lot going on! Our leading lady certainly doesn't suffer fools gladly and her observations on the many men her father produces are very entertaining! I would love to think this is the beginning of a series as it is certainly one I would follow. Beautifully crafted characters, superbly well-written and kept my attention all the way to the very end. A cracking read, highly recommended and easily meriting all five sparkling stars!

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
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“I realised that for a long time I had always thought of myself in terms of what I was not, rather than what I was.”

No Life for a Lady is both hilarious and uplifting. I enjoyed reading Violet’s journey into becoming a lady detective in the late 1890s—which for all we know is impossible in a patriarchal society. Despite being a historical fiction, the writing felt modern to me. It was easy to follow and the ending of every chapter made me eager to know what happens next. It was truly an enjoyable reading experience!

This book is so much more than the challenges of being a woman in the late 1800s. It also talked about how important it is to define your own life and not let others do it for you.

Overall, despite being slow-paced, I still had a great time reading this book. It was fun being a part of Violet’s journey into becoming the lady that she is.
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A brilliant, compelling read, bursting with humour and wonderful insights, and with a heroine who is determined to be herself at all costs. There are some real gems of lines, for example, when our heroine Violet is told 'Manners cost nothing,' she replies, 'Rudeness is also free.'
This is an historical romance with a difference!
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No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby is a delightful historical romance about a spirited woman who is ahead of her time. 

Story Recap:
The year is 1896 and Violet, aged 28 is now past her marriage age and she’s determined never to marry.  Violet’s mother went missing ten years ago, and she sets out to find out what happened to her.  Her father is against her search, but Violet is a spirited young woman and she’s determined to do the search herself.  

Will Violet find out what happened to her mother?  

My Thoughts: 
I enjoyed No Life for a Lady.  As always when I read books set in this time period, I get frustrated with the limitations of being a woman during this time.  However, it was fun to watch Violet ignore many of the rules and do her own thing.  I loved her spirit and her ability to ignore social conventions.  

The mystery of Violet’s mother's disappearance added to the story and I was fully invested in finding out what happened to her.   The pacing in the middle bogged down a bit, but overall, I found the book to be very entertaining.  

I highly recommend No Life for a Lady to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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I laughed so much reading this book. Violet is a woman way ahead of her time, and doesn't have a problem speaking her mind and making it very clear what she wants and what she doesn't. Although her father wants her to get married, Violet makes up more ridiculous excuses each time, and you can't stop smiling at her creativity. She's sassy, independent (more independent than a women from the 1800s was), and won't stop at nothing to find the truth behind her mother's disappearance. 

With the help of a detective, she sets on a journey to discover what really happened to her mom, and not even her father can stop her. There are a lot of hilarious moments, and this book definitely takes its readers on a rollercoaster of emotions.
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I liked the idea of this book, but it was slow and the plotting felt off.  I had a very hard time staying interested in it for the majority of the book. I would say that the last quarter of it picked up the pace and I felt myself being more drawn into the story. 

   While I did end up enjoying the story and characters toward the end, it was a journey to get there. Violet had all the makings of a great female protagonist. She is determined, curious, and independent. At times though, she is naive and quite frustrating, but you can see her growth in the book.

   Overall while I did enjoy the writing style and parts of the story, much of the book was slow and I found myself bored. 

   Thank you, Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely loved this book. It hooked me and kept me turning pages until I was done. Finished it in two days! The character development was strong, and the premise was unique enough that it didn't feel like anything else I've read.
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Violet Hamilton has maintained her singledom to the ripe age of 28, much to the chagrin of her father. It's not that there haven't been suitors, her father continually finds more, but she wants more from life than they can offer her. 

As the 10 year anniversary for her mother's disappearance looms, Violet hires a detective to attempt to discover what happened. After meeting said detective, she feels defeated, but fate leads her to Benjamin Blackthorn. Although not a detective any longer, she convinces him to allow her to work on some community cases with him in exchange for lessons on the typewriter. Just maybe she can realise her dream of being a Lady Detective. 

Together, will they discover the truth of what happened to Violet's mother? Or will there be far more at stake than Violet ever imagined?

