She Be Damned

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

What a fun, inventive historical mystery! I am a huge fan of this genre and was not disappointed by this story, which takes place in Victorian England with Heloise Chancey, the memorable detective at its helm. I would love to read more by this author and see how the series will continue!
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This is the first book in the Heloise Chancey Victorian Mystery series, and it is terrific. The plot was superb, the characters (especially Heloise, who makes for a strong and likeable heroine) were very well written, but the dark and sinister atmosphere was perhaps the best part of the novel. If you're a fan of historical fiction mysteries, this is a must read.
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This was not for me. I struggled to get into it - it took me 8 days to read 190 pages (the amount of pages on my Aldiko app).

SHE BE DAMNED is about Heloise, a courtesan and a (somewhat) private detective. She is tasked with finding Eleanor Carter, who is young, unmarried, and pregnant. As Heloise begins looking for Eleanor rumours of dead and cut up prostitutes reach her ears. She fears that Eleanor may be one of the victims and strikes up friendships with all sorts of people to get to the bottom of missing-Eleanor and the dead prostitutes. 

This novel is not a unique one. That isn't to say it wasn't interesting - it was - but I felt like there should've have been a bit more uniqueness. Newness. Something that isn't dead prostitutes in Victorian London. 

Heloise herself was quite two-dimensional and unlikable at times. For someone who wants to help people she seemed much more concerned about her dresses/petticoats, her hair, and if the sergeant will let her be involved in the investigation. About halfway through she becomes more interested in finding Eleanor, which was good, and then... suddenly didn't care again after she finds out what has happened to the girl (trying to be vague so as not to spoil). Heloise gave me whiplash; it just didn't seem like I should be rooting for her.

I think a lot of the problems with SHE BE DAMNED can be and will be fixed in Heloise's upcoming novels. There's definitely potential here but a few things need to be ironed out. 

My biggest issue with the novel was a piece of family-information dropped near the end. If you've read the book you know what I'm talking about - um, what? You're just going to drop that piece of information on us and then ignore it for the last few chapters??? I'm sure it'll come up again in future novels, which is fine, but why bring it up so suddenly and then just drop it? If Tjia wanted us to read the next installment, why didn't they give us more info about That and ramp up our excitement to know more? It almost felt like lazy writing. We had been teased the whole novel by Heloise "if they knew who I really was" etc etc and then when we find out it's like "haha bye" and the novel ends. 

TW for the novel: mentions of rape, gory murders (the book opens with one), mutilation, racism, xenophobia
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Excellent historical mystery.  I really liked Heloise and look forward to reading more of her adventures.  I liked Bill too and would like to see them work together again, after he apologizes to her of course.
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Lady Heloise Chancey and her maid, Amah Li Leen are asked for help by the local police after a number of prostitutes are killed in 1863 Waterloo. The murders are gruesome, with the women”s reproductive organs removed. Part time detective and full-time courtesan, Heloise and her trusty maid take on Victorian England and a vicious killer
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