Cover Image: A Botanist's Guide to Society and Secrets

A Botanist's Guide to Society and Secrets

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this historical magic realism installment of the Saffron Everligh series.

I loved getting all 3 POVs of the sisters. I really liked that Elizabeth had a stronger role in this one. I was disappointed that Saffron’s character fell a bit flat for me and did not experience much growth.

I enjoyed that the plot started rolling fairly quickly and moved at a good pace throughout and that character backstories were further expanded on.

The winning trio of murder/mystery, romance and female companionship made this an excellent read!

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I have been waiting for this third installment on Safforn Everleigh mystery. It follows the same vein…you come across so many new things about plants! As usual a death happens. And the person who is a suspect is Alexander’s brother, Adrian. Alexander convinced Saffron to take up the case…and whoosh the adventure starts!! A cup of murder, a pinch of saffron, a teaspoon of romance, couple of tablespoons of female friendships..and viola!!

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I enjoyed reading about Saffron’s latest adventure. She’s starting to rely more on her friends. I especially appreciated Elizabeth taking a more active role this time around. I’m pretty sure my favorite scene was her impromptu questioning of a room full of suspects.

I was intrigued by the way family held a role in this story. All three POV characters (Saffron, Elizabeth, and Alexander) are unexpectedly visited by a semi-estranged family member. They each deal with the disruption in different ways based on their personality and circumstances, which was very interesting to see play out.

The mystery itself was confusing and a little convoluted. It felt like the whole purpose of this book was to set up the next one. To be fair, it worked. The stakes got very high in the last chapter or so. I’m very interested in what’s about to happen in Book 4!

Note: This is the third book in the Saffron Everleigh mystery series. It could possibly be read as a standalone, but certain characters and events will make more sense if you read the other books first.

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3.5 stars

A 1920s historical mystery featuring female botanist Saffron Everleigh. Saffron is principled, headstrong, and fed up with the sexism of being a female scientist in this era. Because her specialty is poisonous plants, she has gotten drawn into a couple of murder investigations. This time out her sometimes love interest Alexander asks her to help his brother who stands accused of the murder of a research scientist at a lab. Since she and Alexander disagreed on whether Saffron should get involved in murder investigations, it's a bone of contention.

There are a lot of characters in this book: Saffron, her oddly portrayed roommate and best friend Elizabeth and family, co-workers, miscellaneous university and lab personnel ... and a few police officers as well. It is sometimes confusing keeping everyone straight. The plot is a little complicated because it touches on Saffron's feelings about government involvement in scientific evil-doing like germ warfare. She is haunted by her scientist father's death and the general World War I ghastliness. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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This series is fun to read with an interesting lead character in Saffron Everleigh, a researcher at a London university in 1923. The books' plots usually require Saffron to use her knowledge of plants to help solve the mystery and unmask the killer. In "Society and Secrets," Saffron is asked by fellow scientist and maybe romantic interest to help clear his brother of the murder of another scientist. The plot is pretty convoluted, and, unfortunately, I thought the book dragged during the first half. I did enjoy the character development of Saffron's roommate Eliza and the introduction of Eliza's brother, Nick, who is a shadowy government official. Readers should know that while the mystery is solved, the book ends with a cliffhanger. I do think these books need to be read in order.

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Loved this sequel! The drama with the two brothers was quite interesting, especially since we get some backstory on pretty importnat characters.
Saffron is so smart. She olves issues faster than anyone else, and always does so with her knowledge of plants.
I can't wait for the next book!

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Research botanist Saffron Everleigh recently returned from a conference in France. While she was there she observed areas destroyed by chemicals released during WWI, strengthening her resolve to never work in a government project. That resolve is tested when she is thrown into another investigation. Alexander Ashton, who Saffron has feelings for, asks for her help when his brother Adrian becomes a murder suspect. The victim was a scientist working in a government lab. While Adrian had no connection to the scientist, he shared a train compartment with him as he became ill and died. As Saffron research’s possible poisons that may have caused the death, her roommate Elizabeth faces problems o her own. Her brother Nick is arriving for a visit. Nick had served in the war and is still attached to the government. When a second scientist is killed, he asks Saffron to go undercover in the lab to discover what the scientist had been working on and who was responsible for the deaths.

