DNF - I liked the concept of this story but, I think this is just a case of me not being the right reader for this story; we ultimately did not gel well though, I am certain other readers will love this book.
Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist who swindles the wealthy, in order to afford housing after the tragic death of her mother. She hates it, but it is either do this or turn to a life of prostitution, which her mother fought desperately to keep her from. So, when her latest con lands her in jail, she must choose between prostitution or a very peculiar offer from an older gentleman. She is to accompany him to a secluded manor and convince the Lord that his fiancee was not murdered and is at peace. Only, when she meets Lord Pemberton, he works to convince her to help him prove that she was, in fact, murdered and by someone in his close circle of acquaintances (residing with him at the Manor house).
This book was phenomenal. A mix of Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre (where Rochester is not a total creep), Rebecca, and Wuthering Heights. Equal parts mystery, gothic horror, and romance. You are pulled in by the charm of Genevieve and her ability to take care of herself in a world that degrades women and is unsafe for them to exist outside of the wealthy elite. You also fear for her and the cruel world around her, which would see her suffer simply for trying to live. Her back story is so tragic, but it has made her hard and determined. She has a hard time trusting others, which makes her relationship with Lord Pemberton so captivating. The banter, the wit, the clash of classes, but also the trust and depth of respect. They cannot help but like each other, to be drawn into each other's orbit.
The story is well written, with hints being dropped here and there. Some real, some red herrings. But the end was shocking, I had a moment of thinking I should have seen it coming, but was blind sighted and delighted by the turn of events. The characters at the house are all so suspicious and awful, but also the reader should not fall for the kindness some show. It really was a spotlight on the shiny facade that wealth affords some, how easily it can persuade others to look away or allow awfulness to grow and fester.
The gothic atmosphere of this novel was not overdone. It had just the right amount of macabre, while also pointing out how unlikely spiritualism was in the case of murder. Genevieve is a complete skeptic, knowing how easily people can be persuaded to believe something to be real. She is a showperson, knows the tricks of the trade, can pick out the false from the real. She has yet to see any real evidence of mysticism or ghosts, and therefore approaches everything from a pragmatic viewpoint. Lord Pemberton is similar, believing that murder is done by those grounded in the real world and someone must face justice for what occurred at the Manor.
I really enjoyed how to novel was broken up by journal entries by Lady Pemberton. As the novel progresses you really gain a sense of who she was before her tragic demise. You see the cracks in her mental state, you understand her yearning for love, you see her disdain for those around her who cling to her and her father's wealth. Just another interesting look into the mind of a woman in Victorian times, different from Genevieve who must lie to survive, Lady Pemberton is just as trapped by society and the ideals of womanhood and estates being exchanged between fathers and sons.
You think with all of the classical novels this book drew from for inspiration it would feel tired and old, but it takes all the best parts of those novels and removes the worst. Creating a new and clever classic that is sure to delight many faithful readers of those classics.
This was a delightful read, a twisting and turning story that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last. I am hoping we will be able to revisit these wonderful characters through more books.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review!
I loved all the elements of this one. A gothic romance mixed with mystery – it hooked me from the synopsis alone.
Overall, I enjoyed this one! I felt like it held a good pace, was very interesting and kept me guessing until the very end. These are things I always look for in a good mystery/thriller, so I liked it! It has a unique premise which intrigued me to pick it up and try but overall, I felt like it just wasn’t for me. It was a great read and I think it would make a great October book club pick for the more spookier elements.
A Dreadful Splendor was a 5 ⭐️ read for me.
Genevieve Timmons makes her living as a spiritualist, holding séances for the wealthy who want to connect with dead loved ones. But is she for real or a con? One night Genevieve ends up in jail, awaiting the gallows. While being processed at the police station she meets a stranger who makes her an offer she cannot refuse. The stranger offers to help Genevieve out of her predicament if she performs a séance to bring comfort to the grieving Lord he works for, who recently lost his bride to be. However, the Lord wants to use Genevieve's talents in another way, convinced his bride to be was murdered. The Lord thinks that Genevieve can use her talents to coax out a confession. However, the house is not what it seems and disturbing events keep happening to Genevieve. Maybe ghosts are real??
This books leaves you guessing and questioning what you believe to be true. It's hard to write too much because there is a pretty big twist that I'd definitely not want to give away. But, I was on the edge of my seat and definitely didn't see it coming.
