No Life for a Lady

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Pub Date 02 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2023

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Description

The most joyful book of 2023!

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

At 28, Violet's father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton's vanishing before it's too late?

A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs Bird, The Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.

Praise for No Life For a Lady:
'A GORGEOUS historical romcom with lashings of mystery... Joyful!' Sophie Irwin
'Charming, exhilarating, fabulously funny and so full of heart – Violet is the heroine I've been waiting for.' Daisy Buchanan
'So original and well written, I couldn't put it down... I can't remember rooting for a heroine as hard as I did for Violet.' Lucy Vine
'Delightful, original, cleverly crafted and completely addictive. Violet Hamilton is one of those characters who slips into your heart straight away and radiates joy. I loved it!' Hazel Prior

The most joyful book of 2023!

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

At 28, Violet's father is beginning to worry she will never find...


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ISBN 9781804544341
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PAGES 400

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Average rating from 125 members


Featured Reviews

This was pure delight! Well written and plotted, likeable characters, and a decent mystery to boot. I instantly recommended the book to the local library to purchase.

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Violet doesn't want to marry but her father is insisting that she does. Not that she has much choice as it is in 1896. She is definitely unique in her views for a lady in that time period. She wants to find her mother who disappeared mysteriously 10 years earlier. She is fun, original and sassy. I love the LOL scenes. She is a delight. It's an interesting mystery and I have fun reading it.

Thanks to the publisher for the arc.

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A fun read definitely in the vein of Dear Mrs Bird and Mrs Bensons Beetle. It makes such a change for a book that doesn’t just follow usual rules, one to pack in your bag for holiday

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I suspect we all need someone like Violet Hamilton in our life to remind us to dream bigger and break a few rules every once in a while!

This is a funny and heartwarming book set in the glorious Hastings seaside in the late Victorian era. Violet Hamilton lives with her father, being a rather different kind of young women, who at the ripe old age of twenty-eight has already decided to spurn the advances of suitors arranged by her father to woo her. Violet dreams of something more than marriage. But she isn't sure what. Especially as Violet's own Mother disappeared without any explanation ten years ago - there are things she longs to know. Violet thinks she can't solve this mystery alone, so she employs the help of a Detective, Mr Knight. But Violet can't shake her suspicions that Mr Knight is more than just a bad mannered man, he might also be a bad detective. Violet starts investigating other options and meets Benjamin, the bearded son of Hasting's best detective. Piecing together her Mother's past and learning about herself, Violet realises she has ambitions that cannot be contained by her fathers limited expectations and sets forth on an adventure that is filled with hilarious and heartwarming moments. Picking up skills from Benjamin and uncovering more clues about her Mothers life, through these events Violet starts to see the possibilities of life open around her.

Dolby creates a world filled with rich characters that are easy to love, even if at first some are misunderstood by Violet's innocent view of the world - that only adds to the comedic dilemmas she faces getting to know Benjamin under strict social rules for unmarried women. ("If anyone heard us use our first names they might think we were lovers. It was a truly shocking lapse of formality. It felt dangerous and illicit. I realised I didn't care.")

It is a book I wholeheartedly recommend, an absolute diamond of richly drawn characters, dramatic twists, and a slice of romance that keep pages turning.

It's easy to get complacent and forget that reading is about escaping, No Life for a Lady is a reminder of what good stories do best: transport the reader into an adventure. Especially one as fun as Violet, brought to life in vivid technicolour detail on every page. I cannot wait to read what Dolby writes next!

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Oooh, what a joyful character Violet is! I really appreciated her being vulnerable for not knowing lots of things she could've asked her mother if she hadn't disappeared then years earlier. How she walks out on men on two different occasions on the same day just because she was feeling uncomfortable, and is embarrassed about it later, but haven't we all had situations like that?
And when things do go the way she was hoping or even better – sorting things, Violet being on a high, realizing what a powerful feeling that is, as opposed to being terrified which she admits to often feel as well.

Also very on topic when it comes to men thinking women are inferior creatures, as indeed you sometimes think nothing much changed since 1896.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book.

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I was randomly selected by the publisher to receive an ARC. Thank you to Netgalley as well. It's 1896 and Victoria is 28 years old. Her mother has been missing for ten years now. In that time, Victoria has searched her room and done all that she could think of to figure out what happened. An advertisement for a local detective catches her eye and she hires Mr. Knight on the spot. He seems a bit unsavory but she knew of no other detective. Victoria lives with her Father on the seaside and their two staff. She attends church weekly and is determined not to marry.

Victoria's Father introduces her to many gentlemen, all of which she firmly and creatively turns them down. She is a bit of an oddity, being 28 and unmarried. There is also a kind of public stain from having a missing Mother. Victoria has dabbled in charity work but longs for more purpose. It's not proper really for a spinster to work, being a gently bred young daughter of a banker. When Mr. Knight continues to investigate her Mother's disappearance, she continues to find him uncomfortable to be around. When firing him doesn't work, she looks for another detective.

Benjamin's Father was the detective but has since passed away. His son has decided instead to sell furniture. Victoria charmingly inveigled herself into his life. She assists him with some light detective work. His shop has a typewriter and he allows her to learn typing, even assisting with receipts and such. Victoria keeps her activities from her Father but she is immensely pleased with herself for finding useful, interesting work. Benjamin takes on a few cases reluctantly, with Victoria's help. Detective work could be dangerous and he wanted to avoid his Father's fate. Victoria has become a permanent part of his life. As feelings start to develop, Victoria pushes them aside to focus on finding her Mother.

Mr. Knight is consumed with finding her Mother and she soon finds out why. Victoria's innocence is shed several times over the course of the investigation and from meeting new people in this new enterprise of hers. She finds out her Father hid a letter from her that her Mother sent after her disappearance. The mystery unravels in unexpected and exciting ways. I was entertained throughout and thoroughly enjoyed Victoria and Benjamin. Her strong, silly and unconventional personality are a treasure. I look forward to more of Victoria.

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This is a fantastic piece of historical fiction that was well written with well developed charcaters and a compelling storyline that was full of charm, mystery and humour - it made me laugh out loud at times. A great read.

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Funny, enlightening, joyous romantic comedy. Historical angle gives it a really fresh feel. Highly recommended.

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I just loved this book! Set in 1896, Violet is a feisty 28 year old spinster actively avoiding marriage despite the reputation it brings her. The humour throughout this book is very well written so we find our trusty heroine inventing ridiculous charities to explain where she spends her time. In reality, it's spent trying to trace her mother who disappeared a decade earlier and with her new friend who owns a furniture shop. Clearly there's a lot more to it than this so it well worth reading.

