Cover Image: No Life for a Lady

No Life for a Lady

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

🗃️No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby🗃️

Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…

28 year old Violet is not your average Victorian woman. She is strong, independent, and with no desire to marry, she has her father driven to distraction.

Violet wants to work and make her own way in the world, but despite this rebuffing of social conventions, she is still quite prim and proper and altogether living a sheltered life on the edge of societal ostracism because of her lifestyle choices - namely, being single.

Until that is, she embarks on searching for the one thing she wants more than anything, to find her mother, Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier. Violet feels her beloved mother’s disappearance wasn’t taken seriously, the police closed the case toot de suite, and Father won’t have ‘that woman’ mentioned in the house any longer. Violet even feels the house servants resent her for their lady of the house abandoning them.

There is, of course, no such thing as a lady detective, other than in the books Violet immerses herself in at home rather than spend time with her dour father. Instead, Violet hires a rather shady character, a man who gives her the heebie-jeebies, to help, sparking a chain of events that risk not only Violet’s reputation and a family scandal but that unearths shocking secrets that some people will do anything to keep hidden.

Violet is a great protagonist. Inquisitive, tenacious and full of charisma, it is impossible not to root for her. Though she did have me cringing sometimes with her candid honesty, she has little ‘filter’ once she gets going, but it’s clear working up to a frank conversation gives her immense nerves too.

The mix of mystery and historical fiction works well here with a slowly unravelling tale with some twists and surprises along the way, but interwoven beautifully is Violet’s journey of self-discovery as she reflects on the world around her.

A quirky, funny, beautifully written read that you’ll race through. 4⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advance copy in return for an honest review. No Life for a Lady is out now.

Was this review helpful?

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I really enjoyed it! The author does a great job of blending romance and mystery along with historical details and entertaining fiction. Violet Hamilton is a wonderful lead character who has the perfect blend of lady like behaviors and witty attitude to keep the reader guessing!

Overall 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


📚Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher via Netgalley. All thoughts, opinions, comments, and interpretations of the story are my own and bias free. I did not receive any money in exchange for this review. Thank you to the publisher/author for allowing me the opportunity to review. Reviews are usually cross-posted to social media, goodreads, and bookbub. 🦄

Was this review helpful?

No Life For a Lady is a cozy detective story set in 1896.

Violet is 28 and she is becoming increasingly ostracised by society for remaining unmarried. To her father's consternation, she refuses any and all potential suitors.

Violet isn't interested in marriage. She wants to work and learn about the world, not become just another unhappy wife. This reluctance is fuelled partly by her mother expressing extreme horror at the marital intimacy expected. Violet was close to her mother, but one night she simply vanished and this is a mystery that Violet feels compelled to solve.

Hiring a detective, Frank Knight, Violet soon discovers her mother was more than she could ever have imagined. But Frank gives her the creeps and she tries to sever the arrangement, with no success.

She has learned of another potential source of help in the form of Benjamin Blackthorn, a reluctant former detective. Violet explodes into his life, and she soon acquires life experiences she would never have dreamt of.

A quirky and fun read, there's no doubt that Violet has gumption and tenacity, but also a tender heart and an insatiable curiosity which leads her to finding the answers she's longed for.

And there's a sprinkling of romance along the way too.

Was this review helpful?

In 1886, the beautiful and vivacious Lily Hamilton appeared to vanish in thin air, never to be seen or heard from again. A decade later and still finding no answers to her sudden disappearance, Lily's daughter Violet takes it upon herself to hire a private investigator but when he instills little confidence, Violet attempts to solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance her way. However, in the close-knit town of Hastings where tongues wag and eyebrows rise, can Violet solve the mystery all the while keeping her reputation intact?

Hannah Dolby has crafted an utter joy of a read. I read this book in one (yes, one!) sitting because I had so much enjoyment and pleasure from the story that my afternoon flew by in the blink of an eye.

Violet is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the novel. Her humour, wit and courage leap off the pages in abundance that you simply cannot help but to fall in love with her and root for her success. The incredible naivety in which she regards the adult world - intimately - I believe makes her more sympathetic and brings to light the way that many women were often shielded of their own sexuality and femininity by society.

Violet is a narrator whose voice you never tire of and I would adore to read more of her "Lady Detective" escapades in the future!

Perhaps the ending was a tad rushed for my tastes, but when compared to the overall development of Violet's character and storyline, this is just a minor quibble.

No Life For A Lady is a fun, fresh look at exploring the female role in a male-dominated society at the end of the Victorian period and I can see this being a firm favourite among many historical fiction readers.

Was this review helpful?

No life for a Lady is a brilliant Historical Fiction and Mystery Novel that I feel very lucky to have been able to read as an Advanced Copy.

Dolby explores feminism, sexuality, self-growth and self discovery absolutely beautifully. The writing is fast paced and incredibly witty - I laughed out loud on multiple occasions.

