Most helpful critical review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wobbly start, but I'm glad I persisted.
on 17 March 2014
The prose style is clunky at the beginning, and to be honest it never rises above serviceable, but after a few chapters it became less jarring and I was able to focus on the story and character. Frances is an extremely likeable heroine; she's clever and dutiful, not overly emotional, and she has a profession.
She turns to detection to protect her father's name and reputation, and employs her brains and a terrier-like persistence. I really enjoyed the persistence aspect - she approached the case from a number of different angles, worrying away at it, searching out answers in all kinds of different places, using all kinds of methods.
She also becomes interested in the women's suffrage movement, which was rather nice to see - a lot of novels set in historical time periods tend to treat them as static set-pieces, so it was nice to see characters being invested in change. I thought, too, the story did a nice job of balancing a "modern" perspective with the mores of the era, Frances remaining very much a woman of her time but with ambitions that a modern audience can sympathise with. Overall, I thought the novel had a great period feel. I've never thought about pharmacies or pharmacists in the Victorian period, and I really enjoyed reading about it.
The mystery was a little over-complex - a few weeks later I can't actually remember who was guilty - but I very much enjoyed the book and will be continuing to purchase books by this author.