If you are looking for an escape with an endearing main character who will make you smile, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Violet Hamilton, a 28-year-old "spinster" living in a seaside town in England during the late Victorian era, is one of the most delightful characters I have encountered in a long time. Keeping house for her stolid banker father and unwilling to accept any man as a potential husband, Violet looks for something to make her life meaningful. Obsessed with finding out what happened to her beautiful mother, who disappeared 10 years ago, she decides to engage a local private detective, Frank Knight, to find her. But when Knight uncovers some unsavory details and is not as discreet as she demands, Violet approaches another detective who seems more suitable. Unfortunately, Benjamin Blackthorn has decided to become a furniture salesman rather than follow in his late father's detective footsteps and is reluctant to help Violet. But he hasn't reckoned with her determination and persistence--no shrinking Violet here!

Narrating her own story, Violet reveals in the most entertaining (often hilarious) fashion her unshakeable character, her desires and eccentricities, and her shocking lack of knowledge about certain things. Supporting characters are also well drawn and memorable. This is a fun, charming book by a debut author, and there is certainly enough going on in Violet's tumultuous life by the end of the story to fuel a sequel. Here's hoping!

My thanks to NetGalley and Aria and Aries for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.

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This was a remarkably entertaining debut novel. It's difficult to pin it down since it has a bit of romance, a bit of history, a bit of sleuthing and a bit LGBTQ before its time. I had no expectations before starting the book but got into it quickly, mainly because of its endearing protagonist. This could be the first one in a series about a lady detective if the writer develops her characters a bit more and finds other equally interesting story lines. I would be interested to see how it continues.

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When Violet Hamilton's mother goes missing she's set on finding out where she went. Violet hires a private detective. She then hires another one. In the midst of that she finds herself set on a course of doing a spot of detective work herself. It's an unusual occupation for a woman but she finds she likes it. I came to like Violet, she's an inquisitive woman with a willingness to learn and try different things and that makes her a better detective. It's an interesting journey with a woman who's willing to take chances to find out what happened to her mother and she might also find out so many other things about the world and herself along the way.

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No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby is a great historical fiction that is full of mystery, laughter, and fun.

I really enjoyed this historical mystery. The author did a great job of balancing historical detail and the more serious elements with quip, wit, and humor.

I always like a book that balances it all, as it helps create a fresh, fun, and entertaining read. Violet Hamilton is a creative, sassy, and vibrant young woman and placing her in the late 19th century really creates a push/pull scenario as she is a circle surrounded by square pegs.

Definitely entertaining.

4/5 stars

Thank you NG and Aria for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 3/2/23.

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So much fun! A delightful mix of comedy, mystery, and romance.

It is 1896 and Violet is discovering her dream job might just be “Lady Detective”. She is 28 years old and remains devastated by her mother’s disappearance a decade ago. As detective work is an unsuitable profession for women, Violet saves up in hopes of hiring a private detective to find out what happened to her mother. When Violet saves enough and happens upon a notice in the paper advertising detective services, she is elated. Soon, however, she gets the sinking feeling this detective isn’t as talented as he led her to believe. Unfortunately, the best detective in town is dead and his son, Benjamin (aka Mr Blackthorn) has sworn off detective work in favor of selling furniture. Will Violet be able to solve the mystery before her reputation is in tatters?!

Violet is an amazing and lovable character - full of curiosity, humor, resilience, aspirations, and determination. Would love to read a series about Violet thriving as the best detective in town!

Thank you to Aria & Aries and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy.

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I LOVED THIS BOOK!
For a start, it was easy to get into - I connected with the main character from the word go.
Secondly, it was hilarious. There was one line in particular that just cracked me up!
Thirdly, it had a good plot. It kept me guessing.
It's the kind of book you race to finish because you want to know what happens, then you regret it the second you reach the last word, because you know you'll miss the characters and the next book won't seem quite as good.
Please, please, please tell me there'll be a sequel....

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What happens when a woman wants to finally get answers to a decades old mystery and a new detective just happens to come to town? You wind up with discovery, a not-so-competing detective agency-cum-furniture seller-cum quasi detective agency, and a leading lady that wants to make a real impact. I really liked this book, but felt the main character seemed a little too naive for her age, still I would recommend it!

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No Life for a Lady

First I want to thank Netgalley and Aria & Aries for granting me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

What a cute easy going read this was! We are introduced to a strong willed, unconventional woman who at the age of Eight and Twenty is still unmarried much to the despair of her father. All Violet wants is to find her place in the world, and her missing mother. So she sets out to enlist a Detective. Unfortunately for her he has died, and his son wants nothing to do with detective work. Unfortunately for the son, Violet won’t take no for an answer.

We are taken on a hilarious journey filled with secrets and self discovery. I adored the interactions Violet has with men, mainly because they made me laugh. Confronted with awkward situations Violet has a plan. Walk away. You’ll understand once you read.

I would enjoy more stories about our loveable Violet and I hope they will come!.

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the best thing I have read for ages - a gentle, funny, joyful delight. I didn’t want to finish it and I know I will re-read it often.

It is part mystery, part romance, part tale of self discovery and utterly, utterly charming. I can’t remember the last time I felt such deep affection for a protagonist- Violet’s voice is totally original, so funny and you will care SO MUCH about what happens to her. If you enjoy a comfort read then you will LOVE this. Out in March and I’m already crossing everything for a sequel.

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Review coming nearer to pub date.

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC.

Opinions are mine.

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This book was very fun, and I ended up enjoying the protagonist immensely. It did take me a bit to get into the story and to embrace the humor of the main character. To be frank, I initially found her utter lack of self-awareness jarring. Then, about a quarter of the way in, I began to realize the tone of her internal dialogues is probably not so different than my own.

Embrace the absurd realism (or realistic absurdity?) and enjoy a delightful, awkwardly romantic adventure.

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A delightful read great characters so well written a mystery to be involved in.Will be recommending a book many readers will enjoy.#netgalley #ariaaries

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4.5🌟
Thank you to NetGalley, Aria & Aries Publishing and Hannah Dolby for a chance to read an ARC for “No Life for a Lady”. This is my honest and unpaid review.
I really enjoyed this book! I loved the inner monologue that Violet has going throughout the book. It was interesting to see her go from being the innocent ornament that women were supposed to be back then to becoming a stronger, more independent woman by the end. Many parts of the book made me chuckle and I liked the the clues and twists that kept the reader moving forward. I hope those poor animals will finally be free of their habits one day.
The only reason I didn’t give the book the last 1/2 star was that I had some difficulty with the pacing of the story. Some parts seemed to be long then others almost jumped ahead and I had to reread to make sure I hadn’t missed something. Otherwise, I really liked it! I felt like this might be the first book of a series based on how it ended so if it is, I will keep my eye out for another!