I adored the main character, Genevieve. There was so much hardness and sadness to her life. But despite of that she's shows so much courage and tenacity. At first she agrees to participate in the séance for her own self-interest but eventually she wants to see justice as well and when given an opportunity shows her selfless side.
There is a beautiful romance that develops in the book. The only thing I'd say about that is, it was a bit predictable. But forgiven because it was so right!!
This book had a bit of everything, suspense, romance, mystery and in the end I definitely didn't want it to be done.
I was fortunate to receive the opportunity to read this book before it's official release and in short, I loved it. I found that this story was one that kept me guessing to the end. With each twist and turn I found myself wanting to keep reading. If your looking for a well written mystery with some romance woven though then this book is for you! I look forward to reading more from B.R. Myers.
Oh my gosh! I absolutely adored B.R Myers' new novel, A Dreadful Splendor. And you will too!
Why? Where to start!?
A catchy, quirky title. 1850's London, England. Spiritualism. Séances. Con games. Dusty, damp gothic estate. Stern, foreboding housekeeper. A nervous maid. A very handsome Lord of the Manor. A 'cursed' family. Secrets. Danger. Every character with their own agenda. Mysteries, chills and romance.
Whew, what more could you want? Oh, yes, a wonderful lead character. Meet Genevieve Timmons, who makes her living as a spiritualist to the wealthy. And perhaps one or two side gig as a thief. But, she's skated too close to the edge with this last job. The constabulary has her scheduled for the noose, until a lawyer for that estate mentioned above, asks Genevieve to hold a séance at the manor in exchange for getting that appointment cancelled. The reader can't help but like Genevieve, and be beside as she explores, discovers and acts on what she finds.
Myers' descriptions are wonderfully detailed and I had vivid images of the manor in my mind as I read. And the players were just as well drawn and described as well.
Myers keeps the reader guessing as the final aha moments. Perhaps Genevieve is not the con she seems to be? And Myers gifts the reader a lovely, almost at the end of the book, twist. Well done!
A Dreadful Splendor was just so much fun to read! Absolutely recommended and an easy five stars.
Want to know my recipe for the perfect book? Make it one part gothic, one part mystery and one part romance.
In this page-turning read, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners but the lines between pretend spirits and real ones become blurred as she prepares for her latest séance at an isolated estate where a murderer may reside. Think Victorian-era Nancy Drew complete with:
😬 A chilling whodunnit
👻 Paranormal elements
💕 A cute love interest
I enjoyed how fast-paced this read was- with a new mystery or spine-chilling discovery in each chapter, can you blame me for devouring this in one sitting? I loved how the book was an atmospheric, spooky story full of betrayal and suspicion. Even Genevieve (Jenny) had her own secrets to hide! It had well-crafted characters and a well-thought out plot and the author did a great job at pointing the finger at everyone but still providing an ending that I couldn't have ever guessed!
This was the twisty, gripping, haunted satisfying murder mystery I have been looking for. I absolutely loved this book and have no doubt readers will too. It was really hard to find any fault with this one- 4.5 stars rounded up to a 5 for me.
Thank you to Netgalley and the HarperCollins Canada Killer Crime Club for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review!!
Smart and spooky and a little sad. Loved that Mr. P. was such a horse girl, he can call me by my first name.
Genevieve Timmons is a young spiritualist trying to survive in 19th century London. In a seance gone wrong, Genevieve finds her only way out is to accept a job sorting out the lady of Somerset Place’s mysterious passing.
Filled with sleepwalking, voices whispering in the dark, a touch of the supernatural, and a brooding romantic interest—this is everything I want in a gothic fiction novel. This chilling mystery and the uncertainty over what’s real and what’s not kept me up reading past my bed time and I finished this one in just three days! Definitely pick this one up if you are:
⁃ Looking for a fast-paced read
⁃ Into atmospheric, foreboding settings
⁃ Needing an immersive, spooky story
Thank you so much to NetGallery for an advanced e-copy of this book!
A gothic romance murder mystery with some fantasy and paranormal sprinkled in - yes please! The minute I read the synopsis of this book; I knew I needed to read it.
⭐️ London, 1852. Genevieve Timmons has made her living posing as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy believers, until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger, Mr. Lockhart, arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been grieving the mysterious death of his beautiful bride-to-be for six months. Although no foul play was ever uncovered, the young lord is convinced that she was murdered. If Genevieve can hold a séance to persuade him that his betrothed’s spirit is at peace, Mr. Lockhart promises to have the charges against her dismissed and reward her with enough money to start a new life.
