Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Review: A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance


A Splendid Ruin

I just finished a wonderful historical novel by Megan Chance and I couldn't wait to start this post and review it for you.  The novel takes place in San Francisco before and after the historic earthquake of 1906.

Plot Synopsis

The story unfolds as May Kimble, whose mother has died, leaves New York and travels to San Francisco to live with relatives she didn't even know existed. When she arrives she finds her relatives living in luxury and she is introduced to a life she only dreamed existed.  Her cousin Goldie takes her under her wing and introduces her to society and everything about San Francisco.  Goldie helps her shop for a new wardrobe, introduces her to all her friends, and takes her to see the sights of the city.  For the first time May wears beautiful gowns and attends balls.

As the plot continues to unfold May sees that everything is not what it seems and she may be in real danger.  She wonders who she can really trust and must use her wits to survive a possible terrible future.  How will she escape?  This is a compelling novel that shows just what a human being must endure in order to survive.

Main Characters

This book is full of interesting characters.  Of course there is May who is a talented undiscovered artist. 

May's relatives the Sullivans are certainly interesting.  Goldie the cousin who is all about being in societies limelight.  Uncle Jonny  is so generous to May, but is there an ulterior motive?    Aunt Florence  is May's mothers sister.  Why is she so ill she cannot visit with May?  There are so many questions May wants to ask her about her Mother and Father.  In the Sullivan household are several servants and one in particular, Shinn, is a big help to May.

Other characters of interest include Ellis Farge, an architect who admires May's artwork and Stephen Oelrichs, an attorney and Goldie's former fiance. Then there is Alphonse Bandersnitch, a writer for the society pages of the newspaper.  Don't you just love that name?  Bandersnitch is not his real name and everyone is trying to guess his identity.  He does a great job of remaining anonymous even while attending all of the society happenings around town.


I could go on and on talking about the book, but I don't want to spoil it for you.  Let me just say it is full of mystery and intrique with lots of twists and turns.  I recommend this as a must read!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Reviewing Maids of Misfortune

A Victorian Mystery Taking Place In San Francisco

victorian houses san francisco
Victorian Houses In San Francisco
As I have started to read the book Maids of Misfortune, I thought it might be fun to review the book here on Review This. M. Louisa Locke wrote this book as the first in a mystery series that seems pretty promising for those of us who like a good mystery and enjoy historical fiction. 

In this first book of the series, we find ourselves in San Francisco, California during the Victorian Era. Our main protagonist is Annie Fuller who isn't exactly like most ladies of her time. She isn't amoral or anything but not quite up to those strict standards of social behavior of her time. Instead of doing needlework and delicate hobbies, Annie has to make a living on her own. Having been raised by her father she has skills in business and finance that just isn't deemed proper for females in the 1870's. 

Annie inherited a house in San Francisco from her aunt and has made it into a boarding house. Her husband left her penniless after having committed suicide and so the house was really a godsend. In order to make ends meet and to keep the boarding house in business Annie has a side job. Because she is a woman she can not open a business as a financial adviser, men just would not support her business. So, to get past that she disguises herself as a gypsy and pretends to be a clairvoyant. She calls herself Madame Sibyl and wears a dark wig and pale makeup to hide her true identity. Oddly, men and woman take her business advice (especially for the stock market) as a psychic but wouldn't consider taking the same advice if she offered it as a business woman. Oh the Victorians!

Annie has built up a pretty steady clientele as a psychic and has become fond of several of her regular patrons. Matthew Voss has been a weekly client for quite a long time and has done well with the advice that Annie/Madame Sybil has given him. Annie feels that he has also become a friend. So, when Mr. Voss is found dead in his home from poisoning something doesn't seem right. The police have deemed it a suicide but Annie just knows that can not be right. When Annie as Madame Sybil is questioned by Matthew's attorney she finds out that it seems that Matthew was pretty close to insolvent. 

Annie knows that the information about Mr. Voss is incorrect and that something is very wrong. She knows that he owned several successful stocks and had just sold quite a few of them in order to buy his partner's share of the furniture business that they owned together. Where are the stocks? Why is there no money in the bank or cash to be found? Annie and Nate the attorney begin to try to figure out who killed dear Mr. Voss.

This has been a delightful book to read. Annie is a woman before her time and I love how she and Nate work together under the Victorian social restrictions. I definitely will read more books in the series.

You can purchase this book in paperback form but you can also order it in digital form. Currently, the digital version is free for the reading. That may change in the near future but right now you can download it at no expense. Fun, huh?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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