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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and absorbing
I downloaded this during a free promotion, and I'm so glad I did! Not only is it one of the best freebies I've ever read, it's also right up there amongst my favourite books of the year. The characters are so well drawn - historically accurate, but with enough contemporary relevance to bring this story fully to life. I hate it that I've finished the book, already I'm...
Published on 2 Dec. 2012 by Joanne Phillips

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual setting
And an interesting tale. 19th century San Francisco is well conceived and presented and the story ha satisfactory twists and turns. Perhaps a good editor would have tightened things up a little, but this is n author I will look for again.
Published 14 months ago by Ferdinand Po


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and absorbing, 2 Dec. 2012
By 
Joanne Phillips (Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this during a free promotion, and I'm so glad I did! Not only is it one of the best freebies I've ever read, it's also right up there amongst my favourite books of the year. The characters are so well drawn - historically accurate, but with enough contemporary relevance to bring this story fully to life. I hate it that I've finished the book, already I'm missing Annie and Nate and the world they inhabit, and I can't wait to download more of Lousia Locke's books. This is engrossing, satisfying, cleverly plotted, historically fascinating, and just downright well-written. Buy it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing historical tale, 17 April 2011
This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I loved the character of Annie Fuller from the first page. Already a widow at the age of twenty-six, she's been pushed around, mistreated, gone from wealth right down to destitution and still pulled herself back. As the story opens, we find her the owner of a respectable boarding house, enjoying the independence she deserves. And if I had to describe Annie Fuller in one word, 'independent' is the word I would use. Nobody tells this lady how to behave!

She augments her modest living by masquerading as a clairvoyant, specialising in business advice. It's the only way that men of the 1870s would accept financial guidance from a woman - a pity, as Annie is very good at it indeed. Then one of her favourite clients is killed. The police say it is suicide, but Annie is certain it was murder.

To make matters worse, a creditor of her dead husband's is trying to collect an old debt from Annie which she cannot pay. The only way she can avoid losing her home is to solve the mystery of Matthew Voss's death - and in the process find out what became of the assets he left to her in his will. Annie's a determined woman. With the help of the stubborn but loveable lawyer, Nate Dawson, there's nothing she won't do to learn the truth about the mysterious Voss family and the night that Matthew was killed.

I enjoyed the historical details in this tale, and the writing style is lively and easy to read. Its real strength, though, is the characters. They're believable, interesting, and they really do seem to be visiting straight from the 1870s. I'm looking forward to the next book from this author.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING & ATMOSPHERIC HISTORICAL MYSTERY, 22 Mar. 2011
By 
Eleni - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book in the new Victorian San Francisco Mystery series by M. Louisa Locke. In 1879 San Francisco, young widow Annie Fuller struggles to survive after her late husband left her penniless and in debt, with only a boardinghouse to provide her a small income. Although Annie is a financial genius, being a woman prevents her from finding work as a financial consultant, thus she creates as her alter ego, Madam Sybil a clairvoyant specialising in business advice. Surprisingly as Sybil, she becomes successful as it seems that men prefer getting advice from a fortune teller than from an intelligent woman who understands the economy. When her client and friend, Matthew Voss is found dead, Annie starts to investigate his murder with the help of the Voss family lawyer, young and attractive Nate Dawson.

This historical mystery is very well written and gripping and the atmosphere of 1870's San Francisco is excellent. The characters, especially Annie and Nate, are very well developed and likable. What I loved most however, is the very realistic way the author describes women of that period; apart from Annie, there are most 'stereotypes' of Victorian women, from the upper class housewife to the poor young maidservant. Annie in particular is a fine example of how difficult it must have been for intelligent, active women to remain proper and ladylike, and for proper gentlemen to accept them as equals. Also, there are some details of everyday difficulties women probably had to endure; my personal favorite was sitting gracefully for a picnic, wearing an 1870's dress.

