Cover Image: A Dreadful Splendor

A Dreadful Splendor

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this novel. I am rating this book based the stars due to lack of time to leave a full review.
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The gorgeous cover and intriguing description for this book really drew me in, but unfortunately, it wasn’t a win for me. 

I didn’t connect with the characters and it took a long time for the story’s pace to pick up; it was hard for me to stay focused and engaged  and I didn’t feel very invested in the plot. I wanted so badly to love this! However, I think that the writing style and character development still felt a little too YA for me rather than an adult debut. 

I think that while this is officially categorized as an adult read, it would do very well with a YA audience.
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A gothic murder mystery involving the murdered fiancee of a grumpy lord and the spiritualist hired to deceive him. Genevieve “Jenny” Timmons is a spiritualist, making money by swindling wealthy mourners. She’s still grieving the death of her mother and is in desperate need of money to run away from her current situation... but one too many attempts has landed her in on the way to the gallows... except a mysterious stranger bails her out of prison and gives her an offer : if she helps trick or bring peace to the lord of Somerset Park , Mr. Pemberton, who is grieving the death of his beautiful fiancee and is convinced her tragic suicide is actually a murder, then the stranger, turned out lawyer, will help clear Genevieve out of her charges. Yet upon arrival at the estate Genevieve senses something is off. This beautiful gothic place has many dark secrets and ghosts hiding in it... When Mr. Pemberton catches onto Genevieve he proposes a new deal, if she helps him find the murderer of his fiancee through a seance performance he will make sure she isn’t arrested. Gareth Pemberton is grumpy, stubborn, and cold.... and he isn’t as heartbroken as Genevieve was lead to believe, rather he is determined to find out what is actually happening in his estate and who is responsible for the murder. The more Genevieve looks into the mystery the more she feels like she might actually be seeing the ghosts of the former fiancee and more strange things are happening around the estate... strange messages are appearing... and everyone is under suspicion as to who the killer truly is. The more Genevieve and Gareth spend time together trying to solve this mystery the more they realize that they might not be so different after all and that they truly understand one another. Filled with mystery, romance, and fantastic plot twist, this was one heck of a gothic murder mystery! It truly had me guessing at who it was, I had two possible guesses and the first one didn’t pan out but the second did ( and oh boy was it fantastic when it was revealed)! It’s the perfect mixture of ghost murder mystery and enemies to lovers romance between two people who are completely different. I would highly recommend this for mystery and romance lovers alike!
*Thanks Netgalley and William Morrow, William Morrow Paperbacks for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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There's been a bit of a trend recently of books about women who pretend to be psychic mediums. I'm really enjoying it, especially when the line between pretend spirits and real ones gets blurred. This was a good murder mystery, with several suspects and reveals that threw me off the trail. The setting was perfect, Victorian England in an old, kind of creepy estate. I definitely felt the atmosphere in this one and it was an overall fun read.

I loved how the mystery played out and the fact that I didn't guess the ending was great. The author really did a good job of laying groundwork and then sweeping the rug out from under the reader. The only downside for me was that it felt slow, like the story should have been months instead of a week. This is because we get diary excerpts spanning years, plus Genevieve's backstory of growing up and learning to be a fake medium. I know these parts were important to the plot, but they really slowed down the excitement and maybe could have been trimmed.

I flew through this one and had a great time reading. I definitely recommend this one!

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow for the copy.
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Genevieve Timmons is a spiritualist who provides peace for the mourning people who call on her. Her side business? Robbing the people who call on her so that she can keep herself afloat. When Genevieve’s luck finally runs out, she’s caught red handed as she tries to flee her latest job and finds herself in jail waiting for the gallows. Thankfully, a dying lawyer has offered her freedom in exchange for duping a mourning man into believing his late fiancée is at peace. The only problem is that Mr. Pemberton knows she can’t speak to the spirits, but he does strike a separate deal with her. If Genevieve uses her séance to guilt the person who killed his late fiancée to come clean, he won’t have her arrested for trying to steal from his home.

When I picked up this book, I was not expecting the wild ride that I was in for. We follow Genevieve, a spiritualist who learned everything she knows from her late mother. Spiritualism is hard to get by on, so she’s resorted to stealing so that she isn’t forced to become a lady of the night under her landlord. Watching her unravel a murder mystery at Mr. Pemberton’s seems like it’d be a pretty clear case at first, but that is not the case at all. I had some theories that were totally wrong, but was it fun? Absolutely!

