Death Below Stairs has at its center a cook from Victorian Era named Kat Holloway. Recently hired as part of Lord Rankin’s household in London, she finds herself immersed in a murder mystery. Set to solve the killing of her kitchen maid, Kat turns to the resourceful Daniel McAdam, who is more than meets the eyes. With the help of a mathematical genius and Lord Rankin’s eccentric sister-in-law, Kat and Daniel will soon found out that the household murder was the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger plot against Queen Victoria.
Death Below Stairs – My Opinion
When I requested this book, I only skimmed the book’s summery. I read “murder,” “Victorian Era,” and “young cook Kat [woman]” and that was enough for me to get hooked. You can imagine the surprise I had when I realized that there is more to the murder.
First, I fell in love with Kat’s voice as a character. Her background story was unexpected. She is an ordinary woman with an unfortunate past. The overall cast of characters was intriguing. We have the eccentric woman who was born in the wrong era, the nice and work-absorbed mathematician, the rebel teenager, and the man with all the answers, Daniel. Danial was a total mystery however, I have a slight idea about what he might be. No spoilers.
Kat is smart, independent, and hard working. She has her mind set with a realistic view of the world even though her heart fancies a guy. The only person she relies on is herself. As a a woman in that time period, Kat works assiduously to be acknowledged by the pompous society. Although, she is not afraid to challenge the authority when something is wrong. As a mother figure character, Kat feels responsible for the kitchen girl’s death, thus, her courage and determination put the cook in dangerous situations.
Despite the lovely characters, the pacing of the story had a bit of an issue. The narrative was executed strangely. We are halfway through the book and merely anything happens. There is too much description of food making which feels like page fillers than part of the actual story. I know what you are going to say next, “But, wait! Isn’t she a cook?” And my follow up answer will be something like, “Yes. Yes, she is. Although, we have a murder which is tied to a plot that might threaten the queen’s life and only 50 percent of the book is dedicated to that.”
The major scenes are rushed and unpolished. It first starts as a a slow burner book then the narrative accelerates and you try to keep up. Some unfolding of events seemed improbable due to lack of development space. The murder is brushed to the side as a subplot, despite the book being called Death Below Stairs , putting the book in a precarious position. I wished the murder had a bigger role in the plot.
The ending, though… Let’s just say that it was explosive and it saved the book for me. Wink.
Overall, I gave this book a 3/5 stars on Goodreads. Death Below Stairs was somewhat my cup of tea and I am tempted to read the next book in the series. Also, I would like to thank you Penguin Random House for the ebook arc in exchange for an honest review.
This is my sole opinion. ^_^
Until next time, feel free to check my latest posts:
Book SynopsisA DEAL WITH THE DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.
…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for… A Lady’s Code of Misconduct – Goodreads
4.5/5 stars.Love. Politics. History. Conspiracies. Conflicting morals. Deceit. Redemption. And hot-bad-boy guy with a secretly good heart… and a hot-good-of-heart girl with lots of brains and a rebellious spirit. There are lots of “and’s” in my last sentence… I know.Something I was not expecting in this story was the politics driven plot intertwined with a love story. Although, the surprising part is. That. I. Freaking. Loved. It. I was expecting to get bored and forced myself to finish the book. That was so not the case. It was exactly what I needed: A good romance story which is not too focused on the romance part. Oxymoron right there.The beginning is what hooked me up in the first place. Not too fast and not too slow. Our beloved characters were in positions where they will do anything to get what they desire. This leads to an unlikely alliance to form between the desire of freedom and power which sparks the chances of a new beginning for our protagonists.Jane and Crispin go through a fantastic character development. They realize that people are not completely good or evil. You just have to choose which side to use more but most importantly how to find a balance between the two. Speaking of character growth. I was not a big fan of acknowledging someone as being two persons in the same time. It was like the author was trying to say Crispin had a split personality… I understood where she was going with it… But it still felt a bit cringe worthy at times.What I admired the most in this story was the sense of a real partnership between the main characters. And believe it or not is quite rare these days. It was not about sexual lust and how it can lead to a good relationship in the end… It was so much more than that. It was… How do you say it? Complicated. Yes. Complicated.Of course, most people might get turned off by the plot focused on politics which is understandable if you are not a big politics fan – like myself, I could say. However, you might also surprisingly find yourself enjoying the book just… like myself. 😀All in all, I could proudly say that this was my cuppa tea. One of my all time favorites – romance section – I dare to say.This is my sole opinion. ^_^I would like to say thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.Genre/Category: Adult, Historical Romance, Fiction, Politics, MysteryLanguage: none to mild, maybe noneSexual Content: well… heavy but within reasonViolence: moderateDrugs and Alcohol: mild to moderate
P.S.I would like to read your thoughts, feelings, and opinions about this book and if you want to read my last book review you can click –> HERE <– or you can check my previous song pick post –> HERE <–.See ya in my next post!