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What an absolutely delightful book with which to begin my 2023 year of reading!
No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby is such fun to read and I definitely had difficulty putting it down. The main character Violet is a force to be reckoned with - a mixture of innocence and naivety, exuberance and curiosity, and strength and determination. It is thrilling to watch how she navigates coming into her own as the book progresses.
The book is utterly charming, with a gentle humour that carries throughout its pages. The lack of communication between various characters and the resulting misunderstandings lead to many of these humourous instances, much to the delight of the reader.
To round things out, there is an interesting mystery and a budding romance that keep you turning the page to the end.
#NoLifeforaLady is a well-written historical tale, and I am grateful to #NetGalley for the ARC. I can hardly wait to see what Violet does next.

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No Life for a Lady
by Hannah Dolby

Pub Date 02 Mar 2023
Publisher :Aria & Aries,
Genre :General Fiction (Adult) | Historical Fiction | Women's Fiction

we are in 1896 in the Victorian era in this book and ASDA 10 years ago missing she is now how the detective to help figure out what has happened to her mother. We are following Violet through out her story on what has happened. Knowing you're own mind in this this time period is very dangerous

I really enjoyed the historical aspect of the story although at times the pacing is slow.

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In these Victorian times, the only real prospect for Violet is marriage, but at twenty-eight she might already have left it too late. Since her mother disappeared ten years previously, she has kept house for her father and fabricated accounts of her charitable works as required, in order to keep the interfering women of the parish at bay.
For years she has dreamt of hiring a private detective to trace her mother. She hires Frank Knight, but by the time she realises he is suspect, it is too late to transfer the case to Benjamin Blackthorn who on the other hand is shaping up to be exactly the answer to her prayers. So, she starts the sleuthing herself, in between fending off the unsuitable marriage specimens forced on her by her father.
No Life for a Lady, Hannah Dolby’s debut is just perfect. Violet is a wonderful character, funny and interesting with a finely balanced naivety. She flings herself headlong into the search, paying only the briefest attention to the necessary conventions and hampered by her scant life knowledge until all the pieces start to fall into place.
I loved this joyful entertaining read and am delighted at the invitation from Head of Zeus through Netgalley UK to read it.

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Brilliant read with a plucky protagonist and fantastic plot. I loved it!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of the book.

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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...

At 28, Violet's father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.
Loved the main character Violet and how her modern ( for the time ) determination on not being married off to a whole heap of men who her father has deemed eligible to marry her off to.
A different style of mystery genre which keep me guessing until the end.
A must read.

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This was a very enjoyable read!

It was fun, well paced and with some very nice twists and turns. Also, who can resist Mr Blackthorn….

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An excellent Christmas holiday read! No life for a lady is a thoroughly entertaining historical mystery/ romance novel. Violet is an unconventional woman who refuses to live a traditional life. She lives in a time when women were supposed to marry well, keep house, and have children. Violet however, is on a quest to find her mother, who has been missing and presumed dead for 10 years and ropes the unwilling son of a detective Benjamin in to help her.
This is a heartwarming tale and Violet is a fabulous character, hopefully this isn’t the last time we hear from her!
Thank you to NetGalley, Aria & Aries, Aria for the opportunity to read and review this gem of a book.

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Violet is one of those incandescent characters who grab your heartstrings with her hilarity, determination and bravery and lingers in your mind long after her story is told. Violet is desperately trying to locate her mother who has been missing and presumed dead for 10 years. No Life for a Lady is a great historical fiction that is full of mystery, laughter and fun. I loved everything about Violet and her adventures! Highly recommended,

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A terrific novel, lively and entertaining, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Violet is a wonderful leading lady, bright and intelligent, adorably naive in affairs of the heart and superbly unconventional in her efforts to learn more. Her desire to investigate her mother's disappearance 10 years ago sets off a rollercoaster of events which are further complicated by her father's desire to find her a suitable husband. Violet's manner of disposing of unwanted suitors is hilarious as are her efforts at housekeeping. The seaside setting of Hastings works a treat for a kaleidoscope of colourful characters and Benjamin Blackthorn is perfect as Violet persuades him to be her partner in crime. The plot is cleverly crafted and moves along at a cracking pace with a suitably outrageous climax. I do hope there are more of Violet's adventures as a lady detective in the pipeline. Hugely enjoyable and great fun to read.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy.

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I loved the spunky heroine Violet! It was a lovely romance story that was well done and an easy holiday read.

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What an absolute joy of a book! Violet is a force to be reckoned with as she embarks on a venture to find her mother, who disappeared 10 years ago. She encounters fierce male detectives, ladies of disrepute, lots of male attention and a rather handsome furniture dealer in her quest to become a Lady Detective - quite a feat for a Victorian/Edwardian lady! I loved everything about Violet and her adventures! Highly recommended, witty and full of joy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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When taken at face value, No Life for a Lady seems like a fun little bit of fluff, enjoyable to read, but with little longevity to make it memorable. However, when one really delves into the book and examines the topic, it is so much more than that.

Violet Hamilton is a young woman living in Hastings/St. Leonard, desperately still trying to locate her mother who has been missing and presumed dead for 10 years. She refuses to live a traditional life and neatly evades all attempts made by her father to ensnare her in matrimony. This book opens with Violet hiring a detective to locate her mother, but immediately we know something is off about this detective. Through her own wits and charm, Violet meets another detective turned furniture seller, Benjamin Blackthorn, and has a few adventures along the way, befriending others who live on the fringes of polite society.

In a typical historical romance novel, when the female lead doesn't meet societal expectations, the difficulties of being such a woman are vaguely hinted at. In No Life for a Lady, the sometimes harsh realities of being an unmarried woman in the late 1800s are presented, Violet struggles against these expectations and forges her own path through subterfuge and lies and disguises.

This book was a joy to read, and I hope that others will pick it up when it releases for publication in March 2023. Thank you to Aria & Aries, and NetGalley for the electronic ARC for review.

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Violet is 28, and does not wish to marry, which was not usually the case in that time period. Instead she wishes to find her mother, and hires a detective to do that. Her views are uncommon for the time, and this novel is a delight. I cannot recommend it highly enough, it is so good. Reminds me of 'Lessons in Chemistry' in some parts. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me a copy of the book.

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Simply brilliant! File this under mystery, romance, historical, family, relationships but above all humour. A thoroughly entertaining read which often made me laugh out loud. So many hijinks and misunderstandings and I totally loved the hilarious turns of phrase by the main character.

I don't give out 5 stars very often but No Life For a Lady deserves it.

I received this arc from netgalley and Head of Zeus in exchange for my honest review.

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I just loved reading this book over my Christmas holidays and finished it in two days. Violet is a hero we can all cheer for - everything about her is lovable and funny and we are completely on her side throughout. The novel is funny and heart-warming and a pacey read.

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Such a unique book, I loved the plot and oh my god the characters we're so amazing!! I definitely will be recommending it!!

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This was so much fun! I love a historical mystery. This had a little romance that I really enjoyed also.

I think that this maybe won't be for everybody. It takes a while for things to pick up in terms of the mystery aspect - I personally didn't mind this, but I think some people might. For me, I thought it made sense for the tone of the novel. It was charming. It gave us time to get to know our main character, Violet, and about her life and the things she's up against as an unmarried woman looking for meaningful employment.

