A review by Danielle.
Annie Fuller is a young widow living in 19th century San Francisco. After finally digging herself out of the debt her late husband amassed before committing suicide several years ago, by turning the large old Victorian her aunt left her into a boarding house, she receives a letter from one of her late husband’s more vicious creditors. The letter contains thinly veiled threats to take the boarding house in exchange for settling the debt.
Annie is also leading a double life to supplement her income, as a clairvoyant known around town as Madam Sybil. She specializes in domestic and business advice to set her apart from the other so-called mediums in town, and to be taken seriously. Annie’s favorite client Matthew Voss, a prominent business man in the bay area, is suddenly murdered and all his stock, bonds, and money go missing, unfortunately affecting Annie as well, when it is revealed by Nate Dawson, one of Mr. Voss’ lawyers that Matthew left her a railroad stock which Annie could use to save her boarding house.
Annie and Nate work together to find out who murdered Matthew Voss and stole all of his financial documents. As they get closer to discovering some real evidence, a key witness is murdered, throwing light and suspicion on both Nate and Annie. Now they must race time to find out who the real killer is to stop both their worlds from coming crashing down all around them.
Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke is an excellent book to read if you are trying to dip your toes into the historical fiction genre. Reading the descriptive settings of 19th century San Francisco was extremely interesting. This is first in the series and I cannot wait to read the second book. M. Louisa Locke does a great job of shifting the suspicion of the killer’s identity to multiple characters rapidly. I was never able to guess who the killer was and what motive they could have had for hiding the financial documents. The suspect pool was just too large and the reason for motive just too vague to fit anyone person in particular.
Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson are also excellent characters, both very strong willed and entertaining to listen to as they banter back and forth while they deny their feelings for each other. Nate is the perfect gentleman and Annie is not the typical demure young girl that was expected back then. Following both characters as their romance evolves while simultaneously trying to solve a great mystery is incredibly entertaining and makes for a great read.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
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