The story focuses on a 28 year old woman named Violet in 1898. Violet’s Mother disappeared 10 years prior and she now lives with her Father, who expects Violet to run the household and to marry. Violet is very strongly against this whole premise and continuously fights against female stereotypes, focusing more on what she would like to do for herself. While this story delves more into the disappearance of Violet’s Mother, Violet meets a number of new people and discovers a lot about herself along the way.

This story has an equal balance of plot and character focus, which really hooks you as you learn more about each character. The book is very accessible and has quickly moved into my top 10 books. I could not recommend this enough.

Obviously this book gets a 5/5 after I’ve done nothing but sing it’s praises.

The book is now on sale as of yesterday and I’m going to need to get myself a physical copy because I know I’m going to want to read this again in the future.

What a brilliant novel 🤩

Was this review helpful?

Oh, I love this book! It was such a nice read, and you can't not love Violet. It was an engaging story line and I was hooked from the beginning in Violet's search for her mother.

Was this review helpful?

This was an entertaining, well-written book. It was fun, intriguing, held my interest and I wanted to find out what was going on. I enjoyed this book and will look for more books by this author.

Was this review helpful?

I couldn't connect with this story. I don't quite understand why, but I didn't.

I say that I can't understand why I didn't connect because I think it's an interesting story, that it's well written and I really like that it shows how a woman was limited at a certain time (although she still is today, but from other aspects ) and how he coped with it.

However, it took me a long time to read it because I didn't feel attracted to the story, it didn't make me want to continue with the next chapter. In any case, I consider that it is something very personal, because I have not seen any faults.

The chapters are short and dynamic which makes the reading quite light.

Was this review helpful?

This book reminded me a lot of Lex Croucher novels which are strong female characters within the regancy period. This book however is set slightly later in the late Victorian era but i can still see the similarities between them. I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Violet and Benjamin at times and it also felt a little bit clinical which could be because of the time period in which this was set.

The plot was an interesting one and I didn’t expect some of the turns which the story took. I laughed allowed though because of what Mrs monks made poor violet do, which shows really how innocent she is. I love how violet didn’t want to conform to the typical women stereotype of the time and wanted to be her own person and have her own career. The character of violet reminds me of the character of Enola homes as she is interested in becoming a lady detective. I’m

Was this review helpful?

Violet Hamilton was 18 when her mother, Lily, disappeared. It was in the summer of 1886. Now, 10 years later, her mother has never been found. Violet’s father is quite concerned that at 28 his daughter will never marry. He is a banker and they live in a suitable home with a few servants.

Violet loved her mother dearly and misses her so much. Unbeknownst to her father, Violet hires Frank Knight, a detective, to see if he can find her mother. After meeting with him a couple of times, she feels like he is a sleaze and wants to find another detective. However, the other one has passed on and his son has retired from that business and runs a furniture store. His name is Benjamin Blackwood. They become friends and Violet helps with some detective work for him as she learns to type on an old typewriter he has.

I feel like the intention of the book was to express the independence of a woman during this time period. However, the story seemed to drag and be somewhat repetitious with Violet getting into things that she simply should not have. The ending - finally - was good which wrapped up the story fairly well.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Was this review helpful?

When I first started this novel it wasn’t what I was expecting. It took me a little while to get used to the pace of the novel as well as the author’s writing style but as soon as I settled in, I truly enjoyed this quirky novel. Violet is a determined, single minded young woman but she’s also naive and somewhat misguided. She has not had a mother to ask questions about life and her father is unemotional and doesn’t want much to do with Violet because she reminds him of her mother. Although he does seem to want her to marry well, if not only to get her out of his house. As Violet finds out things about her mother, it taints her view of the world and men in general. She goes out of her way to dissuade her beau’s from falling for her and is actually quite comical in her excuses to get away. This rather endears her character to me at the same time as making me shrink away in embarrassment for her.

When Violet tries to hire the “other” detective in town that I begin to understand her motives a little bit better. This young woman, without a mother, is trying to find herself. She is a boat without a rudder and is spinning in circles. The only thing she thinks she knows is that she doesn’t want to get married because from what her mother told her it sounds awful. Benjamin, brings some stability to her life. He doesn’t try to hold her back, he in fact helps her with her detective work, giving sound advice and giving her life a little direction. Of course, he’s a man who she must not mislead- so there’s a little misdirection on her part to hold him at a distance.

No Life for a Lady was entertaining once I understood that I wasn’t reading a romance, but a coming of age story- despite the young woman being twenty-eight. It was also a mystery, but the disappearance of her mother tied into why Violet behaved so bizarrely. As a woman in the current world, it is always interesting to see how women were subjugated and held back. The men in Violet’s life treated her pretty abominably which was why Benjamin was so refreshing. The author was very clever in giving us a lot of disreputable male characters to contrast and caste him in such a good light.

If you decide to read this book, give it a few chapters to find the pace and discover the humor and quirkiness in Violet’s character. She is truly an original and even though this book was pretty light-hearted what she went through made me think about her and women in her situation in the hours following my finishing the book. The mystery was secondary to a story that was entirely character driven but once it was solved it did explain quite a few things about the mystery that was Violet. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you for the opportunity to review this new novel.