I would say it renders the mystery sort of low key. I liked that though, as this book is actually more about Violet wanting to become a lady detective. This is how we get introduced to Benjamin, the love interest, who I really enjoyed. It was very sweet but also sarcastic, and we love that.

I don't know if this is going to be a series, but I hope so because there's a lot more for Violet to achieve! This is her just starting to learn about the world and herself for that matter and I would love to see more of her adventures.

TW: Sexual assault

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The story follows Violet’s journey to reunite with her missing mother while she is taking the risk of her freedom. To help her along the way, she hires a sketchy detective. He’s totally consumed about the case of Lily Hamilton. It has told from the MC’s narrative, which is more interesting and has kept my interest until the very end. Thus, Violet is quirky and a likeable book main character to me.

Isn’t sound familiar? Yep, I do have same feeling of the book’s vibe. The MC is magnificent as Enola Holmes. She is a young lady who is intent on running her own life on her own way.

It was a great escapism that this book had brought to me on Christmas eve. It was packed with hilarious adventures and self-discovery. It had immediately transported me to stunning recreation scenes of the English countryside in the 19th century. It was fun and entertaining as the mystery unravels in unexpected plot twists.
Overall, the storyline was great and delightful. I was totally absorbed.

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A delightful little treat of a read. I immediately fell in love with the protagonist, and I devoured this book in one sitting. I genuinely chuckled out loud on more than one occasion, and I was completely engrossed the entire time. Highly recommend, and will definitely be reading more by this author.

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This is such a wholesome read, set in a time where being a women meant all that was expected of you was to marry well, keep house and have children.
Violet is a pioneer of her time, dreaming of living outside that mould whilst dealing with the disappearance of her mother ten years ago.
I enjoyed Violet as a character and how she handled stepping outside her comfort zone and pushing for more.
This book was really easy to read and made me laugh at points. The story at parts felt slow but this is a book that drops clues throughout that you will miss if you aren’t careful.
I enjoyed all the different characters from different social standings.
I wish there had been more of Benjamin and relationship building with Violet because although this isn’t a romance book I LOVED their interactions and wanted more of them together. I feel this also would have given a clearer view of Benjamins feelings.
I also have a strong appreciation that most of the side characters were women, giving those who had less of a voice in their time a chance to be seen.

Enjoyable read, perfect for a cosy evening in

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I really hope this is not the last time I read about Violet! I loved her as a main character! She was fiercely strong, independent, and lacked a filter which made me giggle several times throughout. While I am ignorant of the time period, this felt well researched; I had no trouble diving into the setting.

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.

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This is a great story of a ferociously independent lady who wants to rebel against the Victorian expectations set out for her of marriage and children, and instead to pursue a career.
Her choice of career is very much rooted in the mysterious disappearance of her mother when she was still a teenager and she sets out to solve the mystery with not one but two private detactives.
Violet is an absolute joy to read- her inner turmoil about continuing to please her father and at least try to consider the never ending stream of potential suitors versus her desire to be a detective and to find her own way in life is particularly well described.
Along the way she meets a number of great characters, gets into several tricky and reputationally dangerous situations, misunderstands a number of situations due to her innocence of life and there is doubt about whether she will achieve her goals. Every page will have you rooting for her to indeed become a Lady Detective!

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Violet Hamilton is a 28-year-old self-professed spinster living in 1896 Hastings with her father, and she has never had closure since her vivacious, beautiful mother disappeared 10 years earlier. She secretly decides to hire a private detective for the case in an attempt to move forward with her life. However, she is not pleased with the obsessive, aggressive PI (Mr. Knight, who refuses to be fired) and tries to convince another more honorable (former) PI (now furniture seller) to take the job. Meanwhile, her uptight, remote father is constantly throwing possible husband candidates her way. She just wants to solve the mystery and begin to experience and explore the possibilities around her, including her dream of a profession, but discovers that is not so easily undertaken for a woman. As she begins to discover secrets about her mother, she finds herself questioning everything in their family’s past and realizes there is no quick fix to be had. How will she uncover the truths and be able to embrace a future with so many doubts and unknowns?

I loved this debut SO much!! While the subject matter was not always humorous, it was written with such wry wit and charm throughout that I devoured it and hated to reach the end. This has much to say about a woman’s place in society (hence the title) during this period and just how precarious and vulnerable her situation could be. There are moments of great levity amidst the humor when I was struck by sadness and sympathy by both Violet’s attempts at independence and her confusion about and loss of her mother which curtailed all of the advice/knowledge that she would have gained from her.

Violet is one of those incandescent characters who grab your heartstrings with her hilarity, determination and bravery and lingers in your mind long after her story is told. Extra praise also for the rest of the excellent and colorful cast.

Highly recommended.

My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Aria for providing the free early arc of No Life for a Lady for review. The opinions are strictly my own.

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A big thank you to Hannah Dolby, Aria & Aries, and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. No Like for a Lady comes out March 02, 2023!

No Life for a Lady is a delightful histotical fiction that has romance, mystery and a stong women discovering what she is made of. There is one thing Violet absolutely refuses to do and that is get married, even if her father keeps throwing gentelmen at her. Ten years ago Violets mom disapeared, noone know is she ran off or in the worst case murdered. Violet is done not knowing which is the case, so in an effort to find out what happened she hires a detective, Mr.Knight. But after a couple interactions with him she can tell that she made a mistake in hiring him, so when she sees an advirtisment for another detective a Mr. Blackthorn, she thinks she can hire another detective. Too bad Mr. Blackthorn is determined to leave detective work behind and sell furniture instead. What ensues is Violet discovering that she is not just a lady, she can almost anything including a typist and a lady detective.

I really enjoyed this novel, it was fast paced and funny. Violet develops into such a brave and ambitious female character. Honestly some of the things she said made me laugh so hard. I really like seeing her start to take more control of her life and start to go for what she wants. Well this book is mainly womens fiction there is some romance and honestly it was just really cozy to see it develop. The only reason this was not a five star read for me was that the ending felt a little rushed and even though the big mystery was solved there were still some things not resolved that really could have been resolved in an epilogue. All of that aside if you are looking for a fast paced novel full of mystery and heart, No Life for a Lady is the book for you.

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This was such a good book. I love historical fiction, especially when it is about eras/ situations that I previously knew nothing about and this was definitely one of those books. It was so well researched and so compelling in its narrative that not only did I love reading it but I felt that I learned too. A really enjoyable read and perfect for any fans of historical fiction.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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Violet Hamilton is not a typical lady, at 28 years old she is not at all interested in marrying, despite the number of suitors her father sets her up with. What she wants is to find out what happened to her mother, who disappeared ten years ago.

I absolutely loved this book. Violet was such an interesting character, she’s determined and independent. But utterly innocent and with her own charm. I loved the elements of mystery and romance. I would thoroughly recommend this uplifting tale.

