Cover Image: A Dreadful Splendor

A Dreadful Splendor

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Member Reviews

The cover of this book is absolutely beautiful.  It definitely made me want to pick this book up and check it out.  Unfortunately I thought the story was really slow and I had a difficult time connecting to the characters and storyline.
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How do you say I loved this in ghost? Jenny Timmons is a con artist using seances to rob wealthy customers. But she’s not all bad, right? They might lose some jewels but they gain a sense of closure. At least, that’s what she tells herself. 
But when Jenny is caught, jailed and then bailed and finds herself dragged to do a seance for a grieving almost-widow by his lawyer, she finds she might have bitten off more than she can chew for the first time. After all, handcuffs she could escape, but a real ghost?!
Almost everyone in the manor is a suspect: who killed Lady Audra the night before her wedding to Mr Pemberton? It was ruled a suicide but others seem to think otherwise. Ghosts are one theory. There are PLENTY more.
I had so much fun reading this! So many red herrings and twists and the author didn’t leave any of loose ends.
If you like ghost stories, whodunnits, murder mysteries, creepy castle vibes, seedy dark alley and secrets vibes, I think you’ll really enjoy this.
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(4.25/5) This book was delightfully spooky and would be a perfect read for around Halloween, which is good because it comes out in a few weeks! I was originally drawn to this book by the cover art, which is just gorgeous! If you like: Downton Abbey, murder mysteries, family curses, and con artist seers who find out that perhaps the paranormal is more than a few tricks, this is a good book for you! Try as I might to work out for myself how this book would twist and turn, I did not expect the ending.

My only qualms with this book were that it focused too much on plot to the detriment of creating characters that you connect with and that there were a few things that I think the characters took much too long to pick up on (I was yelling at the book begging them to notice what was right in front of them).

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of A Dreadful Splendor.

In Victorian London, soon-to-be 19 years old, Genevieve Timmons is a plucky orphan posing as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners—until a mistake lands her in jail. 

When a stranger arrives with an offer to help his employer contact his late wife, he promises to handle her case so she can remain out of jail.

But when Genevieve arrives at the palatial estate, she soon discovers that not only the staff hold secrets, so does the manor and she may be in more trouble than she ever imagined.

I liked Genevieve; not surprisingly, she is a typical heroine in these types of genres; she's street smart, wily and all alone.

She relies on her wits and her instinct to survive, especially during a time period where women are considered as second class citizens.

I liked the writing style, though the narrative dragged.

The pacing was slow since the author provided exposition on some of the supporting and minor characters.

Everyone had a part to play and they played it well.

I do agree with some reviewers that the tone of the writing was YA-centric; Genevieve comments often on how handsome Gareth is. This got tiresome fast.

The writing was good; the author is skilled in providing sensory details and providing atmosphere and tension to certain scenes as well as describing the opulence of the manor, the dungeon, the clothes the women of that time period wore.

I guessed a few of the twists, though not all of them, and I was pleased to see how Genevieve's mother's death was resolved and that Genevieve got the last word in at the woman who mistreated her and her mother.

I would read the author's next book.
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A perfect mix of a classic gothic tale a cozy mystery. Jenny is a fascinating character, she was exactly relatable but she was infinitely appealing. Her hard edges were obviously a result of the difficult life she'd lived but she still , maybe unwillingly, harbored a soft and hopeful heart. The juxtaposition of those facets of her character, and the way she responded to them were great. 
The mystery at the heart of the story was perfect. There were enough clues sprinkled throughout that I thought several times that I knew how it was going to turn out but although I got some of things right it wasn't the way I was expecting. By the end I couldn't read fast enough but everything turned out in a perfectly satisfying way.
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I wanted to complain that this was a pinch dragging in the beginning, but I realized the pacing was actually pretty on point - I just cared alot more about the characters at the end, making the back 1/4 seem much faster than it probably was. Not a bad problem to have!
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3.5 stars

I don't know how it happened, but it seems like 2022 has suddenly become my year of figuring out where I stand on Gothic novels and discovering my likes and dislikes within the genre. A Dreadful Splendor is the third such novel I have read in the past month and I absolutely burned through it!