I think the actual book is not living up to the premise... "A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs Bird, The Maid and Lessons in Chemistry." I've read the first and the third of these books and No Life for a Lady doesn't even come near those in terms of plot, characters and atmosphere. I requested this book because I thought this was perfect for me.

Violet was thinking the same things over and over with her internal dialogue which slowed down the pace and there the book lost me. I grew frustrated that nothing really happened and lost my patience. I put it down.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed the fun banter between the hero and the heroine. Each scene had me chuckling to myself. I have read books before featuring a female detective in a male dominated field, but never one quite like this. The heroine is plucky and fits to the role so well. The hero is also so very likable while still giving her the space she needs.
I will say I didn't altogether enjoy the ending. While I somewhat saw it coming, I didn't enjoy it. In fact that ending alone would make me hesitate on who I would recommend this book to.
I also had to keep reminding myself that the female was 28 and not a teen. It read very much like an 18-22 year, not a 28 year old. However, I was able to overlook that as her upbringing brought about the way she thought about the world.
Overall I really enjoyed the humor in this book. There were many moments I found myself laughing to myself. Very fun characters overall.

Was this review helpful?

I kept wondering about Violet’s mother and what has happened to her.
It’s a long drawn out plot, one that could have easily been truncated.
Some of the book it cheesy, but I liked the cover and the ending.

Was this review helpful?

RIGHT. I've had enough of this book so I'm quitting while I'm ahead. This was awful.

The writing was strong enough for me to whack on an extra star, but good lord it was like reading the first three chapters of a book over and over again, never quite getting enough information or moving at a pace faster than a SNAIL to get interested. I read a review that called this amateurish and I am inclined to agree. There are so many plot ideas, so many little scraps of detail that have been stitched together and pushed into 300 pages and yet...it's achingly dull. Nothing happens! Our protagonist, the most significant character, is annoyingly naive (even for this time period) and doesn't actually drive any of the action. She has no notable development - she goes from being rude to people to lamenting her curse of being born female to going round and round in circles with the same characters. Most of these chapters felt like head-spinning deja vu - I'd read them already and yet, they kept coming back...

None of the side characters get much development and I suspect the problem is because there are so many of them. There's a phrase I got told during my own writing education - every character needs to be there for a reason. And a lot of these just seemed like they were there so another few pages could be banged out. There are the makings of a great story here and they were totally ignored for a two dimensional lead who tells everyone how independent and thoughtful she is while being the complete opposite in practice.

This book is a mess but the most infuriating thing is there were so many options the writer could have taken to make it an intriguing, exciting novel. Instead, we have spent 300+ pages skirting around the periphery, never quite committing to one idea, never quite getting our feet too dirty, never quite developing a character who is dull, despite all of the author's protestations to the contrary. The only reason I kept going as long as I did was to find out what happened to Violet's mother, but I genuinely do not care anymore.

I'm so disappointed and I can't quite grasp what other readers have found so funny about this book. It's like reading a teenager's inner monologue. A story about a lady detective is great - but when it takes 70% of the book to get to that job starting, there's something seriously wrong with your narrative.

Alright. Now I'm pissed off. Let's go cool down.

Was this review helpful?

Violet's mother disappeared when she was eighteen, Now ten years later she is determined to find out what happened to her. She has hired a private detective- something young unmarried ladies don't normally do - to find any trace of her beautiful mother. In between times, her father keeps bring a string of young men home to try and marry her off.
She regrets hiring the detective as something seems amiss and turns another PI, This causes further confusion and so it goes on.
This book starts slowly but gathers speed,

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book, it went at a good pace, had an intriguing story and great characters.

I highly recommend it!

Was this review helpful?

Utterly charming and thoroughly enjoyable!
OK, confession time I thought this book was going to be a fun romantic comedy/historical romance - oh, how wrong I was and I am pleasantly surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed this feel-good humorous and charmingly fun historical mystery with one hell of a wonderful heroine taking the leading stage. I loved it and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Was this review helpful?

am addicted to historical mysteries and was simply delighted to find this story and author because it was so much more!

Laugh out loud moments, a charming heroine who is determined to be independent and just makes you feel good, and a mystery she is determined to solve. Plus so much more!!

Cannot wait for the next installment to see what Violet gets up to next!!

Was this review helpful?

1896. Violet's father laments that she will probably never get married. He keeps suggesting suitors for her but she really isn't interested. Plus her mother went missing 10 years ago and she really would like to know whether she is still alive. So she enlists the help of a detective. But is he all that he seems. It appears that he isn't and she regrets her choice particularly when she finds out that the son of a former detective (with a brilliant reputation) now has a shop in Hastings. Although it appears that Mr Blackthorn does not wish to be a detective.

But Violet is persistent and she has some adventures trying to impress Mr Blackthorn with her skills. I adored this book so much. It is a light hearted read about a serious topic (a missing mother). I found it utterly addictive and I just wanted to keep reading to see how the story unfolded.

Was this review helpful?