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4-5 stars
In the summer of 1886, Violet Hamilton’s beautiful mother kisses her goodbye, heads for a party and disappears, the last sighting being on Hastings pier. Ten years on, Violet decides to hire private detective Frank Knight to search for her mother though sadly he inspires little confidence. Can Violet solve the mystery herself but keep her reputation intact?

This is a wonderful surprise of a book whose lively writing engages me instantly. The chief charm of the book is Violet herself who you cannot help but love. She delights you with her avoidance of marriage, her independence and courage of spirit, her wit and humour, her cleverness and yet she’s also an innocent of the ways of the world, she’s wonderfully naive which gets her into a scrape or three. The characterisation is strong throughout from her curmudgeonly father whose determination she should marry is equally matched by Violet’s determination to the contrary, grumpy Edith the servant, the erratic and odd Mr Knight and the potential of Mr Benjamin Blackthorne.

This is a wonderful blend of humour ( laugh out loud at times), of innocent/not so innocent misunderstandings and crossed wires, of the unconventional versus the conventions of the day and there’s the mystery of the missing mother and a dash of Victorian/not so Victorian romance all in a great setting of St Leonard’s on Sea and Hastings. It’s an extremely easy glide through read and a gem of a book. It’s a highly entertaining, joyful book and I’m so hoping to meet Violet again maybe as a fully fledged detective! She’s a character you won’t forget in a hurry.

Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Aria and Aries for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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Fun mystery/historical story with a strong female protagonist.
Violet is 28 and unmarried, unheard of in the late 1800's. Her mother left when she was 18 and she has always wondered why. Her father thinks she is dead. Violet pawns some jewelry and hires a detective to find her - even though it is now 10 years later. She soon realizes that the detective is not what she thought and tries to get him to stop. Meanwhile she meets another former detective and starts working for him as a typist. Her reputation is in question, her father has found another lady to woo, and Violet feels as though life is running away from her. Can she solve her mother's disappearance before her father forces her to marry?

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No life for a lady by Hannah Dolby

Its 1896 and Violets mum disappeared ten years ago and Violet now has the opportunity to hire a private detective to find her.. but it’s not going the way she has envisioned.

Violets whole world has revolved around her mother, from her mother’s guidance in the ways of love to her disappearance which created a big hole in Violets life and turned her life upside down and now Violet is going to take control of her life and find her mother, have some fun and maybe experience love…

This book is a joy.. I was a little wary of it at first but I soon warmed up and fell in love with Violet.. it is a joyful, funny read which you will be rooting for Violet and rooting for Violet to experience the world which she has been hidden away from.. I hope that this book is going to be the first of many adventures that that we have with Violet and her desire to become a lady detective.

This book got 5 stars from me.. I loved it!

#Nolifeforalady #NetGalley #Mystery #Mother #Fun

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I loved this book and I loved Violet Hamilton, her naivety, her feistiness and her determination to not get married.

Set in 1896, Violet hires a detective to find her mother who disappeared 10 years earlier. There follows, a chain of events that lead to a new career, love and revelations.

Easy to read and quite obvious how it was going to end, I flew through the pages, enjoying every word.

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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It is 1886, 18-year-old Violet Hamilton says goodbye to her mother as she head off a party on Hastings Pier to never been seen again. Ten years later Violet is now 28 years old. She is an independent confident, but quite naive woman, that knows her own mind and her father fears that she will never get married and keeps finding suitors for her. But Violet is not interested but she doesn’t think that they have her best interests at heart anyway.
It is near the anniversary of her mother’s disappearance, and she decides to hire a private detective Frank Knight to solve the mystery of her missing mother. But hiring him causes all sort of trouble for Violet, even bring her reputation into distribute. Is her mother alive or dead? Only time will tell.
Thank you, Aria, for a copy of No life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby. I really enjoyed this enchanting tale from the first page. I found this story to have refreshing and intriguing storyline. I was cheering Violet on and like how confident she came after getting to grips of becoming a ‘Lady detective’. I do hope or I would love to see another episode in this story for Violet. I feel like it is just the starting point of a great series in ‘lady detecting’. 5 stars from me.

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Such a lovely, warm and funny read. Exactly what I needed after lots of serious books and, you know... life. This book has definitely exceeded my expectations.

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This was absolutely delightful. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were charming and witty. I highly recommend this fun and quick read! Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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HANNAH DOLBY – NO LIFE FOR A LADY *****

I read this novel in advance of publication through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

In 1886, ten years before the story opens, naïve eighteen-year-old Violet’s glamorous mother disappears one evening after an event at the theatre on Hastings Pier. Her body has never been found, not washed up along the coast, no messages received, no sightings.

This is the time when young women were seen but not heard, chaperoned when they wanted to go out, so for Violet to hire one Frank Knight, a mysterious private investigator, to track down her mother, is almost unheard of. Especially knowing that her staid bank official father, had she told him, would have been furious. Instead, he is busy trying to find suitable suitors for his daughter to get her off his hands. Having been warned of the horrors of sex by her mother, she is not interested. Until she meets a second private detective in the Old Town, now selling furniture after an accident, and discovers unwelcomed and worryingly amorous feelings for him.

This is an amusing and splendid read, often laugh-out-loud funny, with plenty of interesting periphery characters, from the moody servants in the house, to the friendly vicar at her mother’s church, and the prim young ladies of the town who don’t want to be associated with her, to ladies of the night. Plenty of twists and turns keep the reader guessing until the truth is finally revealed.

Living in Hastings, I have to say that the author has done wonders in recreating the atmosphere of the seaside town in those days. One could follow in Violet’s footsteps today such is the detail of road and place names which lend authority to her prose.

Great fun and amusing, this tale swishes along as fast as her skirts and comes highly recommended. Should be a series.

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What an absolute breath of fresh air this book was! A very entertaining and unique read, with plenty of laugh out loud moments.

"... I wanted nothing more in the whole wide world than to be a Lady Detective." Determined yet naive and vulnerable at the same time - Violet Hamilton was a very intriguing character. On a mission to find her missing mother, I found her actions and reactions amusing - especially when it came to 'helping out' in non-existent charities and societies that she made up on the spur of the moment.

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Set in 1896 in Hastings, Violet Hamilton aged 28, spinster of the parish, is definitely a young woman born a century too early. She displays the feistiness and determination of a woman born closer to the millenium.
She is trying to find out what happened to her mother, who disappeared without trace ten years ago. She is hampered at every turn by the fact that she is an unmarried woman, and must always be mindful of her reputation. She can usually find a way around such minor difficulties, as she endeavours to find out more about the ways of the world generally, and encounters a few surprises along the way. It’s a historical, mystery romance, but not as you know it!
I loved this book, it is beautifully written, enjoyable, humorous and very refreshing. The characterisation of all the players is strong, I could relate to all of them. It’s a cleverly woven mystery, as Violet tries to find her mother, and I so enjoyed the narrative, it never flagged. It kept me fully engaged from start to finish.
I will look for more of this author’s work, and I have no hesitation in recommending this to other readers.