Rather than having a naive, virginal heroine arrive at the isolated manor of the dark, brooding hero, Myers gives her protagonist Jenny some teeth by making her a fake spiritualist who has both street smarts and some darkness of her own. It is a variation on the classic gothic tropes that pays off wonderfully as we watch a heroine who is sure that there is no life beyond the grave haunted by the spirits of the manor and of her past. Interspersing the chapters from Jenny's perspective with excerpts from the diary of the hero's dead fiancé is another great update that really propelled the novel along and made me say "just one more chapter" over and over again.

Honestly, the thing about this book that let me down the most was the big reveal. I don't know if it was just me, but I saw almost every facet of it coming a mile away and it barely left an impact. On top of that, it managed to be drawn out and yet not fully realized. Maybe it's because I didn't really believe in the romance that had apparently developed along the way. 

A Dreadful Splendor is definitely a engrossing read that does some lovely things to subvert the classic Gothic tropes, but in the end, I still found myself wanting more from it. 

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow Paperbacks for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!
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thanks to netgalley for sending me this ARC. 
This book fell short. The romance wasn’t enticing at all. The anecdotes about the main character’s generic french mother were tired and barely fleshed out, and the mystery made zero sense. This book just… lacked. It had potential to be something, and I can tell the author had fun with it, but it just… wasn’t my thing.
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I wasn’t sure what I would be getting out of this book since I hadn’t realized this was an author I had read before (her YA sci-fi) and didn’t like much, but I’m also glad I requested before knowing because I liked this one a lot! So much so, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish because I needed to know what would happen!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Genevieve Timmons. If you ask some they would say that she is a con-artist, a murderer, and a thief. Those things made her that much more interesting because I needed to know the background of those accusations. Two of them come rather quickly as we are thrown into her games, a séance.

I think that Genevieve got a bad rep that wasn’t entirely warranted. She was just trying to survive and using what she learned from her mother to stay afloat. It was fun to see her work and use what she learned from others through body language to continue on with the charade. She also becomes a detective later on in the book when things get quite sketchy at the Somerset Park estate.

Before some chapters start there are journal entries written by Lady Audra, the dead bride-to-be. They were very enlightening while trying to figure out who the culprit was. There were a lot of secrets she knew and they just kept coming the farther you get in the book!

My favorite part of this book was definitely the mystery. It was thrilling and definitely kept me reading as new things came to light. The séances were an added bonus and added to the gothic feel the book was going for. My least favorite would have to be the romance. It wasn’t terrible and does fit the genre, but it just didn’t give me enough for my taste.

Overall, this was a fun and exciting read. I liked getting to know the characters and the secrets that they kept. The mystery was good and had me guessing all the way up until the end.
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A DREADFUL SPLENDOR is a Gothic murder mystery that I absolutely could not put down, I fell in love with its main character immediately-- a young spiritualist who makes her living performing fake seances for the wealthy. When she gets caught in the act she is given a choice-- the gallows, or one last seance for the widower of a young heiress who died under mysterious circumstances. As the boundaries between performance and reality begin to dissolve, our spiritualist begins to wander if the ghost she is here to contact....might actually exist? This book provides some real scares but also possesses a warm and witty humor, a fine line that Myers walks effortlessly. So well done, and so much fun.
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Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to steal from the wealthy - until she gets caught. Bail is posted by an elderly man asking for her help, pose the perfect séance to heal The Lord he serves cope with the death of his bride. Yet when she arrives at the manor, Mr. Pemberton is not the grieving widower she expected. He recruits her for his own mission, stage a seance to catch the murderer of his bride.
A fantastic gothic mystery, full of secrets, surprises and spooky energy.
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Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers is a gothic murder mystery with plenty of humor. The story revolves around Genevieve, a down-on-her-luck woman who makes money by pretending to speak to wealthy patron's dead relatives. One night, as she's in jail, she receives a mysterious offer. She will enter a gothic manor and conduct a fake seance for the lord's dead wife. But when she arrives, the lord, Mr. Pemberton, is not what she expected. He believes that his ex-wife was murdered, and he needs Genevieve's help to prove it!