This was a great crime novel and I loved that it came from an empowered young woman's perspective. It may be set in Victorian times, but Violet is doing her best to have her voice heard and to find justice for her beloved mother. I also appreciated that the vulnerabilities Violet faced in not having a mother during her entry to womanhood were voiced and we glimpsed into the lives of women with different experiences and social standing. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am thankful to Netgalley, Author Hannah Dolby and Publisher Head of Zeus - Aria  for this free ARC. I have happily written this review of my own volition and am excited for publication on March 2nd 2023!
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This quirky coming of age little tale tells the story of violet who is investigating her mothers disappearance 10 years ago from Hastings pier.  

If you are in a reading slump look no further , this is a beautiful, fun easy to read book unlike any I have read in a while. It completely took me by surprise how quickly I engaged with the characters and plot and I hope this becomes a series as I can’t wait to follow the rest of violets adventures. 

It was so charming and joyful I found myself smiling from the first page to the last. I can’t wait to devour more from this author!!  I found it faultless and would highly recommend. 

 Thank you so much to the author, publisher  and of course tandem and all my fellow readalong-ers for such a perfect readalong
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This was a delightful surprise!  The main character Violet is vividly drawn an is so likeable and easy to root for in her quest to stay single and solve her mother's disappearance.
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I keep being surprised by these historical fiction novels- their cute covers do not disappoint! I was expecting a dramatic mystery with a strong, independent lady- instead, I got wishy-washy Violet, a creepy detective, a handful of carefree side plots, and a delightful giant. 

I loved it. 

To be fair, it took me a while to warm up to Violet. Trapped in her beautiful, missing mother's shadow, she tends toward the most naïve and blockheaded ideas, completely unaware of how the world works, but it's not her fault. I really just didn't want her to find out what happened to her mother, because her mother seems like a real jerk. However, Violet has a lot of great character growth, and her determination to learn and find her way in life was really fun to be part of, even with all the missteps (though why it took her 10 years to start, I don't know). 

I am 100% in love with Benjamin Blackthorn- we LOVE a determined communicator! He appreciates Violet's determination, is amused by her odd behavior at times (getting herself locked in a box) but doesn't get flustered when she acts a little startled by his bluntness. 

Although I've seen some complaints that the main mystery (missing mother) gets overshadowed by the other little "side quests," I found myself more interested in the fun extra characters that Ben and Violet investigate. They're harmless, a little silly, and make for a fast and easy read. 

Overall, really fun little book that the author clearly enjoyed writing. I'll read more from Dolby, especially since I now know not to expect anyone in her books to take themselves too seriously.
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This a whimsical delight, with a naive but feisty heroine.  There aren’t many plot surprises but somehow that doesn’t really matter much within the cosy mystery genre.

In Violet, an extremely innocent 28 year old spinster, the author has created a fantastic vehicle for both adventure and humour and the perfect set up for an ongoing series.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Head of Zeus Ltd for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Set at the end of the 19th century this cute story is told from the point of view of a not-so-young-lady (too old to be a spinsters in those days, that is) who wants to find out the truth about what happened to her mother. Her mother disappeared many years ago, but did she die or what happened? To fins out the truth she hires a private eye, or in fact, two of them.

I enjoyed the story as a whole, but at times it could have had a faster pace, and I found that some things were either not really explained to my satisfaction or then they just did not make sense in a way that I would have found it to be believable.
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I'll admit, there were times when I did not think I was going to finish this book. The one thing that kept me reading was a slight curiosity as to the disappearance of Violet's mother. At least, that was the main draw to begin with. But towards the middle of the book, it started to pick up for me. And if this end up being turned into a series (which the ending seemed to suggest in my opinion), I would not be adverse to keep reading.

👍 What I Liked 👍

Second half: The first half was quite hard to get through (see below for more information), but towards the middle things suddenly started to happen. the plot suddenly began to unfold and Violet became more of an active participant, in stead of just a thinker.

Mystery: I am not usually one for historical mysteries. It can be very hit or miss for my taste. This was not one of my favourites, but the mystery still managed to keep my attention grabbed long enough to actually enjoy the book.