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No Life for a Lady is full of deliciously complex characters who, at first glance, seem typically two-dimensional, as can sometimes be the case when reading cozies. However, the author, Hannah Dolby, masterfully pulls the reader in by expertly layering her story so you cannot help but want to read more.

The year is 1896, and Violet Hamilton is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster. Her life and prospects ground to a halt when her mother disappeared almost ten years prior. (Not that it matters much to her, for she has vowed never to marry). Her father, convinced that her mother has left them, pretends like she never existed, but Violet cannot. Unsatisfied that the local authorities did a thorough investigation, she employs Frank Knight, a private detective. However, their meetings leave her with a sense of unease, so she seeks out a second opinion. Unfortunately, her second option, Benjamin Blackwood, is now a furniture dealer. So it looks like it's up to Violet to solve the case.

This was a debut novel, and what a debut it was! I cannot recall ever reading a historical fiction, cozy mystery comedy before, and it's a damn shame. It deserves its own (sub?) subgenre. This book was enjoyable from its first pages to the last. It tackles unpleasant and delicate subject matter, such as sexism, agency, and loss, with shrewd and quippy acknowledgment. I hope Hannah Dolby isn't finished with Violet Hamilton as a character because I would love to read more about her Lady Detective escapades.

Violet is a paradox, a product of her time and upbringing. In some regards, she is rigid by even the day's standards, valuing propriety and primness. In other ways, our protagonist steamrolls over societal norms. It's captivating to watch her character growth as she finds her voice. The narrative is so well done, as well. There's plenty of misdirection, but like any well-written mystery, it allows the reader to play detective, giving clues along the way. While I have many thoughts on this book (and all of them good), in an effort not to give away the plot, all I will say is I highly recommend this book.

If you are searching for a book full of adventure and self-discovery layered with witty social commentary, this is a perfect read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Aria for granting my wish and this ARC!

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Aside from knowing it was historical fiction, I wasn’t sure what to expect from No Life for a Lady when I picked it up. So I’m delighted to say that it was such a joy to read. The perfect choice to brighten up a grey January weekend (when I read it), it blended really funny plot moments with a hugely likeable lead character in Lady Violet Hamilton.

Set in 1896, Violet lives in Hastings on the English south coast with her father, a repressed and authoritative bank manager. Violet may be a Lady but she has no intention of marrying and living the life expected of her, for a few reasons. When Violet was 18 her mother, Lily, disappeared and ten years later, when No Life for a Lady is set, it is still something that aches on Violet’s heart and mind.

So, she decides to try and do something about it and hires a private detective – Frank Knight – to find out what happened to her mother. The thing is, Frank Knight isn’t a very good detective, Violet is sure she could do a better job herself. The thought appeals to her…

She finds another detective in town, Benjamin Blackthorn, who just happens to be a lot younger and far more attractive than Frank Knight. Unfortunately, Benjamin isn’t in the detective game anymore, he sells furniture. Violet, however, doesn’t give up easily and plots to persuade Benjamin to take her case. While spending time with him – for purely professional reasons, of course – she can’t help but find herself being drawn to him.

The Violet / Benjamin story is so heart-warming to read and adds such a lovely dimension to No Life for a Lady.

From the Bridgerton vibes when Violet talks about her society debut (that never was) to her realisation that maybe, just maybe, she could be a Lady Detective, I thoroughly enjoyed joining Violet on her journey as she learnt a lot about the ways of the world, human nature and just what exactly did happen to her mother ten years ago…

I laughed out loud so many times reading No Life for a Lady, it blended humour and heart so well. This is Hannah Dolby’s debut book, so I’ll definitely keep an eye out for what she writes in the future. Hoping another adventure with Violet might be on the cards!

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I really enjoyed this book, a bit different to my normal but still a great read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me an advance copy, I will definitely be recommending.

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This story is full of a joyous innocence and also a feminine ambition out of step with what was considered ladylike in the late 19th century. It is slightly unbelievable as a period piece, not just for its feisty yet ingenuous heroine, who launches into a quest for the truth about her mother’s ten year absence, but in it’s language and placement in time. However, the author goes to not inconsiderable trouble to show the reader how vulnerable the female race was to male abuse and unwanted advances at worst, and unseemly parental pressure to marry at best. Her experience of marriage is from her parents, and that was not all it seemed. We follow our intrepid character around the seaside town of Hastings as she negotiates the pitfalls of her chosen path to our delight and amusement. The plot is not implausible and the writing is entertaining and rewarding. Well done to the author.

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‘No Life for a Lady’ tells the story of Violet Hamilton, a young woman living in Hastings, a seaside resort town in the south of England. Ten years have passed since the disappearance of her mother, having gone out for an evening with friends never to return, and Violet has always had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right about the disappearance. No body was ever found, nor did anyone remember her seeing her mother leave the pier in the evening, but how can a woman, especially one renowned for her beauty and charm, just seemingly disappear?

But life is not so simple for a woman in the late 1890s. Society dictates much of the expectations of how one should conduct oneself, and so Violet finds herself trapped between conforming to those expectations, and her own wishes and desires. And of course, the disappearance of her mother is always on her mind.

When a detective shows up advertising his services, she is quick to hire him in hopes of finding the answers she wants. However, as a bad feeling on their meeting makes her unsure of her choice, she has to weigh up what it means to conform to expectations, and whether or not she can risk her reputation to get the answers she is looking for?


I very much enjoyed this book! The characters are interesting, the plot intriguing, and the setting gives for an interesting insight of what turn of what life would have been like for a woman towards the end of the Victorian period. Violet holds an interesting role in that of a dutiful daughter both to her father with whom she still lives (and is continually trying to arrange a marriage for her) and that to the memory of her mother, as well as wanting to stay true to her own wants and desires away from expectations.

The story starts off at a good pace, picking up speed along the way, and towards the end of the book as it reaches its Crescendo I found it difficult to put down. The ending was hinted at throughout but never to obviously, leaving a satisfactory feeling of having figured out the mystery, but without it being revealed too soon, as well as some surprises along the way.

It is also well written in terms of giving an idea of what it would have been like to navigate throughout society, dealing with differences in both class and gender. This was my only negative in the book, as through the first quarter of it, it always seemed to focus on what was “right and proper” with mentions on nearly every page. While this constant referencing of propriety did seem hamfisted and tedious, though in the latter part of the book it’s frequency ebbed off leading for more enjoyable reading. That said, I can also see how it plays into the perception of the world that Violet holds.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys detective and mystery fiction, as well as anyone who has interest in social relations in the late Victorian period.