Saffron is following in her late father’s footsteps, much to the dismay of her grandparents, who want her to return home and settle down. She has little contact with them and has lost their support, but she is determined to succeed. She has placed herself in danger in past investigations. Alexander fears that her work for Nick will once again threaten her life. He had run across Nick in Greece during the war and he knows that Nick can be ruthless and uses people to succeed in his assignments. Using Saffron allows her to discover that the greatest danger may not come from the killer, but from the lab itself. This is the third book in Kate Khavari’s series. Her characters are well developed and face the challenges of a changing world. Saffron’s field is dominated by men and she must constantly prove herself. Alexander’s mother is Greek, but he has adopted the mannerisms and speech of his English father to be accepted in society. Their strengths and weaknesses bring them to life and Khavari ends her story with a glimpse of the danger to come. I would like to thank NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing this book for my review.

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'A Botanist's Guide to Society and Secrets' by Kate Khavari is a fun next installment in this historical fiction novel. Though if you've not read the previous novels this one may fall a little flat.

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In this next installment of the investigative adventures of Saffron Everleigh the intrepid botanist is pulled into a web of intrigue surrounding mysterious deaths, government research, gambling dens, and disreputable suitors! When Saffrons best friend Elizabeth’s brother Nick reappears he sems to be about socializing but Saffrons beau Alexander knows he’s a government agent and dangerous. Of course Nick sweeps them all into an investigation that could have lethal consequences.

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I was very excited to reconnect with the wonderful Saffron Everleigh, however I found myself feeling Saffron really didn't show up to the party. I don't feel like Saffron grew or developed in this installment and she kind of fell flat for me overall. Anyone could have taken her place in the story and it wouldn't have made a difference. Her only characteristic in this was a continuation of struggles she had in the previous book - particularly about her Dad's history and governmental concerns. That plotline is just not interesting enough to carry this series and I feel like we really need more character work to help things along.

Alexander was similarly boring for me, which is strange to say since we did learn a lot more about it. While that was nice, it didn't feel emotional or impactful - there was too much of a disconnect and it just ended up feeling like I was being given information rather than truly getting to know him on a deeper level. I am happy that he and Saffron worked out their differences, but that also didn't feel entirely genuine. Their relationship felt unearned and we lost of lot of the spark between them.

I will say that Eliza was well done and I loved the depth and complexity we got with her in this story. It was nice to see her play a bigger role, but her struggles and development are just not enough to excuse the lack of interest in our main two characters. Having her brother, Nick, involved was also a nice aspect and I do find him quite interesting.

The plot was, unfortunately, both confusing and boring to me. In the previous two books, I feel like the mysteries were a bit more complex. We had little reveals and a few twists along the way that really keep you interested and entertained. That wasn't the case in this story. It felt like we waited until the very end to get any monumental information and I didn't even find it particularly satisfying. I would not have minded a lackluster plot had the characters been more interesting. But, this one just fell flat all around.

I think this book feels the most out of place in the series and I hope this was just a case of something like "middle book syndrome". I'm very interested in the direction that was teased for the next book and I hope it's much more similar to the first 2 books in this series because I definitely enjoyed those ones quite a lot.

Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC of this book.

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Rating: 3.5

After having previously read the other two in the series and seeing the third on Netgalley, I had to request it when I saw it on here.

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed reading this. It fell a bit flat, the plot feeling rushed and less intricate. Perhaps I was spoilt by the other two books, but this didn't feel like it was up to the standard that had been set. If I hadn't read the first two books and just led with this, maybe I would have rated it higher but overall as part of a series, it didn't live up to the rest. It definitely felt more like a way to introduce and setup characters/plots for another book though.

Also, I personally prefer Lee to Alexander, so maybe my bias is showing because of the character time in this book compared to the last.

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I am a sucker for a strong female character, especially in historical fiction. I believe this is the third or fourth novel in the series. While I don't think I missed too much of the plot for not having read the earlier novels, I didn't quite get as much character development (which makes sense). It was good, and I'm intrigued enough to track down the earlier books!

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This is the first Saffron Everleigh mystery I've had the pleasure of reading and I am hooked! She is such a well-rounded heroine. She's a scientist, a good friend to her roommate, and has a romantic side to boot. One character trait that gets her into trouble, however, is her sense of curiousity. When she is asked to help clear her friend Alexander's brother's name for a murder, she can't help but to get pulled in way over her head. And she just keeps getting pulled in deeper and deeper....

