Originally posted on my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
Oh my goodness. What an AWESOME surprise this book was. I really had no expectations going into this novel. All I knew was that it was a murder mystery. I devoured this book in two sittings during a car trip out of town. This novel was a huge sleeper hit for me.
There were SO many things I loved about this novel. Firstly, it brought me back to the old Gothic novels I had to read during my college years. I LOVE that old Gothic feel and this book was totally of that vein. Once in a while, I love a book that uses words that brand new to me. This book was chock full of them. I love highlighting the word on my Kindle and discovering what they mean. I'll list just a few of the new words I learned, thanks to this book.
"Stentorian"- Loud and powerful
"Plebeian"- Belonging to or pertaining to the common people
"Obstreperous"-Unruly, boisterous, noisy
See?! Now wasn't that fun? So not only was this novel a great read, but I actually learned a whole slew of new vocabulary! Now onto the other things I adored about this novel. From the very first line of the novel to the end, the main character, Geraldine is a lovable character. She's proper, yet sassy, smart and intriguing. She has a mysterious past that is immediately obvious and the way it is written makes the reader very interested in figuring out just what it is. I absolutely loved the mixture of Geraldine and spunky old Mrs. Stubbs. She is a riot. She reminds me of my grandmother. Patterson brilliantly weaves their personalities together to form quite a genius friendship between the two. I also loved the depth to all of the characters. Patterson really took the time to develop not only the main characters, but the minor ones as well. Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield showed up for a select few pages, but in those few pages, I was able to know exactly who they were and the type of people they were. The amazing thing about this novel (well, it goes back to the old Gothic era of murder mysteries) is that it's set almost entirely in the Stubbs household. A couple brief passages outside of the house happen, but it's crazy that an entire novel can take place in ONE setting. That speaks volumes about the craft and skill of the writer. The writing was superbly done, fast paced, witty and truly kept me guessing "whodunit" for quite a while.
There really wasn't that much to complain about in this novel. The thing I loved was actually something that annoyed me after a while. Although I LOVE learning new words, after a while, seeing so many big and unnecessary words to describe things got a little annoying. Towards the end, it almost seemed like the author was doing it just be a little smug with her use of language. The other thing that sometimes brought me out of the novel was that some dialogue and situations seemed completely out of place for the time period. At one point, a character calls someone "dude," much like teenagers do today. It completely threw me off for a minute. The main issue I had was that for the time period that this book is supposed to take place in, it didn't match up with over-arching themes. The theme of domestic abuse comes up, and while I agree with the stance of the characters in the novel, I don't believe men and women in the actual time period would feel the same way.
Overall, this was a really fantastic read. I'm genuinely surprised with how much I enjoyed this novel. I highly recommend it for fans of the old Gothic novels, fans of murder mystery and anyone just ready to read a fun, well written novel.
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own