Thank you so much to NetGalley for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A delightfully quirky read which was refreshingly innocent with plenty of underlying humorous innuendo. Wonderfully depicted characters, some of which I felt could be developed further, I'd love to know more about some of them roaming the streets of Hastings in 1896. A gentle charmingly joyful read with some wonderful old-fashioned turns of phrase.

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This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!

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Definitely a joyful read. Historical fiction with humor, romance and mystery.
This was a light and enjoyable read and I hope it becomes a series. Violet is such a likable character who makes you laugh even while going through a rough time!
Thank you NetGalley, Hannah Dolby and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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At the end of the 19th century violet our heroine valiantly and controversially doesn't want to be wed but she does want to be working in order to support herself. In a novel that is not only funny but full of mystery and the whisperings of non start romance. With her mother missing presumed dead she sets about hiring not one but two detectives and the ongoing story that develops is priceless. If you like mystery this is a definite hit.

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Delightfully quirky read involving a mystery set in 1896, and a young woman working to understand the societal expectations at the time. Violet is a headstrong, witty heroine, with a knack for inquisitive pursuits. This book has heart, and complexity, while keeping a light airy tone of bemusement.

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This was a lovely read! It's fun and light, and Violets is developed in a way that makes us warm up to her quickly. The mystery weaves through the story at an interesting pace, and the "side quests" that Violet takes are entertaining. The portrait of the restrictions that women had were on point and yes, I was rooting for Violet to break them all! If I were to find a flaw in this book, I would say it's pace is a bit too steady: there's no ups and downs, things just keep happening, which is not a bad thing, just not what I'm used to.

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Tongue in cheek, funny, and such a wonderful read.

Violet Hamilton is presented various suitors over the years by her father, Violet doesn’t want a husband.
Violet has other ideas, and lots of them too. She knows her own mind.

The book is set in the late nineteenth century, in and around Hastings.
Violet has had a series of suitors over the years, and she has spent those times making sure they did not hang around. Putting off potential suitors from the start,
I found the book really funny, laugh out loud, a real tonic of a book. It’s light hearted, and I just loved Violets sense of humour. Her tongue in cheek style.
A little bit of history, and a bit of detective work thrown into the mix
Definitely a book I will remember, for all the right reasons.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an advanced e-book copy. Opinions of the book are entirely my own.

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Violet Hamilton refuses to marry, which is a little more difficult for a woman in 1896.

She aspires to be a lady detective and track down her missing mother. As an inexperienced young lady, she is prone to mishaps, dangers, and embarrassments. Despite everything, she stubbornly rejects all of her suitors. Still, she's not immune to men's charms, and perhaps someone special will soon turn her head.

A delightful book, full of wit and endearing characters. Violet is a driven young woman who wants to show the world that she is capable of achieving her goals.

A true pleasure to read.

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This book was a real treat to read. It was heart-warming, romantic and funny in equal measure and a brilliant debut from author Hannah Dolby.

Violet Hamilton is an unmarried woman still living at home with her father in late Victorian Hastings. She seems surprisingly naïve for a twenty-eight woman and this jarred at first but as I read on, the reasons for this became apparent and I just fell in love with her character.

Violet’s mother disappeared ten years ago and Violet decides that she needs to find out what happened so she engages a private detective. She doesn’t entirely trust him and so tries to engage another only to find that he has died and his son has absolutely no interest in carrying on his father’s profession.

Violet is nothing if not determined and won’t let Benjamin Blackthorn give up detecting so easily. She is also determined to find out more about life itself as well as her mother’s disappearance and this leads her into various situations, none of which end up as she expects them to.

I absolutely loved Violet. Her naivety is touching as well as amusing and her frustration with the social requirements of being ‘a lady’ feel very real. I loved Benjamin too as he gradually becomes involved with Violet’s mystery despite his misgivings. The supporting characters are brilliantly written too especially Violet’s father who is a typical Victorian man and comes across as completely unfeeling. However he has depths which we begin to see as he pursues his new relationship with the vivacious Mrs Beeton.

The mystery is well thought out and I loved the ending. The mixture of Violet’s character, the mystery and humour combine to make this a fantastic read.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers, Aria and Aries for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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So the main draw of this book is the mystery and feminist themes, and the book does very well in both aspects, it’s a well written mystery and the feminist themes are potent. Violet is a young woman from a proper family who is searching for her missing mother in improper ways. The twists in the mystery are properly hinted at and the reveals are satisfying.

The one thing I would’ve liked to have seen is Violet’s narration and thoughts being more stark and honest. Her thoughts are largely as polite as how she speaks to others, and I would’ve liked to hear her honest thoughts, and her speak badly of others.
Definitely worth checking out if you can though!

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This is such a fun cozy read. No Life For A Lady may be a cozy mystery and a slow burn romance, but it is also about a woman's path of self discovery. Violets life was shaped by her mother's disappearance, her father's desire for her to wed, and her mother's views on married life. After hiring a private detective, Violets romantic notions of truth, morality, and life as a lady are shaken, forcing her to reevaluate it all. The slow burn romance, the unraveling of her mother's past, and the insight into the mind of a Victorian English lady are so well done.

For fans of Enola Holmes who want to watch the birth of a new Lady Detective

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This is surprisingly delightful, and I rather hope it'll be the first in a series. There's the odd glitch (would they really have used the term 'share' in the way they do, at the time when it's set?) and the Redoubtable Narrator is slightly too reminiscent of Emmy Lake (the Mrs Porter series) but really, it's lovely.

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This was an ARC from Netgalley. This was a cozy mystery with good characters. It was fairly predictable but a good cozy read.

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A brilliantly funny historical with a unique heroine, I adored every word of this book. Violet Hamilton's mother disappeared a decade ago when Violet was 18, leaving her naive, young for her daughter with her emotionally repressed father. When a private detective's leaflet falls onto her mat, Violet decides it's time to find out what happened to her mother and by doing so takes her first step into independence. The further she gets on her quest, the more she realises her ignorance and how unworldly she is, the more determined she is to learn not just what happened to her mother, but about the world, a world that prefers its women ignorant and dependent on men.

Over the course of her adventures Violet finds herself visiting a brothel, breaking into a museum, spying on skinny dipping men, learning to type and, accustomed as she is to turning down the unsuitable suitors her father keeps pushing her way, attracted to a man. She also finds out that her beloved mother had her own secrets, secrets that have had repercussions for the unwitting Violet.

Hugely entertaining although with serious undertones, I really hope this is the first in a series because I for one am here for the continued education in detecting of Violet Hamilton.

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No Life for a Lady tells the story of Violet Hamilton, a 28 year old spinster by choice who wants nothing more than to solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance a decade earlier. Absolutely certain that her mother is still alive somewhere, Violet uses her savings to hire a detective to investigate the matter... and when that detective seems to be inadequate at best, Violet finds a former detective by the name of Benjamin Blackthorn and harasses him into taking on the case, as well as taking Violet herself on as a sort of detective-in-training. Book-smart but wildly naive, Violet finds herself immersed in a whole new world, doing things that finally give her life some meaning and struggling to fight off feelings for Benjamin along the way.

Cozy, hilarious, and exciting, No Life for a Lady is a perfect story to lose yourself in for an afternoon. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book!

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This book is hilarious! I absolutely loved this book. The tone throughout is spectacular. Feel good, historical, romance, mystery, pro-fem…with loveable characters and laughs? I will read ANYTHING this author puts out. This is definitely going in my favorite reads of 2023 list.

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A slightly quirky, fun period novel. Violet is a lot of fun to read about, she made me laugh a lot. This will make for a great summer read.

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This is an excellent book for any fans of cosy crime. As its title suggests, Hannah Dolby gets to grips with the constraints of living as a spinster in 1896. The protagonist Violet lives at home with her short tempered father, who only changes when he finds romance - but that stirs up all sorts of trouble for Violet who is already looking into the disappearance of her mother when she was 18, 10 years earlier.
Set in Hastings and St Leonards this book really shows off the location as we see Violet walking along the promenade and exploring Hastings Old Town. Will she find someone to help her find her mother? Or will she be able to do it herself, as she explores whether becoming a detective is the life for a Victorian lady.
I hope Hannah Dolby has a commission for more in this series as I'd like to see what Violet does next and as she enters the 20th century.

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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher/author for this ARC for an exchange for an honest review.

Really a great read, enjoyed it

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This is an historical fiction read which is set in 1869 where a young woman has the strength and courage not known to women in these times. Not wanting to marry is not heard of and wanting to find her mother who disappeared long ago is the only thing on her mind.

This is a book that drew me in from the start and I really enjoyed the great writing, the quirkiness of the story, the humour and the ease at which I read it. It is entertaining, has great characters, is a refreshing read but also has the intrigue and story of a wonderful book.

I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend as it is a book the will draw you in and and make you glad that you read it.

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No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolly

This is a delightful book which engages you more and more as you get into the story. It’s 1886 in England, so customs rule what young, single ladies are allowed to do. Violet, now 28 years old, does not want to marry, but wants to be a Lady Detective.

Curious about her mother’s disappearance without a trace, Violet hires a detective to help her find her mother. It’s been ten years, but Violet is sure she’s alive.

Violet’s growth throughout the story is heartwarming. It’s interesting to see the changes society and women have gone through since these times until now. Luckily for us, Hannah Dolly has written the story in modern language.

A solid four star novel for anyone liking a fun detective romp with many twists and turns, I thank #BloomsburyPublishingPlc and #NetGalley for this ARC for my review.

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Only the worst curmudgeon would fail to be totally enchanted by Violet Hamilton!

It's 1896. Violet, 28, lives with her father and is busy resisting his attempts to marry her off. Violet is underwhelmed by any of the candidates and has determined she will not marry. As the novel progresses, she realises that there are far more interesting things she could be doing. Like becoming a Lady Detective.

Her main goal is to find out more about her mother, who disappeared 10 years ago. But as a detective-in-training, there's plenty of demand for her skills and opportunties to hone them.

This is a wonderful, wonderfully-written novel. It's lighthearted but clever. Set in 1896 but with a sassy heroine with a modern style. It feels neither old-fashioned nor anachronistic. There's something of the Zuleika Dobson about Violet, but the real charm of this novel is in the story, plot, pacing and dialogue. It's funny and deceptively light.

I really hope this is just the first of many novels about Violet Hamilton!

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An absolutely brilliant book, I loved this story which had me laughing out loud at times. Cannot recommend this highly enough, just so good!
Violet wants to find out what happened to her mother who disappeared 10 years ago. She appoints a detective and then decides to do some detecting of her own. Violet is hilarious, and as the story unfolds the reader learns more about her and her family.
This is an engaging read ,with a mystery at its heart. The characters are well written and you find yourself really hoping that things work out for them. Violet is so funny, her little quips and the insights the reader gains into her thoughts are laugh out loud hilarious. A brilliant read I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

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4 stars / This review will be posted on goodreads.com today.


In 1896 a young woman is expected to marry young, behave like a lady, and pursue interests such as charitable work. An unmarried woman of 28 is considered a spinster, unlikely to ever marry, and certainly not expected to work. Especially as a detective. But Violet is not your average Victorian woman.

Violet’s mother went missing ten years earlier. Her father has avoided most any talk of her mother, and Violet has missed her terribly. While she knew her parents fought, she did not think that her mother would simply abandon her. Most suspect that she is dead. Violet is sure that she’s not. So she hires a local detective to look for her mother. Only he’s a smarmy man that treats her as though she’s brainless. Not what Violet expected.

When Violet finds another detective’s ad in an old newspaper, she chooses to approach him about taking over the investigation for her mother. Only he’s not so keen to do it, and in the meantime, Violet finds something else to fixate on - typing. Will Violet find her mother without jeopardizing her relationship with her father? And will she ever be taken seriously as a woman with ambition?

Along the lines of other books about quirky females, this one is a gem. It’s so hard to imagine in today’s world how restrictive life was for a woman in the 19th century. Women like Violet were not the norm - or at least not outwardly. This novel approaches subjects that would have been utterly taboo back then. It’s a fun novel, especially seeing how Violet has to carefully navigate her male-dominated existence. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

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Hastings 1896 and Violet is determined to resist her fathers attempts to marry her off. Instead of a husband Violet is looking for her mother who disappeared ten years previously.

Oh this was such a fun read! A refreshing and original take on the cosy crime novel.

What a great character Violet is. Not easy to be something other than what society expects today let alone as a lady of class in 19th century England, but Violet manages it. I loved how strong willed she was and not afraid to express an opinion even when it was getting her into trouble.

Though the book touches on serious topics it is shot through with humour and wry observations.

The writing is great, creating a really good sense of what life would have been like for a Victorian woman of Violets class.

Come along with Violet as she hunts for the truth about her mothers disappearance and makes her way in a man's world- it's a journey you won’t want to miss!

Thanks to Aria and Netgalley for the chance to read an early copy

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Definitely the next Dear Mrs Bird! It is a wonderfully joyful book. Like a big hug. Already been recommending it to my friends and family.

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Romance and mystery. Two elements I love which were pulled together nicely in this book. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book.

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This was one I enjoyed reading and loved the characters! I felt it was well written too. Thank you for the advanced copy.

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No Life for a Lady is a cute historical fiction mystery book that I was completely wrapped up in. I absolutely loved our main character Violet as she navigates being an independent ‘spinster’ and her determination to complete all the tasks thrown her way and unravel the mystery of her mother’s disappearance 10 years ago. This is an easy read which I found to be very heartwarming and enjoyable. Perfect for fans of cozy reads!

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A debut book from a new author.

This is a book to read if you enjoy historical fiction and a female detective lead storyline.

Thank you for the arc!

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