Here is a captivating excerpt from Chapter 1:

"“It’s good you’ve finally summoned me,” I said. “There’s no doubt a spirit torments this house.”
Each grief-stricken face turned my way. I stood in the parlour doorway, gripping the handle of my case. Despite the blaze of the fireplace and the richly upholstered furnishings, there was no sense of comfort. The heavy drapes were closed, shrouding the room in darkness. The funeral bouquets had begun to wilt, but their scent remained strong, saturating the air with a tired misery. 
The matriarch, Mrs. Hartford, sat beside the ornate fireplace. The flames flickered, casting shadows that stretched up the walls like gossamer spirits. A sheer black veil obscured her face, leaving only her chin exposed. Even from across the room I could see a few wisps of white hair. Just like Billy Goat Gruff, Miss Crane would say."

Overall, A Dreadful Splendor would make the perfect gift for the mystery-lover in your life! I'm sure it will appeal to fans of Knives Out or Agatha Christie. One highlight of this book is the super interesting premise. I usually skim the beginnings of mysteries, but this book had me absolutely hooked from the beginning, and I didn't want to miss anything. Another highlight of this book are the many secrets and mysteries that the characters are hiding from each other. This book was probably the most enjoyable mystery that I've read this year! If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of murder mysteries in general, you won't regret checking out this book when it comes out in August!
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i really enjoyed this book!! it was so much fun to read, especially in the summertime!! thank you so much to netgalley for letting me read this one early!!!
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In order to escape from Miss Crane’s ‘boardinghouse’, Jenny is doing one last seance. When the police catch her in the act of stealing jewelry from the participants, she is sent to jail. Lucky for her, a Mr. Lockhart is seeking someone with her exact qualifications. He’s hoping that her performance will help his master, Mr. Pemberton, be at peace with the death of his fiance. Mr. Lockhart wants her emphatic assurances of eternal rest so Mr. Pemberton will let go of his search for a murderer, and the household can get back to normal. However, Mr. Lockhart doesn’t factor in Mr. Pemberton’s own agenda, or the previous claim laid on the land, or the ambition found elsewhere in the house. Jenny has to solve the death of the lady of the house if she is to be free before she is the next victim.

Letters from the deceased and inexplicable occurrences create a gothic 19th century story laced with mystery and romance. Many will guess the outcome; few will be correct. There are as many twists and turns in this one as there are in a dungeon under a castle. Wordy but well worth the time.
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This book is my new obsession. 

In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners--until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The Lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be, Lady Audra Linwood. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young Lord peace, she will win her freedom. However, when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken, grieving fiancé she expected. The surly--yet exceedingly handsome--gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it.

This book is the gothic book of my dreams. It reads like a combination of Rebecca and a game of clue in the best way. I devoured this book in two days, it was that good. B. R. Myers did an exceptional job with stacking the cast with suspects around every corner. As I was reading, I was sure I knew who the killer was and then ten pages later I was positive it was another person entirely. Genevieve was a compelling main character and narrator. You really connect with her early on and even though she seems unreliable, you continue to root for her throughout the entire book. The book packs several twists that I didn't see coming at all. I honestly audibly gasped at times. The final reveal and confrontation was a masterclass in suspense that had me on the edge of my seat until the very end. 

I'm not usually a fan of supernatural elements in mystery novels, but with this one, it just works. It adds that small touch of dread as you watch Genevieve trying to figure out if someone or something is truly haunting Somerset Park, despite not believing in spirits herself. Her budding relationship with Mr. Pemberton was also exciting to witness. Thiers is a slow burn, but the fact that they are working together to avenge a murder, it makes sense. 

I can't wait to read what B.R. Myers writes next!
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A slow burn romance, a mystery, lies and deceit! This book had everything I was looking for and more! I really enjoyed this read, from beginning to end I was on the edge of my seat and wanting more. Quick read for me, read it in 1 sitting and want more!!! For fans of slow burn romances and murder mysteries!

Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow Paperbacks for access to this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Fun twisty tale with some supernatural and romance elements. Life is tough for a spiritualist, Genevieve,  in Victorian London. She sometimes has to steal and runs afoul of the law. When an escape to a country estate where she is to use her skills to help a grieving landowner presents itself she is all in.  But things aren’t quite as they seem. The house contains a cast of interesting character and the ghost of the dead wife. How will the seance play out  - with a nice twisty ending perhaps.?
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Life is hard for a medium. It’s even harder when the medium’s landlady is blackmailing said medium in order to get her to steal from her wealthy clients. Although Genevieve Timmons is a natural at cold-reading and getting clients to believe that she can communicate with the dead, she is not at all talented in theft. In the opening pages of B.R. Myers’s delightful A Dreadful Splendor, Genevieve is caught red-handed and thrown in a London jail. The only way out comes in the form of a curious offer from an elderly lawyer. He can get her out, he says, but only if she can use her mediumistic skills to help his employer get over the grief of losing a fiancee.

It’s a lot to take in but Myers barely gives us or Genevieve a chance to catch our breaths before whisking us away to an estate in northern England that could almost challenge Manderley, Thrushcross Grange, or Thornfield Hall for moody dampness. (If you recognize those place names, you’ll probably also pick up on hints of Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre scattered around A Dreadful Splendor. Thankfully, those references and vibes are merely seasonings in this entertaining and original story.) Genevieve meets the master of the house under inauspicious circumstances on her very first night at Somerset Park and is dragooned into yet another plot. Gareth Pemberton still wants Genevieve to hold a seance but, this time, he wants her to use her cold-reading skills to get his fiancee’s killer to confess.

Genevieve is a wonderful amateur detective. Normally I get annoyed at these kinds of characters because they’re often written to be instant experts at forensics or interrogation or something; I don’t find it believable when a chef or a bookstore owner suddenly becomes a master detective. Genevieve I can believe. She was brought up to notice things and use her observations to manipulate her target’s emotions. She’s also learned to hide what she can do under the cover of the supernatural—which turns out to be very effective against the superstitious or those with guilty consciences. Because Genevieve is under orders from both her lawyer-rescuer, Mr. Lockhart, and Pemberton, she has to dance as fast as she can to keep her secrets.

The pace set in the first chapters never slackens. In fact, the twists start coming hard and heavy after Genevieve is pushed into detective duty. And there are definite signs that nefarious things are afoot at Somerset Park, from the hints about the terrifying family history to the voices in the walls to the creepy housekeeper. A Dreadful Splendor isn’t all mystery and horror, however. Genevieve and Mr. Pemberton start to spark almost immediately. Watching these two verbally spar with each other was as much fun as trying to figure out what on earth is going on at Somerset Park and what really happened to the lamented fiancee. This book was an absolute pleasure to read.
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Very atmospheric and spooky. I enjoyed it as it had fantasy elements (spirits, curses, etc) but was not a fantasy novel. A satisfying ending. I enjoy books set in this time period and also ones about family secrets in big fancy houses, so this checked all the boxes for me. I would recommend to anyone who liked historical fiction, mysteries and a light scary novels.
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My Nancy Drew loving heart is absolutely so full after finishing A Dreadful Splendor! The CW's Nancy Drew. Specifically, season 1 vibes. iykyk. But let's be honest. (Especially because nobody in this book knows how be.) I was always going to pick up this book up because B.R. Myers is one of my all-time favorite authors.

Genevieve Timmons is a spiritualist struggling to survive in the 1850s of Victorian London. A job gone wrong leads to her being summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on the eve before her wedding. But for someone who can speak to dead, the line between what's real and not real aren't always so clear.

A Dreadful Splendor is a hauntingly gothic atmospheric murder mystery. Those are not my usual genres to read. And it took me a little bit to get into the story. But before I realized it, I was sucked in this universe that I could completely picture in my mind. I read and finished the last sixty(ish) percent in a single afternoon. I didn't want the book to end but I kept flipping pages to find out 'whodunit'. Everytime I thought I had figured out the murderer, I was wrong. Of course, there are betrayals, shocking twists, and a little romance along the way. And now I'm left with a terrible but delicious book hangover.

(Quote) Death had been courting me all my life; I was ready to accept him with open arms. I didn’t know how to waltz, but I would dance with death tonight. (Quote) EMILY DICKINSON VIBES JJSSKSK

If you love a good rainy day Gothic murder mystery, Nancy Drew, Clue, Dickinson, the movie Redeeming Love, or Truly Devious then I highly recommend picking up A Dreadful Spelendor.

***Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy.***
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