I will take a hundred more Sephora and Violet books, please and thank you. From beginning to end, Hastings has crafted a tale that will ensnare your intuition, capture your heart, and set you laughing till the tears stream down your cheeks. Violet is headstrong, witty, and observant. Sephora is flighty yet stronger than she knows. And boy do they make an excellent pair in the investigation business. I absolutely loved this book and had the best time reading it!
A fun and well-written Victorian era novel featuring Violet Manning. Violet is charged with temporarily taking over her aunt's advice column, "Dear Miss Hermione." She is concerned enough about one of her first letters to go to the young woman advice-seeker's town. There, Violet becomes directly embroiled in this woman's life to date, the townspeople and more. Meanwhile, Violet's younger half sister, Sephora a somewhat trying in temperament. She is a naive heiress who is keeping a secret and behaving very improperly, indeed. We know more than Violet at first but Sephora's part of the story helps to introduce us to the household of their aunt who took them in, the trusty housekeeper and helps to explain the somewhat distant sister relationship. Violet grew up all over the world, with a good long stay in India. Sephora had a different life experience and is very marriageable. Violet, in her later twenties, can get away with a bit more independence and less protectiveness. And she has no expectations of an inheritance. I like Hastings' whole take on the small village dealing with these women from London, for Sephora can't leave things alone or listen to Violet. I think she does an exceptional job with what could be humdrum after all these years of small Victorian village mysteries. The mystery is nicely plotted. Enough clues but some good red herrings. Very enjoyable.
When Violet's Aunt Adelia takes off for the continent with her beau, Violet not only finds out that Adelia is London's most popular advice columnist "Miss Hermione," but that she's expected to take over the column while Adelia is away. One of the first letters she gets is from Ivy Armstrong, who is convinced that someone is trying to kill her. Violet takes a trip to see Ivy and finds herself at the woman's funeral. Feeling that she 'failed Ivy by not responding sooner, Violet decides to find her killer and bring him or her to justice. Meanwhile, at home, her younger half sister, Sephora is sneaking out of the house to see a man who is extremely shady.
The book is meticulously researched, and Ms. Hastings really puts in enough details and descriptions to make you feel like you're really in Victorian England. The characters are entertaining and relatable. Violet is smart and brave, but not stupid. The suspects are well drawn, with each of them having a strong motive. The mystery is solid, and has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. A fantastic book and the great start to a series.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
This book couldn’t have come into my life at a better time! I was in a stressful time at work and escaping to 1880s England was just what I needed to relieve the stress! This book is full of sassy female characters who are pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable for their gender. Hermione is intelligent and Sephora is although desperate for a romantic partner shows pluckiness by escaping the house to pursue her dreams.
The idea of an Agony Aunt or a Dear Abby-style column being the method that a murder was discovered was brilliant. It will also help with the trouble of all the murders happening in one small town. With this method they can be anywhere!!
I don’t usually read historical mysteries but this one was right up my alley! I would recommend this for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Enola Holmes or cozy/British mysteries.
This was a wonderful mystery full of just the right twists & turns. I am so excited to have discovered this new to me author.
Anastasia Hastings writing is phenomenal. Her story is very detailed & captivating. You feel like your part of the mystery. I couldn't put it down!! I couldn't get enough. It is one of those books you wish wouldn't end.
In this historical mystery Violet is thrown into a new role when her Aut Adeila decides to leave town. Now Violent has to step - up as the most popular Agony Aunt from London. As " Miss Hermione" she receives anonymous letters asking for advice
& she answers them the best she can. Then her first letter comes from a woman who feels in danger for her life. Violet decides to go figure things out only to discover the woman has already passed. Now she is determined
to solve the mystery & bring justice for Ivy.
I can't wait for more from this series, and from this author. She made me really loves mysteries all over again!
This is definitely more than 5 stars for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Violet becomes Miss Hermione when her aunt leaves town for a romantic getaway. What could happen? Read their letter give them some advice and onto the next. One letter feels different, the author believes someone is trying to murder her. Violet decides to go visit the writer of the letter, only to find herself at her funeral.Violet finds herself investigating a murder.
Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings is an adorable Victorian period mystery that combines a little bit of romance, zany madcap-ness, and good old ‘whodunnit’ into a truly fun read. The first in the “Dear Miss Hermione” series, the book opens with Violet finding out that the extremely popular “agony aunt” Miss Hermione is her very own free spirited Aunt Adelia. The same aunt who is rushing off to travel with her new boyfriend- and leaving Violet and her step-sister Sephora behind in London. Still reeling from the shock of discovering her Aunt’s secret, Violet finds out that Aunt Adelia has left the agony aunt column in Violet’s hands. Raised to be an independent educated woman, Violet is perfect for the task. Her first letter is from Ivy Armstrong, recently married, who believes someone is trying to kill her. Violet is sucked right into the drama and intrigue, and along the way must contend with an array of suspicious characters. As Violet delves deeper into the case, her stepsister Sephora falls more in love with the mysterious ‘William Shakespeare’. But is he really the gentleman of Sephora’s dreams? Will Violet solve the case of Ivy’s death? And just who is that brooding gentleman who turns up in the middle of the case? Hastings has done an excellent job of building Violet’s world, and rounding out the characters so that the reader sticks around through some of the less successful parts of the plot. As the first of the series, there is plenty of story and side-story to sustain a series, and the ending of Of Manners and Murder certainly gives the reader a glimpse at the direction the story is going. If you enjoy Masterpiece Theater’s Miss Scarlet and the Duke, you will recognize a similar heroine here. While it wasn’t entirely plausible (what whodunnit really is?), the ending was satisfying and open enough to leave the reader looking forward to the next book in the series. This was a very enjoyable and just fun read. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. I enthusiastically recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good historical mystery.
This book reminded me a bit of the show Miss Scarlet and the Duke. A fun historical mystery for those who prefer the cozier mysteries with just a touch of romance.
Sense and Sensibility Revisited?
No, this is not a Jane Austen knockoff, but a delightful murder mystery solved with 19th century logic and some lovely twists and turns. Despite a few red herrings, I am delighted to brag that I deduced the culprit "on my own" from the Clues. I sincerely hope this becomes the start of a series, as the characters are beautifully drawn and fun to spend time with. Or perhaps I should have phrased that "delightful companions with whom to spend time"? Happy reading and solving!
This book was wonderful. I loved the characters, the writing style, literally almost everything about it. My only complaint is that I figured it out very early on, so I had to wait for the characters to catch up to me. Other than that it was great and I will definitely keep reading this series! 4 stars.
A fun mystery, full of twists and turns. I found some of the character interaction a little shallow, especially that of the sister, Sephora. It was getting better by the end of the book so I am hopeful that they will continue to develop well in future books.
I am excited that this is the start of a new series because I loved this story. The characters were great, the mystery had plenty of potential solutions, and the solution was clever.
I really enjoyed Violet's clever wit, and it was fun to scoff at Sephora's silliness. Because there were so many suspects, you had to follow along with Violet's encounters and discoveries to come to the right conclusion. Otherwise, you could easily jump to the conclusion that it was someone else who committed Ivy's murder.
This was a well-executed mystery, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Thank you to Anastasia Hastings, St. Martin's Press, Dreamscape Media, and NetGalley for an advance review copy.
Of Manners And Murder is a historical cozy mystery set in Victorian England - London and a countryside village!
Violet Manville, somewhat of a scholar or spinster depending on the perspective, is left in charge of her aunt's Agony Aunt magazine column and her teen sister Sephora while her aunt aunts of to the continent.
One of the letters inspires Violet to investigate only to discover the letter writer has recently suffered a fatal accident. This was fun and relaxing to read - the Victorian Era was well depicted, I enjoyed the characters and love that this is the start to a new series. There was even a hint of romance that I hope will be continued in the next book. The story was well-plotted if maybe a tad too neatly wrapped up but this is the cozy genre after all so I guess that is completely fine. I enjoyed my reading !
I was intrigued by this story at first when Violet inherits her agony aunt column, but the book did not retain my interest. Quitting two thirds of the way through the book, I skimmed the rest. I quickly realized who the murderer was and found that Violet and her sister Sephora were caricatures rather than developed characters. I received a free copy of this ebook from the author. This is my honest and voluntarily given review.
I was struggled with this book from page one. The language is stilted, the characters caricatures of themselves and I’d solved the mystery(ies) less than a third of the way into the story. I’m sorry, but I just did not enjoy it.
Of Manners and Murder had a lot of potential but it honestly took me quite a while to get into. It is set in Victorian London in 1885 so the speech and word choices were a bit different. Most of the characters were enjoyable and the mystery itself ended up being interesting. I particularly like Violet who takes over her aunt’s job of answering letters in the paper. The first letter she reads takes her to another town in search of the letter’s writer, Ivy Armstrong, who thinks someone may be trying to kill her. Violet arrives in time for Ivy’s funeral and begins searching for clues. Violet becomes embroiled in a murder mystery with too many suspects to count. I received this novel as an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I give it 3 ½ out of 5 stars.
