Hello fellow bookworms 🌹I was fortunate enough to receive a digital copy of Deadly Curious through participating in the Xpresso book tour! I love a good mystery, especially if it’s set in historical times and has got a romance element so I really enjoyed reading Deadly Curious 😊For now, let’s get into what this book is about! If you click on the image down below you are redirected to the blog tour schedule, so you can check out all the other amazing posts!
CW’s: Violence, Death/Murder
by Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 23rd 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Young Adult
A twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen—with a dash of murder—Cindy Anstey’s Deadly Curious is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie.
Some secrets are better left buried…
1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London’s most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks–and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.
She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne’s brother.
As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case–with the help of a charming young policeman–she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.
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About the Author
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening, or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby. She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St, and attempted to speak French. Cindy loves history, mystery, and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.
I loved the exploration of a young women trying to become a detective. It’s all about Sophia Thompson, a young girl in the 1830s trying to start her career as a detective. Since her family has fallen a bit from grace, she’s not looking at many marriage proposals so she decides to take matters into her own hands and pick out a career to support herself. I liked her determination in making the best of her situation and learning as much about detective work as she could. Solving her cousin’s murder seems to be the best way to prove herself worthy – and one day joins the Bow Street Runners in London – so Sophia tries to make sense of the mystery, especially as it’s so personal. I really appreciated that the story showed the sexist prejudices that Sophia faces for choosing an ‘unladylike’ profession but still includes a lot of support for her. I prefer stories that don’t constantly remind us of sexism in society and instead have characters that face some drawbacks, but still make progress. Sophia’s father can sometimes come across as a bit patronizing, but he genuinely loves Sophia and even though he doesn’t understand her aspirations, he still helps her out when her uncle is being difficult. The same goes for Daphne. She’s Sophia’s cousin and calls for her to solve the murder of her brother. She trusts her to get the job done and is supportive of her new career, even though she doesn’t completely understand it. I loved the friendship between Daphne and Sophia, was both are different from each other and might not 100% get the other’s interests, but are still respectful of each other. Sophia herself is a very realistic portrayal of a woman in historical times who’s still caught up in the traditions and etiquette that was socialized but still tries to break free of them. I liked that she never looked down on Daphne for being more traditionally feminine, even when she has other interests.
I also liked Sophia teaming up with Jeremy. He’s the second character we follow along, so there’s an even split between his and Sophia’s POV. Jeremy is a Bow Street Runner – what Sophia hopes to become – and is sent to a hopeless case to prove himself. He’s very young, so he didn’t have many cases yet and as a newbie, he’s trying to establish his knowledge and expertise by solving a case himself. This is the one that might finally get him some acknowledgment so Jeremy is determined to show that he’s capable of being a great investigator. As the youngest son of a Baron, he needs to have his own career, as he won’t inherit his father’s estate. I loved that Jeremy and Sophia are united in trying to prove that they are good detectives, even though they come from vastly different perspectives. Jeremy’s got privilege as a man, though him being young often lets people think he’s not as competent. Meanwhile, Sophia struggles with a sexist society, refusing to accept a female detective. When both of them meet, they are immediately drawn to each other and begin an unlikely partnership, as they both want to find out what happened and secretly enjoy each other’s company. They were very cute together and I liked that Jeremy took Sophia’s aspirations seriously, though she sometimes had to remind him that she needed to see the more gruesome sides of detection to get used to them. I also quite liked how things ended for them => Spoiler (highlight words) I was frustrated that Sophia still wasn’t allowed to become a Bow Street Runner even after solving the case, but instead of being defeated, she is inspired to create her own detective agency with her soon to be husband, Jeremy, where they can solve crimes together!
I wish the book had been a bit more fast-paced though. I liked following along the mystery, but sometimes the pace of the story slowed down a bit and I was hoping for the main characters to do a bit more investigating. I know that they’re caught up in following traditions and everyday life, but I wanted more high-stakes missions to find out who the killer was. The mystery could have done with a bit more development because I did enjoy the deductions that we got to see, I just wanted more of them. Same with the romance, I liked Jeremy and Sophia working together but would have loved to see more swoon-worthy scenes between them. So everything taken together made the story a bit slower, especially as the writing was sometimes a bit more focused on telling than showing us things. I still enjoyed reading Deadly Curious, but some aspects could have been more fleshed out.
IN CONCLUSION. ➽ Deadly Curious was an interesting mix of historical fiction, mystery, and a little bit of romance. I really liked the exploration of a young woman trying to prove that she can be a good detective and the lovely team up with an attractive Bow Street Runner who values her input. I do wish that the mystery had been a bit more fast-paced and plot-focused though.
Are you going to read Deadly Curious? What is your favorite mystery or historical fiction book? 🌹