My Historical fiction with mysteries and romance recommendations.

I fell into the Historical Mystery genre when I was about ten years old. I never really know how to really define the books that I read but I think Historical Fiction/Murder Mysteries that always have romance is a good description. Full disclosure: I will be going from memory for this list (some of these books I’ve read 3 or 4 times) so there may be some slight inaccuracies.

If you are looking for the perfect murder mystery series with Female Amateur Detective Main Characters and the best romances then take a look at this list!

Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters

I constantly rave about this series but I love it. The books follow Amelia Peabody who when we meet her is considered a spinster by Victorian standards (Near 30 and not married) and likes to think herself of a bit of an amateur detective. Amelia’s spinster status quickly changes and what follows are the adventures of Amelia Peabody and Emerson as they work as Archaeologists in Egypt. This series starts in the 1890’s and spans an epic 30 years following the life and family of the Emersons and Peabodys.

This series is perfect for people who love romances (there is two worth reading about in this book series), Egyptology, Ancient Egypt, Murder Mysteries, Victorian Society, Cats, Art Theft, Master Criminals, and an endless amount of family drama.

The Lady Grey Series by Deanna Raybourn

This series kicks of with Lady Grey watching her husband die in front of her at a dinner party. Lady Grey’s whole life changes when her husband dies and a private detective Nicholas Brisbane suspects murder. This book series starts off really strong and is set in a similar time period as Amelia Peabody (possibly a little earlier).

Lady Grey is a bit of a wallflower whose only role in life thus far was to be a good wife and run the household. This all changes as she decides to help with the investigation into her husband’s murder. You think romance might not blossom under these circumstances but think again!

One small point I will have to say the books do eventually get reduced down to Novellas so if you are looking for a satisfying conclusion to Lady Grey’s story you won’t find it unfortunately.

Vicky Bliss Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters

These books are written by the same author of Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries and are eventually linked with that series (albeit very loosely). This series has all the charm of the other one but is much more modern, starting out being set in the 1970s with a weird time skip to the early 2000s on the last book.

Vicky Bliss is an American art historian who works in a museum in Munich. All the murder mysteries are primarily based around Artefacts, Art and Fraud. The first book Borrower of the Night isn’t that entertaining but the series vastly improves with the introduction of John Smythe.

I won’t say much more but it is one of my favourite romances of all time.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

This book is different as it is directly set during Ancient Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut and while there is no “murder mystery” it is jam packed with court intrigue, politics as Mara becomes a double agent for Hatshepsut and contender to throne – Thutmose III.

Mara is a slave who is seen stealing one day and narrowly avoids a whipping from her master when someone decides to buy her and to make her a spy for the Queen.

In an unlucky twist of fate Mara was also spotted by Lord Sheftu the day she was caught stealing and when he bumps into her on a boat later he believes shes a runaway. He offers her the choice of spying for him or face death for being a runaway slave.

Mara is devious though and decides to play both sides to suit her and ultimately gain her freedom.

I loved this book despite the historical inaccuracies (the book is 70 years old and I don’t think the information we have now on the life of Hatshepsut was available back then).

Veronica Speedwell Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn

Like seemingly most Historical Mystery books this series is also set in the Victorian Era. This book follows Veronica Speedwell, lepidopterist (someone who studies butterflies) and self-declared spinster. This series starts of with the mystery of Veronica Speedwell’s heritage and introduces Stoker – disgraced Natural Historian, Ex- Naval Surgeon and former adventurer before a mission went badly in Brazil.

Stoker becomes Veronica’s partner in crime and together they solve mysteries and work within the Natural History profession. Wildlife has a huge focus in this series which I loved but at the moment I have only read the first two books!

Please let me know any books you would recommend for me based on these suggestions!

That book series I recommend to everyone.

It is criminal some of the books that get completely ignored compared to some that make millions. I think everyone has that one book/book series that they absolutely adored but no one has ever heard of.

For me that book series is Amelia Peabody’s Murder Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters and I recommend it to pretty much everyone all the time.

This series spans an epic 19 books and roughly 30 years but I promise you, you will never get bored. If I had to describe this series I’d say it’s a bit like The Mummy meets Downton Abbey but any nice garden tea party is ruined by a murder.

The series starts in 1890s and is mainly set in Egypt and England. To describe the whole series is difficult without spoilers but there’s a lot of in-depth Egyptology, archaeology and a whole lot of crimes committed.

My reasons why you should read this series:

Egyptology/History

The author had a PHD in Egyptology guys. If you LOVE archaeology, ancient history or and Egyptology in general then picking up these books is definitely worth it. There’s a lot to be learnt even if the focus isn’t on modern day but how it was done at the turn of the century.

Romance

This series has hands down two of the best romances I’ve ever read. The kinda romances that are equal partnerships. If you love romance then you can definitely pick up this series.