What a fun setup for a Victorian Era mystery. Violet's Aunt Adelia runs off with a love interest but not before making a request that Violet take over her famed advice column. Violet comes across a letter from a writer who believes someone is trying to kill her. This leads Violet to a village in Essex. and unbeknownst to her the funeral of the letter writer, Ivy, Violet vows to find out what really happened to Ivy.. A gripping, witty, suspenseful plot ensues full of twists and turns. I hope there will be a continuation of this entertaining, historical cozy mystery- the writing is superb, the setting sublime with an interesting, spirited main character in Violet. Although the mystery was tied up beautifully there are so many unanswered questions regarding Violet (perhaps a budding romance with Eli), Violet's sister Sephora and their Aunt Adelia. Thanks to #netgalley #ofmannersandmurder @anastasiahastings #st.martinspress #minotaurbooks for the opportunity to read and review this book.. All opinions are my own..
It's 1885 London and half-sisters Violet and Sephora live with their Aunt Adelia. Unmarried, Adelia does not live a quiet life. Before sweeping off on a trip with her handsome beau, she confines in Violet (the more sensible one of the two sisters) that she is the famed Agony Aunt Miss Hermione. As she will not be able to answer letters while away, she must ask Violet to do so in her stead. She doesn't give Violet the opportunity to refuse. But did Adelia realize the danger that she was putting her charges in by having Violet give advice to the heartbroken, discouraged, and downtrodden that wrote each week?
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.
I don't usually read books set in the 1800s but I have read a couple of other books set during the period that I enjoyed (most notably Catherine Lloyd's Kurland St. Mary Mystery series) and decided to give Anastasia Hastings's new series a try. This is Hastings's debut novel but as she writes under several pennames, it is not the writer's first book.
I'm happy that I did pick up Of Manners and Murder as it is a delightful read and I can't wait for the next book in the series.
The characters are wonderful.
Violet and Sephora are excellent character foils. Violet reminded me of Miss Scarlett (from the PBS television show Miss Scarlett and the Duke). They are set in the same time period too. If you are enjoying the television show then you must give this book a try.
We don't get to see a lot of Aunt Adelia and the housekeeper Bunty but they truly shine in their brief appearances on the page and I hope we get more of them as the series progresses.
For those who enjoy a little romance with their cozy mystery, then you won't be disappointed. The chemistry between the two characters was immediate. If you have read my reviews of Lloyd's series, then you know one of the things I loved about the series was the relationship between Lucy and Robert. It also reminded me of the relationship between the characters in Vivian Conroy's Merriweather and Royston Mystery series. I see the same potential of Violet and Eli becoming a favorite sleuthing couple of mine.
The mystery was very good. Though I had figured it out by about the halfway point, it was still fun watching the characters figure it out.
I have read many cozy mysteries already this year, and this one has been my favorite. The repetition that I complained about in some of the others was not present in this novel. The writing was so good. I was drawn in from almost the start (it might have taken me a chapter or two to really get into the story, but once I was I was totally hooked).
If you are looking for an entertaining story that will engage you from start to finish, then you must get this book.
My review is published at Girl Who Reads - https://www.girl-who-reads.com/2023/02/of-manners-and-murder-by-anastasia.html
A promising series starter! I need more Eli Marsh! I'm here for more of this new, cozy mystery and sweet romance (which I can only hope turns spicy) series.
Violet suddenly has a LOT on her plate.
1. Her Aunt has taken off to the continent with her lover and left Violet's half-sister Sephora in her care.
2. Her Aunt is secretly a popular advice columnist called, "Dear Hermione" and now Violet has to take up the mantle.
3. Her very first letter leads Violet into a murder mystery and mortal danger!
When Violet travels to a small town to check on Ivy, the author of a recent "Dear Hermione" letter, she stumbles into the woman's funeral service and knows it's up to her to narrow down the suspects and pick apart the mystery of Ivy's murder.
I waited until 60% of the way through this to meet the love interest (I KNEW he had to be somewhere), and I wasn't disappointed. I hope there is much more Violet/Eli banter, crime solving and falling in love in the next books!
Her sister Sephora, however, gave me Lydia Bennett vibes and not in a good way. In the way I wanted to slap some sense into her. I can only hope Violet does at some point.
This book seemed to start abruptly in the middle of the aunt's story, so much so, that I double-checked that this was indeed the first book. Bunty the housekeeper and Violet's Aunt seem to have a mysterious and potentially adventurous backstory that I hope will be revealed more in the upcoming books. How did "Dear Hermione" start? Who is this mysterious man her Aunt ran away with? How does she have Pinkerton friends? Well played Ms. Hastings, you have me intrigued.
In 'Of Manners and Murder: A Dear Miss Hermione Mystery, Anastasia Hastings weaves together the thrilling, captivating, and suspenseful story. With its shocking revelations and unexpected twists, this novel is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.