megan_by_force's review

Go to review page

adventurous lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75

shadowsiren's review

Go to review page

adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

louisv's review

Go to review page

adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

 I received an advance review copy for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

“I’m nothing but the illegitimate daughter of an actress, who spends her life pretending to be other people.”


DARING DUPLICITY was a fun and quick read, with cosy mysteries and a hint of romance. I really enjoyed that the mysteries weren’t that complicated, since my braincells weren’t ready to take a full on mysteries where I had to remember every member. On the other hand, what happens when that is the case, is that the characters besides the main character felt easily flat to me, hence why I couldn’t bring to care for many of them. The motives of the crimes felt short to me due this reasoning, and the romance moved a bit too quick for my liking. 

Stetson herself is an interesting main character to follow in this case and I did like her. The backstory with her parents was a nice touch that tied well into the story. I also liked that all the short stories were connected with each other and that the issues one gave, kind of continued into the next one, making the book feel whole. The other side characters and her love interests, however, felt also a bit flat, but nevertheless, I could see why they would end up together. 

In the end, it was a fun and quick read with elements I needed at the time and fun characters that made sense in the story. I do wished we got more feelings and less telling and that when the case was done there was one quick talk and that was less, but I do understand the decisions made. 

rivulet027's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Five novellas about a Victorian sapphic detective! That was all it took for me to want to read this book! Each mystery was entertaining and a fun light read. The author uses commentary on classism of the time period to ground the novellas in the world she is building for her heroine, Stetson. There are also two romances. I was worried about this at first, but I didn’t need to be. Jewel needs assistance uncovering a blackmailer in the first novella and she and Stetson start a romance which isn’t meant to last. The writing makes this clear. By the second novella the two have broken up, but Stetson meets Evelyn, who is her love interest for the rest of the interconnected novellas. While the affair with Jewel was full of passion and quickly built, made even more exciting by Stetson rescuing Jewel when she’s kidnapped, the romance with Evelyn is slow building and clearly meant to last. Stetson and Evelyn meet when Evelyn hires Detective Wellington (Stetson’s alter ego) to uncover the person who murdered her lover Sophie. So when they meet Stetson is still emotionally dealing with her breakup with Jewel whole Evelyn is grieving. This is dealt with deftly and in an ultimately satisfying way that doesn’t bog down the quick pace of the novellas. Jewel and Evelyn even met and team-up in the last novella!

There are also plenty of disguises and gadgets that Stetson employs to help her solve the cases that are brought to Wellington. The fight scenes are well-written and easy to follow and it was interesting to see how Stetson’s understanding of people helped her solve each case differently.

I received an advanced reader copy for free and am leaving this review voluntarily.

lastblossom's review

Go to review page

adventurous lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
Thanks to BookSirens for a review copy.

tl;dr
A collection of light, fast-paced mysteries threaded together with a slowly unfolding wlw romance makes for a fun afternoon read.

About
A set of five novellas, each featuring a different mystery solved by detective Stetson Goody, a woman in Victorian London who poses as male investigator Xavier Wellington. The five stories are woven together with a narrative about Stetson's personal life including her family and her romances.

Thoughts
The cover of the book promises "adventures of a lesbian Victorian detective," and everything past that fulfills the promise admirably. The story is broken up into five (six-ish) mysteries that Stetson solves with calculated efficiency. Mystery storytelling draws purposeful inspiration from Conan Doyle's work, each one disconnected from the others and quickly solved within the space of the novella. While we are able to follow Stetson's process, the reader is rarely privy to her internal thoughts, making each reveal a surprise for reader and character alike. Stetson employs a truly dizzying array of disguises to solve her cases, which adds an extra layer of fun to each adventure. The interludes about her personal life are more intimate, and paint a very endearing picture of a woman doing her best to figure herself out. The two women she romances are unique and interesting, and I am relieved that it didn't devolve into a messy romance triangle. (Even leaning into my favorite trope, "my gf and my ex are friends now.") Romance is mostly sweet handholding and kisses, with off-screen sexual encounters alluded to. Overall, a great afternoon read for fans of Victorian mysteries, sweet romances, or all of the above.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

annakr5's review

Go to review page

adventurous lighthearted mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.5

laurel00's review

Go to review page

fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

Wow, this was such a fun read! I had found myself stuck in a pretty strong reading slump the last month or so, and this was the absolute perfect novel to get me out of it. The formatting made for such a fast, yet entertaining book that I ended up finishing it within a day. I loved that each section presented one mystery, but the main character’s storyline followed through during the novel. It allowed me to really connect with her and her relationships, without it feeling overly heavy.

The characters were so loveable and I so wish to be like Stetson. If you’ve been looking for a lesbian Sherlock Holmes-style detective who is a total badass and also a total simp, then look no farther: this is the book for you. The mysteries were so fun to follow along, while also keeping you on your toes. The characters really showed moments of vulnerability, being sapphic women in Victorian-era England, which added an element of depth to the story.

There were definitely certain things that were glossed over maybe a bit too quickly, parts of the mysteries or the characters’ personal conflicts that could have been more developed. I do not think this was a huge issue however, as the fast pace of the novel is part of its charm, and is part of the reason that I am hoping we can eventually get a Vol. 2 of this series. I would absolutely recommend this book! 

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

oceanvvaves's review

Go to review page

adventurous fast-paced

3.25

This is a great romance book. The characters are lovely and the build up of the relationship is wonderful and well paced. Unfortunately I cannot say the same about the case solving part of the plot. The resolutions come too easy and rely too much on a coincidence. It just didn't feel very believable. But maybe it's mostly due to the format of the book since it's a collection of short stories. I'd love to read a book that focuses on a single case where Stetson struggles with finding the culprit or just something where the mysteries feel like the focus instead of breaks between daydreaming about girls or going on dates. Still, the characters are compelling and the universe author created has a lot of potentential. I do hope there will be a sequel. :) 

[I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.]
More...