This post may contain SPOILERS!
You have been warned!Pub. Date: April 4, 2017
Book SynopsisFormer FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec—Kendra’s confidante and lover—has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.
Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn’t quite what she’d made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past—which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London’s seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover’s life.
As the noose tightens around Alec’s neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London’s glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm—and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed. A Twist in Time
My Opinion4/5 stars.The second instalment of Kendra Donovan book is going to hit the stores soon. I will try to keep my review as spoiler free as possible. Although, while reading this review, keep in mind that this is the second book in a series thus spoilers are inevitable.A Twist in Time jumps directly into the action. No more story building and no more major character introduction. Murder. Action. Story begins.
Compared to the first book, this one has a better start. The reader is hooked right away.
The themes past meets future and future woman living in the past continue to be explored by the author.In this book, there are lots of badass scenes with Kendra. Let me tell you, this woman has guts! No joke! Although, it is very interesting how society perceives them. Yeah, in the society’s mind Kendra is only for décor. Sad! I know. Also, throughout the story we read how society’s believes influences the individual’s believes about itself. But, there is more to the eye. People from high class care more about pretense than their wellbeing.
On the other hand, let’s not forget that the nobles are only the minority. So, we get a glimpse to the real ordinary people where the societal standers are not as respected as the minority (the nobles and their close servants) group thinks. “Normal” or “ordinary” humans – whatever you want to call them – care about their everyday life and not some stupid norms.The battle against women stereotype and women who believe that stereotype is so prominent here. If you are too unique you are an oddity or a freak. Men are portrayed like they want to stay out of womanly conflicts. The author touches the subject indirectly about how men have to be manly and women have to be feminine in the 1800’s. Equal but divided. I saw that in the duke when Kendra was having a conflict with the duke’s sister. And if you remember from the first book, the duke is the most open minded character in this series. Alec, on the other hand, is a different story. Kendra has a strong influence on him and he gets a modern perspective of life. At some point, he is quite mesmerized about how his mindset has changed because of Kendra.
Kendra is still having a inner struggle if she should return to the future/present time or not. The past continues to terrify her but this time is more about society norms and its way of thinking than the physical benefits of the 21st c. Although there are lost of differences between the 19th c. and 21st c. -obviously, the author does not fail to briefly touch the subject that the past is not, in some ways, different than the present. And believe it or not, I appreciated that aspect because she is right.The murder in this second book is emotional and intriguing. Our murder victim is a bad person and the controversial question, “Does a bad person deserves justice also?” is toughly explored.
The murderer happens to be in plain sight and it can be anyone even your closest friend. I was not able to figuring out the murder in this one because I was reading during a sleep deprivation period. Hahaha. Probably, I needed a cup of [black] tea. 😉I consider this book to be a light murder mystery book great for newbies of this genre.This is my sole opinion. ^_^Feel free to check out my review on the first book, A Murder in Time, <–here.I would like to say thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Language: moderate to heavy-ish
Sexual content: moderate to heavy (most of it ties with the murders)
Violence: heavy (it’s a murder mystery)
Book SynopsisBeautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.