In total, a great atmospheric mystery with well developed characters and fascinating plot. So far, there is also a short story; Dandy Detects: A Victorian San Francisco Story, and the second novel Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery, published in this series

A note on the Kindle edition: I only found a few errors and for some reason some sentences were underlined, other then that, it was extremely easy to download, and a pleasure to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good plot in need of editing, 16 April 2013
By 
Annie W "bookworm" (Aberdeenshire, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The plot is good, the historic atmosphere well-drawn, the comeuppance at the end satisfying, but the book is in serious need of editing and proof-reading. The punctuation is quite poor, with commas thrown seemingly at random at the pages, and no idea of when and where apostrophes should be used "the room behind her's"; "girl's High School": (only one girl?); "Its (It's) not jealousy..". "His fiance" appears at least twice, and I think it unlikely that in those days any man would be engaged to another man. Occasionally, tenses change, too, and there are some irritating repetitions of phrases within a couple of sentences of text.

Apart from our heroine, the other female characters appear to be merely stereoytypes: the spinster sister, constantly reading and quoting from the Bible; the wife from the South, soft-spoken, fluttering, and useless, and, as for the lady's-maid, I cannot imagine any mistress tolerating her airs and graces, mode of dress, or conduct for more than 24 hours.

All of that said, I do think the storyline interesting, and have already downloaded the second in the series. For me, much will depend on whether the editing and proof-reading have been improved in that one, because I hate obvious mistakes which distract from the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall very entertaining, 7 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
If the site allowed I would give 3.5 stars, but as it does not I will round up

The blurb for this book hooked my attention, and when I started reading I was instantly there in Victorian San Fransisco. The imagery was vivid and the plot enticing me to turn the page. I did feel it began to drag a few chapters in, a "big clue" would be found, lots of suppressed excitement, then it turned false. This was never enough for me to want to stop reading, though my sessions became shorter. Later on, probably a bit over half way it regrabbed my attention and held it to the end.

The writing was good, sometimes great, but the scenes concentrating n usual servant jobs didn't match up.

I enjoyed the book overall and will probably read the sequel
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 20 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading this book. The story was coherent, characters interesting and the historical background, as far as I could tell is accurate. It was also a pleasure to read a Kindle book so free from errors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sceptical clairvoyant, 12 Aug. 2012
By 
This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A very enjoyable, lengthy mystery, with a cast of interesting characters, and a well-plotted story.

Annie Fuller lives in a large house in San Francisco in 1879, which she has inherited. She supplements her income by posing as a clairvoyant called Madame Sybil, in order to give advice to members of the public. She uses her ability to 'cold read' people, and her understanding of the financial markets, to give advice to business people and others.

When one of her clients dies, apparently by his own hand, Annie is convinced he would not commit suicide, and investigates the case.

I enjoyed this story, which I found detailed and convincing. Several possible suspects appear, and the conclusion is very satisfying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical romance thriller, 6 Oct. 2013
By 
DJW13 (Exeter, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is a very readable historical romance which is also a thriller. There is a mixture of characters, although some of them are stereotypes. I enjoyed trying to work out who was the the villain, and there were enough red herrings to keep me guessing.

I must be reading too many e-books, as I seldom notice the editing errors that others pick up on now, unless they are very obvious, which in my opinion they were not in this book.

I look forward to reading another book by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think 'Murdoch Mysteries, this is heaps better..., 18 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I loved the way I was drawn straight into the life of Annie, a young widow running a boarding house and who mascarades as a clairvoyant to make ends meet. One of her clients dies and to all intents and purposes it looks like suicide, but not to Annie who find anomalies in the subsequent reporting of his death as well as vital business papers missing that lead her to suspect murder. Then she leaps on the trail even though she is discouraged at every turn because she is 'a lady' and this kind of activity is deemed as 'unbecoming' and thus frustrates her so. But she is unstoppable, knows her own mind and no one is going to tell her what to do...not even Nate, the lawyer who becomes involved in the case and against his better judgement it looks as though he'd like to get equally as involved with Annie (adding a bit of 'will-they-won't-they' to the overall storyline)

The story was enthralling and there were a sufficient number of red herrings and twists that made you think you knew who had committed the crime until another twist sends you off in a different direction. I am absolutely thrilled as an avid reader to have discovered M.Louisa Locke. Think Murdoch Mysteries and you will find Ms Locke's mysteries along similar lines but with a female sleuth, and heaps better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, 27 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (Victorian San Francisco Story Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. It's a whodunnit rather than a romance and it keeps you guessing until the end. I sometimes like to try and guess who the perpetrator is when reading this kind of book, but this story was so good I just let it lead me until the end. I was quite disappointed there wasn't more of it!
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