👎 What I Disliked 👎

Pace: At first the pace made reading this book feel almost like work. I really had to struggle to get through it. The plot kept moving in circles with the same things happening over and over again. It was a tedious process. And while the book definitely picked up in the second half, the stark contrast between the two half definitely hurt the overall flow of the book.

Internal monologue: For much of the first half of the book all we are witness to are Violet's repeated thoughts and internal monologues about her mother, her life and her wish to remain unmarried. The same thoughts, over and over again. Several chapters are pretty much nothing more than just Violet thinking variations of the same things again and again. It was a drag and it slowed the plot down considerably.
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A promising start from a debut author

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Aria, for a digital ARC of this book. I have chosen to write this honest review voluntarily.

'No Life for a Lady' is a mildly humorous cozy historical mystery in which the naive 28-year-old Violet Hamilton seeks to unravel the mystery of her mother Lily's disappearance 10 years earlier. Between rebuffing the suitors that her father seeks to match her with, Violet engages the services of private investigator Mr Frank Knight to try and locate her mother. Is Mr Knight all he seems, and can  Violet fulfil her dreams of becoming a Lady Detective?

I understand this is the first novel by the author, and it would be fair to say she is still learning her craft. Her writing was good: it was clear and flowed, but the plot required development and editing. Too much was stuffed into it, and none was adequately fleshed out. I almost feel like this book is meant to be the set-up, or in TV parlance, the 'pilot episode' for a series of Violet Hamilton mysteries, essentially this book plot being all the stuff you want to get out of the way before the real stories start. 

The book's central mystery, what happened to Lily, and why, was highly disappointing, and when it was resolved, Violet did not react in the way that one might expect for a daughter who had waited 10 years to find out what happened to her mother! Overall, the book did not meet my expectations based on the glowing marketing material reviews.

What I did like was the writing style which infuses some humour throughout, mainly based on Violet's naivete about the ways of the world and marital relations. I may be immature, but it was amusing that she kept asking people what the word 'bubbins' meant.

I would probably give the author another chance with her next book, hoping she has developed her craft over time.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review “No Life for a Lady.” All opinions and comments are my own.

There’s a mystery here; that’s the premise, anyway.  But what “No Life for a Lady” is all about is a Coming-of-Age story.  Never mind that Victoria Hamilton is 28, a “spinster” by Victorian standards, with no prospects, and running off every possible suitor.  Her burning desire to find out what happened to her long-missing mother is the catalyst for a journey of self-discovery.  Author Hannah Dolby has Victoria finding out that maybe there’s hope for her after all, and with a little help from a “real” detective -- who enjoys his own self-awakening in the course of our story -- worms her way into the detecting business, and learns a lot about people, both bad and good; there’s a lot of that in “No Life a Lady,” too.  As Victoria says early on in her discovering, “I left… a much wiser woman.” That pretty much sums up what our author has her doing the whole way through.

Our finish comes, and we have the big reveal, and the explanations, for all that has gone before.  
Mention should also be made that the book includes a gentle, romantic story, too. Forbidden, as it were, something that was not spoken of in the “polite society” of the times.  Victoria really gets an education in “No Life for a Lady,” on many levels.  It does take a while to get to the meat of our story, but persevere, and you will be rewarded.   Our heroine gets in over her head, of course, but it all works out in the end.  You may way to slap Victoria upside the head sometimes, but get there, she does.  Ms. Dolby’s way with words, with her plotting, and especially with her characters, all present a picture of a young Victorian woman that is truly coming to life in these pages.
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This was a gem of a book, which I really enjoyed!

Violet's mother disappeared 10 years ago but Violet has never given up hope that she will return or she can find her; so she enlists the help of a Private Detective or Investigator. But he's not that concerned about finding her mother and more interested in Violet herself. The book is set in the 1890's.

Her father too is trying to get her married off but all candidates are met with disdain by Violet.. And she decides to spend her time by trying to find out what happened to her mother herself. Violet is an independent young lady, as she has had to be, taking over the running of the house, since her mother disappeared. She wants to work for her living, her life has been dull and she wants adventure.  

You will want like me for Violet to find out the truth, and also to find happiness in her own life. 

It's a great book and I realy enjoyed it - you will too!
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