I enjoyed reading about the time period after the First World War in England. I also really enjoyed the botany and horticulture side of the story, though I can't pretend to be at all familiar with any of the plants or fungi mentioned. I think this mystery would appeal to people who love academia vibes in their reading, as Saffron is a botanist in the University's employ. She must deal with the inherent struggles of being a woman scientist, which wouldn't have been easy in her day and age.

Thank you to netgalley for providing me a free advanced digital copy of this book in return for my honest review.

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The setting for this story is England between the two world wars. Saffron Everleigh worked hard to follow her late father’s example by attaining a position as a researcher at the university. The result of her academic success is estrangement from her remaining family. Her friend and flatmate, Elizabeth, is in a similar situation. Saffron is a botanist who specializes in poisonous plants. In this capacity she aided authorities with investigations in the past. She hopes to not be involved in any more investigations, it’s not good for one’s reputation. But when the brother of her friend is suspected of murder, her help is requested. So she steps in once again.
I believe this is the third book in a series. I did not feel a lack for having not read the prior volumes.
Thanks to NetGalley for an eGalley of this book.

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I absolutely loved this arc! I didn’t know it was a third in a series, so I hurried and read the first from my library and i was forever thankful! I absolutely adored these and I hope we get more of them soon!

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Some might consider a bit controversial that I post about DNF books but I am pushing past my doubts here and just want to tell why this book didn't work for me. It was not clear to me when I chose it on Netgalley that A Botanist's Guide to Society and Secrets was the third book in a series (maybe I didn't pay enough attention). I'm very undisciplined when it comes to reading series in order, and that's normally not an issue, as in many cases, the author has a way to weave the back story into the first chapter and to make it easy for newcomers to catch the train. Here, it doesn't work. You need to have read the first two books to understand anything about the story. I was lost at sea with lots of characters and previous events that were merely alluded to and it wasn't fun. If people have started the series from the beginning I assume it might be a lot more fun.

I might have persevered if the mystery of this book was quick to start, but when I decided to DNF, at 23%, it was still a slow build (due to the development of characters I didn't know) and I could not wait any longer. The last thing that annoyed me was that even though the book is set in the 1920s (and frequently alludes to the long lasting impacts of the Great War, in terms of trauma, shell shock, and changing attitudes of society), Saffron Everleigh and a few other characters behave in an anachronistic manner, that is certainly more a reflection on current female empowerment and consent than what went on at the time. I liked the botanical approach to mystery, but this was definitely not enough.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley. I received a free copy of this book for review consideration.

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A Botanist's Guide to Society and Secrets is the third book in Kate Khavari's Saffron Everleigh mystery series. In this book Saffron is drawn into a new investigation by her former love interest Alexander when his brother becomes the prime suspect in a murder. I really love this series. London in the 1920's is a perfect setting. The mysteries are always captivating as are the personal relationships. I enjoyed getting to send more time with Saffron's roommate and friend Elizabeth. Saffron's career is so interesting and I love how botany is tied into the crimes.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I enjoyed this read so much, a botanist and a crime book! Yes please! I was staying up late to finish it. Learning that it is a series made my day.

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This was a fun third installment in the series. It did feel a little more rushed and confusing with the plot not being as tight as the previous books. It was interesting to have Alexander's brother involved, as well as Elizabeth getting more air time, and her brother's role in it all as well. This one was also a little bit darker than the first two, but still a fun read. There is a lot of vagueness around "the government" and what was going on with Saffron's father, as well as the shadowy bad guys towards the end of the book. Hopefully that will be more clear in the next one!

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A Botanist's Guide to Society and Secrets by Kate Khavari is glorious. A wonderful historical mystery that follows botanist Saffron Everleigh as she battles against a soceity that wants to keep women out of the workplace and the ballot boxes

There were a lot of established characters in the book and the awesome character development has encouraged me to read the previous books in the series

Khavari has a real strength in placing characters in time and is authentic in her character development, especially against the backdrop of the aftermath of WW1, which naturally has a huge impact on characters behaviour and psyche

A truly wonderful book and a fantastic blend of characters and storylines. This series is straight on to my TBR

Thank you to Netgalley, Crooked Lane Books and Kate Khavari for this phenomenal ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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