While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.
Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman. A Murder in Time
My Opinion3.75/5 stars.I know you usually do not start a conversation with “so” but just stay with me would ya?So… I got my eyes on this book since last year when it was chosen for mystery/murder book on OverDrive. I borrowed. I kept it for 21 days and did not read it. Classic me. (For those of you who are not familiar or do not know about OverDrive, it is a website – and app – where you can also use your library card to borrow books, audiobooks, movies etc., if your library is affiliated with OverDrive.)Recently I got my hands on the eBook and trust me when I tell you that I had this baby for months on my Holds list. Yeah, that high was the waiting list for this book.Anyway, I am glad that my waiting was not in vain and the book did not disappoint. The binning was rather slow in my opinion, except for the prologue – or chapter 1, I do not remember exactly – which was creepy and got me hooked. Yes, the first seven or so chapters where a pain in the bottom to read through. After that, the book got better and better.The writing was easy to follow and understand. It flowed nicely and every detailed clicked in place.I was able to connect with main because I would react the same way if I was trapped in time/past. Finally, I encountered someone with real thoughts about time travel. Despite the romance, she knows she does not belong and the potential thought of being trapped in 1815 forever terrifies her. I mean who wouldn’t be? Especially a woman. I will go nuts without my life conditions and the ability to be who I want to be despite people’s opinions, trends, and fashion. I want my pants, my modern shoes, modern undergarments, present medication… What am I talking about? I want present everything. I mean it is not perfect but it is better than 1815. I know. I know. I know I sound selfish but so would you, trust me. And no amount of love would convince you otherwise because only death is certain in life.Ok… That’s too much of a serious topic for this book review. Ha-ha-ha! Or is it?Moving on…The romantic aspect did not captured the whole attention of the book. It was slow burning and realistic. Alec is a very fine future duke if you ask me. Another small detailed, which was under tuned in the book, was the Greek mythology. – Loved it! – If you read the book you would know what I mean.The author’s does a great job of keeping things real and not having the “character protection instinct”. My brain was in the full Sherlock Holmes mode and I was able to figure out the murderer because I was paying attention to the details. Although, I was still surprised when it was revealed because there is a twist. But I was still right!!!
Don’t judge me! :))
Now let’s move on to the stuff I did not like in the book.
For a main character who is a genetic prodigy from FBI, Kendra is not as calculated and does not show the self-control I was expecting from her. Because she used with the modern times, sometimes she appeared naïve and too confident with a killer on the loose. At some parts, Kendra herself and her actions were accepted rather quickly by the people in the 1800’s. She also expects full trust from the people who see her as a stranger. Oh! For a smart person, she did not recognize that she fits the pattern. Either that or she did not care. But that was the feeling I got from the book. I know that Alec points that to her.
Another down was that the author focused on a handful of suspects making it quite easy to guess the killer. At least from my point of view. She was not vague enough. I don’t know my previous experience with mystery-detective novel is the Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith (books 1-3). So, my comparison range is very limited. SPOILER – I am still amazed that I was able to find the single word which clues who’s the main killer 🙂 – END of SPOILER.
Now, there is another character who acted out of character in my opinion. 🙂 Small Spoiler – April is a prostitute business woman. She owns a brothel and she runs it too. But when it comes up to meet with a killer, she does not cover her a-s-s. Really? Woman, you should know better! – End of Spoiler.I am not an expert in mystery-murder novels. And, in my opinion, this book is a good starter for this genre. Who knows? It might be your cuppa tea! 😉 I definitely enjoyed it.I know this has been a long post. So, look! Jimmy Fallon dancing bellow!This is my sole opinion. ^_^Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Language: moderate to heavy-ish
Sexual content: heavy (most of it ties with the murders)
Violence: heavy (it’s a murder mystery)