Release Day Review: Lady Helena Investigates by Jane Steen

Lady Helena Investigates is a book that caught my interest on netgalley. A story about a lady sleuth set in historic Sussex, England. I like mysteries and I like period pieces, but while it’s a fun little mystery period mystery, it never fully kept my attention.

The plot
The story follows Lady Helena, a widow twice over as her second husband was found dead by the river. It seems married live is not for Helena. The question is… was it an accident or murder? Handsome,  mysterious French physician Armand Fortier has his own thoughts on this and doesn’t fail to inform us.

Alongside with dealing with the death of her husband, there are the meddling siblings and the mystery of her family’s history.

The writing
The technical writing of the story is not good, but not bad either. I didn’t find the writing engaging or flowing, but it wasn’t terribly bad either. There was a lot of repetition of some words and phrases, but I think this was to stress the point that we’re not in Kansas anymore.

The characters
There are some strong-willed characters in Lady Helena Investigates who never fail to voice their opinion. Helena is one of them. I did like her, even if she constantly changes her way of thinking.

I liked how she takes in the pregnant unmarried tennant against convention, but other that that I found her that mix you see with strong independent women who seem to always be the damsel in distress.

The other characters just blend in with the rest of the story. None of them, including the romantic interest, really stand out.

My opinion
I liked the story okay, but as already, said it just never kept my attention. This was because I just couldn’t connect with the characters. Despite the vivid portrayal of the setting of the story and the history, the characters are quite bland. I think the author delved too deep into the historic setting and not so much in the character development. I liked the mystery of the story well enough, the romance angle of the story between Helena and Armand was a bit boring for me.

It’s a fun little story and I’m interested to see how the author develops her writing and the character development in the story.

The was the first time I read anything by this author and while I was not disappointed, my thoughts are that that book is more for people who like her previous work.

Lady Helena Investigates Book Cover Lady Helena Investigates
Jane Steen
Mystery, Historic, Romance
Aspidistra Press
March 14, 2018
A copy was provided through netgalley

A reluctant lady sleuth finds she’s investigating her own family.

Step into Lady Helena Whitcombe’s world with the first novel in a series that will blend family saga and mystery-driven action with a slow-burn romance in seven unputdownable investigations.

1881, