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No Life for a Lady: The absolutely joyful and uplifting historical romcom everyone is talking about

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Agnes, one of those unique people, earned her place in the New Mexico Museum as a historian who knew and understand a way of life was changing and would be lost if not captured. Eventually it picked up in the second half and I liked that Violet was more of an active character in the second half.

It’s the kind of book that you read too fast and race to the end, only to then wish you’d slowed down and savoured the pages more. She’s also rather naive although, to be fair, that does lead to some laugh out loud moments, such as Violet’s errand on behalf of a Mrs Monk, the same lady who corrects a few of Violet’s misapprehensions about ‘marital intimacy’.

Through her life experiences and that of her family members she documents travel by horse and wagon, living on the frontier with Indians, more times than not friendly Indians though close by evidence existed of not so friendly times, being sent east to be educated, what a balanced diet consisted of, the availability (or not) of medical care, the arrival of the trains, cowboys wearing 6 shooters up through the 1930s, cattle and sheep ranching, the arrival of "farmers," and so much more. The more clues are being discovered, the more unsure Violet is about the investigation and the detective. A Victorian era mystery and a humerus coming of age story all rolled into one narrative and Violet is a rather inquisitive and funny character.

I sadly didn't find this quirky or clever, nor did I find the story to be "fabulously funny" or have "lashings of mystery" as claimed in the editorial quotes. Finally, Violet is trying to decide if her decade-long determination to remain a spinster has been more fuelled by fear than her inability to fall in love. 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.No life for a lady is an engrossing historical mystery with a wonderful cast of characters (trust me, you want to meet Maria Monk, a former courtesan and an occasional sex-ed teacher) and a compelling storyline. I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in but I was in a ‘just go with it’ mood and found that this story, while slow in places, was enjoyable and had something for everyone. While I don't think I can ever hope to understand the totality of this part of the world that I love, I still find myself drawn to resources which capture it throughout its changeable history and give me a glimpse into others' experiences across space and time. So while I enjoyed this and recommend it as a fun, quick read for your next rainy day, I wasn't left overwhelmingly satisfied at the end.

Her father had survived the raid to become, at an incredibly early age, chief construction engineer of the young Santa Fe railroad. She has no intention of becoming any man’s property and the thought of what goes on in the marital bedroom – from everything she’s been told, which admittedly isn’t very much – fills her with dread. Dolby’s manuscript for the book was the runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print awards, and there are plenty of fun scenes, the writing’s witty, but there’s plenty to think about too. Her reminiscences make vivid the everyday details of the cattle industry from the earliest years of the open range. As Violet deftly dodges the prospective husbands that Lucas parades before her, while trying to (rather badly) run a household, she learns of another detective in town.

This particular author is new to me but it sounds like she has written a number of Regency romances but from a smaller publisher and it looks like she has quite a fan base established and I am super excited to share more about this upcoming series with you guys today! There’s a good deal of humour in this tale, as well as a cute twist, a very dramatic climax, and plenty of scope for further stories featuring this cast.

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