There’s a diary entry from the late Audry between each chapter, which gives us a glimpse into her life. Genevieve believes that Audry killed herself the night before the wedding, and she’s not the only one who thinks that. However, Mr. Pemberton and others believe that she was murdered. I was with Genevieve at first, but the longer that I read the book, the more questions arose and it became clear that not everything was as it appeared. My theories on the matter weren’t on the right track, but when everything was revealed, it certainly made a lot of sense.

One of my favorite parts of the book is watching Genevieve battle with herself about whether or not ghosts are real. At first, it appears that someone is purposely trying to spook her, but then she starts to question if Audry’s spirit is actually trying to contact her. It was so much fun to watch her go back and forth as she faced the possibility that she may be making contact with a spirit for the first time despite not believing in the possibility.

While the plot is a wild read, there are quite a few characters and different plots. Other than Genevieve and Mr. Pembrum, there’s several characters who pop in and out. One of my favorites is Flora, who is a cheerful and naïve member of the staff that Genevieve cozies up to. Through her, we learn a lot of facts as well as the most recent gossip as it happens. There’s also a couple romance plots, and one is a very slow burn that’s not obvious until the pair continue to get to know each other.

All in all, it was a wonderful read and it makes me excited to check out the author’s other works.
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I went into this book cold. I mean, look at that cover. I've been living my life with accents of "skull damask" for months now, HOW COULD I NOT?!
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It lives up to that stunning display of macabre and intrigue. If you're looking for a title to sit alongside Within These Wicked Walls, Veronica Speedwell, Mexican Gothic, or even your favorite Lucy Foley mystery, but even more gothic, this is it.
This whodunnit or locked room mystery is surprisingly spooky. Filled with the hauntings of a mad woman,  lamentations of love lost too soon, and forbidden romance, Myers doesn't shy away from her character's teeth.
Genevieve Timmons is an MC we can all aspire to be. She's clever, brave, resourceful, and a victim of her own heart. Whether following love or compassion, every turn is thrilling. When this Victoria murder mystery turns more gothic and more haunting, it's hard to put down... until the very last twist!
*thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a free copy of this book for an honest review*
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This book wasn't what I was expecting. It isn't particularly heavy on the historical details, reads much more as a YA than adult, and was a bit spookier than anticipated. The romance wasn't as much a part of the plot as it seemed based on the summary. All of this meant I wasn't really the audience for this one, but I can see how it would be a great read for those who enjoy YA (or NA) historical mysteries so I am rating based on that rather than my own subjective feelings.
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This was fun read. It starts with one of my absolute favorite tropes: One Last Job. The job should be easy, open and shut and then the criminal, in this case spiritualist/conman Genevieve Timmons, can take her nest egg, get out of town, and live a quiet life in the country or on the beach or whatever. But it is never easy. That last job could cost Genevieve everything, from her money to her freedom to her heart to her life.
It has everything you could want from a historical mystery. It's a locked-room cold-case set on a grand estate full of vicious servants, haunted portraits, and rumors of a family curse. Rather than a constable or private investigator, the detective on the case is the spiritualist Genevieve Timmons. That is, Miss Timmons is a woman who earns a living by conning rich people into believing she can speak with the spirits of their dearly departed. And if she wants to avoid prison, or worse, the gallows for her years of charlatanism, she must help the Lord Chadwick discover what really happened to his late bride-to-be.
This book is full of twists, and just when you think you've got it, another piece of evidence is revealed turning the whole case on it's head. I totally fell for the red herrings, but the whole mystery made perfect sense once it was explained, by the perpetrator, in a dramatic monologue. It's an excellently crafted story, and i would highly recommend it to anyone who likes a historical mystery.
My only gripe is that I don't think it needed the romance element. That may sound strange coming from me, as I am known to love romance and be able to see a love story in just about everything, but I think that Genevieve's romantic love plot distracted from the rest of the book. Her budding relationship with the young Lord (because who else could it be), detracts from the themes of grief and learning to no blame yourself for the actions of others. It also messes with the pacing of the book, as I felt that a good chunk of the book very close to the tense ending was spent developing their relationship rather than developing the mystery.
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Whoa! What a ride. It was very fast-paced. The writing style kept me hooked and I didn't find myself losing any interest. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and how real the story felt. The author did a great job painting the setting, so it was easy for me to visualize the scene played out before me.  I recommend giving this one a chance!
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I love Gothic romance and was excited about the way A Dreadful Splendor adds mystery, too -- not to mention a spiritualist! However, despite all these elements, I didn't find myself falling in love with A Dreadful Splendor. Some elements are predictable, some are confusing, and overall I simply found that the book lacked those elements that would keep me raptly turning pages.