But when Genevieve arrives at Somerset Park estate, she discovers that the handsome and aloof Mr. Pemberton is anything but the heartbroken lover she expected. Mr. Pemberton then approaches Genevieve with an offer of his own: together, they will stage a séance so convincing it will coax the killer out of the shadows.
Attempting to play both sides until she can determine which plan holds the key to her freedom, Genevieve prepares to stage a haunting. But when ghoulish incidents begin to plague the manor, the dogged heroine realizes her tricks may not be required after all. Somerset and its residents are hiding many deadly secrets, and its ghosts could be all too real. ⭐️
This was such an enjoyable read. The description of the setting was so eloquent that I could taste the salt of the ocean and feel the eerie cold of the huge estate.
The characters were all so amazingly crafted. Some I loved, some not as much, but all of them made me feel so many emotions. I had suspicions of everyone, and questioned so many things. Getting little bits of clues was amazing and I liked trying to solve the mystery.
The romance in this is a slow burn, but oh so good. I was rooting for the main character so much, that I felt scared and heartbroken and frustrated and happy for her in all the situations she was placed in.
I absolutely could not put this book down, I needed to keep reading! Such a great novel. Definite must read! ❤️
A Dreadful Splendor has it all: ghost, seances, murder with a gothic atmosphere that will have you turning the pages as you look over your shoulder.
Genevieve, a spiritualist , who is also a bit of a con artist and thief is arrested and to save her neck she finds herself on her way to Somerset Park estate to perform a seance to prove the bride to be of Lord Pemberton was actually murdered.
Who can Genevieve trust.
The tension mounts as the unexplainable starts to happen.
The pages flew by and the lights stayed on as the eerie ending approached.
I am a new fan of B.R. Myers and cant wait to read more of her books.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Canada, Harper Collins Publishing for a read I wont soon forget.
Thank you Harper Collins Canada and NetGalley for this advanced copy of A Dreadful Spleandour! I really liked it! It's a historical fiction, cozy mystery which I think is a great combo. Set in the 1850s, we meet Genevieve who gets arrested for stealing jewels from her séance clients. But, she gets bailed out by a lawyer who needs her help to relieve his employer from the grief of losing his fiancé Audra. What really happened to Audra becomes the focus of the story as Genevieve begins to uncover clues and unwind the truth!
The characters are great, Genevieve, Gareth, Flora, and the rest were remarkable. Mrs. Donovan gave me Mrs. Danvers (from Rebecca) vibes. The story was mysterious and clever. The twist at the end I only partly saw coming but I enjoyed unfolding the results of the mystery!
This one has a bit of everything for you - period piece, gothic suspense/mystery, fraud, romance and a fantastic twist at the end. Definitely not a heavy read but an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon or two. A good read if you're looking for something to entertain.
A mix of mystery, romance, and gothic styles.. Loaded with betrayals and a seance for a bride who died on the eve of her wedding.. Not my normal kind of read.
This historical mystery surprised me. I could not put it down!
We read from the perspective of Genevieve, a fake clairvoyant who uses her 'powers' to swindle people. During a séance she is arrested and is to be tried for her crimes. However, a strange man bails her out on one condition- she has to perform a séance for his wealthy lord who recently lost his wife in order to help him find peace. Genevieve agrees and heads to the remote estate by the sea, an unsettling, unfriendly mansion, where she finds more than she bargained for- the lord believes his wife was murdered, and now wants Genevieve to perform the séance to reveal the true killer in one week.
While the book does have that gothic feel throughout, I found it a bit lighter than some novels, perhaps because of our main character being so plucky. She is in a position to observe and instigate, and oh boy, she does both! However, the tone did maintain the strange, unsettling feeling despite its moments of humour, and I found the combination very charming. The cast was well-written and I had suspected some of the ending, but none of the twists. My only gripe is that it wrapped up so cleanly, but I had a great experience.
A Dreadful Splendor was very, very fun and I'd love to read another mystery like this. Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Canada for the ARC!
I loved this book! I love spooky ghost plots with a little bit of romance mixed in! This was a quick paced read and I love the switch between narratives. However, this is a true YA novel and some of the scenes are quite juvenile. I would recommend this to the younger reading audiences or someone who likes PG reads.