The perfect book boyfriend

When you think ideal fictional man most people come up with Rhysand or Will Herondale etc etc. Everyone is wrong because the best example of the perfect book boyfriend is in these books.

Mystery

If you love guessing who dunnit? And why these books are perfect for you. There’s always some crime being committed by someone or other. Trying to guess who the murderer is, is one of the best parts about reading this series.

Let me know if you do decide to buy this series or your thoughts if you’ve read it already

Book Review: The First Dance by Catherine Law

Synopsis

A spellbinding tale of mysteries and secrets and a love that will last forever

1924

The First World War is over and eleven-year-old Alexa is growing up on the idyllic Cornish coast with her best friend Harvey. But she soon discovers there are secrets at the heart of her family that have been hidden for years. 

1931

Alexa flees Cornwall for the intoxicating city of Venice. But her new glamorous life is not what she hoped for and, with dark shadows closing in on her, Alexa will question everything she thought she wanted . .

Publication Date: 22nd March 2016

This is a story about grief, how it changes you, how it can tear people apart and eventually bring them together. If you are looking for a mystery this isn’t one, there no hidden secret to be unravelled, no secret past to be explored. Any hint of mystery is explained away pretty early in the book, before you would even think to ask the question you know the answer. This book was as engrossing as it was depressing but I do think the synopsis is very misleading.

I immediately felt bad for and empathised with the main character Alexa, she’s told to be quiet and sit still and is never allowed to express herself, which leads her to shut herself off from the world. She feels like a stranger in her own life, and everyone around her doesn’t really take the time to understand her. When she finally flees Cornwall in my view its perfectly understandable as to why she makes this choice. Some of the choices she makes later are questionable but I guess this is a story about a girl coming of age and finding out what she wants in the world so she is allowed to make questionable decisions.

I loved the descriptions in this book, particularly of not just the majestic landscapes and enchanting cities but also the little things like the buttons in the box. The characters for me were a bit lacking particularly Sarah was very obviously the infatuated poor girl hopelessly in love with the local rich boy who has eyes for someone else. At one point I felt like I was reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles when Guy was introduced, he was very clearly the bad guy love interest who was going to teach Alexa a difficult life lesson.

I think the depressing nature of this book was what let it down for me in the end. I’m not against a heart wrenching story but I felt it was a bit much for me as far as this book was concerned. There was so much grief and sadness from beginning, middle and end and I think it definitely took away from my enjoyment. I would say this book is a slightly predictable story of a girl learning to deal with grief and the choices that she makes but it lacked the feel of a romance.

DISCLAIMER: I was given this eARC by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Book Review: The Queen of the Night By Alexander Chee

Synopsis

From a writer praised by Junot Díaz as ‘the fire, in my opinion, and the light’, a mesmerizing novel that follows one woman’s rise from circus rider to courtesan to world-renowned star Paris, 1882. Lilliet Berne is a sensation, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her still, one wants only to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all. As Lilliet mines her memories for clues, she recalls her life as an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept up into the glitzy, gritty world of Second Empire Paris. In order to survive, she transformed herself from circus rider to courtesan, from empress’s maid to stage ingénue,all the while weaving a web of passion and intrigue. Will the truth secure Lillet’s fate – or destroy her with the secrets it reveals? Fifteen years in the writing, The Queen of the Night is a literary tour de force that is also ferociously readable. A blazing tale of lust, ambition, betrayal and revenge, it will captivate readers right up to its final electrifying denouement. 

Publication Date: 22nd February 2018

My thoughts..

The Queen of the Night is an epic tale of death, betrayal, fortune and lust that was as engrossing as it was overwhelming. The mysterious life and rise of Lilliet Berne is intriguing, dangerous and at times tragic but most of all fascinating.

Lilliet’s life is made up of a series of fortunate and unfortunate events that makes it seem like she is not in control of her own destiny. I found this approach not only refreshing but also realistic for the time period. She deals with what life throws her way the best she can and while she is often manipulated by more powerful individuals I don’t think it detracted from her character. Lilliet has a more quiet strength and resilience about her which I found made her very likeable.

The level of detail in this book meant that I was a given a thoroughly in-depth insight into a world I knew nothing about, but it also made this book a lot denser than I found strictly necessary. For example the page long list of furs the Empress owned I just skipped right over and I got lost in the sometimes too detailed explanations of opera performances. I can however appreciate what the author was trying to do and some of the aspects of the book I struggled with I know a classical music lover would love.

I did find that I was at all times reading with a kind of remote detachment. I think this is because partly Lilliet Berne as a narrator is seemingly fairly emotionally detached from events herself. I think this was partly in a way to protect herself from the tragic events from her past but as the story is told through her eyes I found myself adopting the same stance. This book had high drama and tragedy and intrigue and betrayal but it felt like someone had turned the volume down. The story felt muffled, it was as if I was wearing a blanket and didn’t know how cold it was outside.

*I received a digital review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own*

4/5 stars