I would recommend A Dreadful Splendor to a Gothic enthusiast, but otherwise, I think this one can be skipped.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! Oh this was so much fun! It was confusing, but in a great way where I wasn’t sure what would happen next and the ending was definitely a great surprise. This was a great mystery book for sure.
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Rating: 3 /5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I read mystery one out of every 10 books. I read Keep that in mind. 

You had me at gothic romance. Mystery, suspense, twisty. Slow to start, but once you hit the halfway point, it really got some good things going. The twist kept coming and coming. I really didn't know what would happen and was still left with questions at the end. It was better the second time I read it through after getting the hang of the writing style. The premise of a fake spiritualist who is a murderer could have really gone somewhere if the book's first half wasn't super slow and the second half was less confusing. OVerall you might need to read this once or twice if the mystery isn't your normal gene.

Thank you to netgalley & William Morrow for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I love a spooky historical mystery! A con artist heroine is always a plus and the plot was really engaging.
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A Dreadful Splendor evoked strong Gothic vibes throughout the story and it felt like I was back in Wuthering Heights, on the moors with Heathcliff! There are no moors in this story, but there are cliffs and swirling ocean waves. B.R. Myers does an excellent job setting up the characters of Genevieve and Mr. Pemberton along with the setting of Somerset Park. If you mix Beauty and the Beast with the Gothic undertones of Wuthering Heights with a dash of mystery, you would get this fantastic murder mystery. Throughout the story, I had no idea what would happen next or who the murderer was, I was just along for the ride. I hope the author continues to write more about these characters, I can't get enough!
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A wonderful Gothic romance that reminds me of Scooby-Doo in a more mature less cartoony way. There aren't really any ghosts or ghoulies in this book ( or are there?? just a girl trying to get over her guilt and save herself from the hangman's noose. She's then whisked away to a crumbling house on the edge of the sea where she's to pretend to talk to the ghost of a murdered woman and ease the pain and suffering of the house. However, everything goes wrong and she discovered the truth while trying to avoid the prophecy of her death in la mer.
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I really liked the gothic and the romance elements of this book, but I did find it to be incredibly slow in the beginning and hoped that the action would have happened sooner. I also found the voice to be a bit younger than I was anticipating.
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This was a delightful read from start to finish. Wonderful mystery elements, a tightly written plot, an immersive atmosphere, and characters that leapt off the page.
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Sumptuous and twisting!! I was so entertained by A Dreadful Splendor with all its turns and pacing. It’s one of those rare stories where you love all the ghastly villains!! The dashing hero was a flesh and blood—and blonde Mr. Darcy. Totally enjoyable!
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A young woman finds herself in trouble after doing séances for grieving families. In a promise to represent her in trial, a solicitor asks help in finding peace for the Earl of Chadwick after his fiancée’s death. This story kept me guessing the entire time. I loved how complex the characters relationships intertwined with one another. 

I was gifted an advanced copy by William Morrow and Net Galley to read and review honestly and voluntarily.
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This was a fun read! I always enjoy a gothic romance here and there, and this fits the mood while also providing an easy romantic feel. It follows Genevieve Timmons, a spiritualist who stages seances in order to scrape by a living in London. Her situation changes when she's caught and sentenced to death but is whisked away to a stately English manor before it can be carried out. The book includes Genevieve's POV as well as diary entries that lead us further into the mystery that unfolds featuring a wide cast of characters where everyone is a suspect. This book kept me up at night in the best way, not because of spirits and creaky old homes, but because I had to know how everything played out in the end!
As always, thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC!
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