Reviews for A Breach of Promise, by Anne Perry

rebleejen's review

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Coincidence plays an even larger role than normal in this book, but you know what, it makes for a good story so screw it, I don't care. Also, I love when Monk goes Victorian Dirty Harry. Also, no spoilers, but the ending is worth an extra star all by itself. I am a sucker for that crap.

felinity's review

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At first, this seems like a strangely trivial case for a mystery series. A young man called Melville approaches Rathbone, asking for his help defending a breach of promise suit. Rathbone somewhat reluctantly agrees, but knows he can't possibly win - Melville won't give him any reason, and everything points to an understanding and a plan of marriage!

At the same time, however, Rathbone and Monk are individually coming to recognize the intangible benefits, as well as the costs, of marriage: in fact, Monk is contemplating it quite seriously.

Full of the little details that make Anne Perry's books so wonderful, including the Queen's fashion sense, as well as the vivid descriptions of life in India, architecture, and life plans. Each book tends to have at least one social theme, highlighting aspects of the time. Here we learn about the Indian mutiny and massacre at Cawnpore with such terrible consequences, affecting so many noncombatants; the innate sexism of the time, and even society's instance on beauty and horror of deformity. Each can be tragic, in a very different way, and each constricts people info conformation as best they can. I could write an entire essay on the social commentary, but I really mustn't...

Women are treated as hothouse flowers, determined to be fragile but beautiful, purely ornamentative and not to be troubled with nastiness but always protected so that the home may be a sanctuary. That sounds pleasant in theory, but in practice it - as Perry notes - leaves men who are troubled unable to share with their wives, creating isolation, unhappiness and greater stress.

This meant I cheered for Perdita! The relief of seeing her stand up for herself and Gabriel, and her impassioned defence of both Gabriel and Hester's view, was incredible. And Monk's defence of women's knowledge, pointing out quite rightly that they must understand mathematics to run a household, seems to be a turning point for him.

Hester doesn't want this, nor will she stand for it in others. The question is: Will Monk or Rathbone accept it in her? Do they value Hester for who she is, not what they expect? And which will realize it first?

divine's review

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It's all thanks to Booksale that I found this masterpiece. I've read this when I was in high school and you should take note that I'm a sucker for detectives and mysteries. (It's probably due to the insane amount of Nancy Drew books and Detective Conan episodes I gobble up) I've forgotten most of the plot but I still remember the thrill I felt when I read this book. A Breach of Promise skirts the story of an architect breaking off his engagement to a prominent woman. Well, that was the main event of course until a murder shifts the spotlight. William Monk is a cynical yet endearing character and it was really breathtaking when the answers were all laid out perfectly in the ending.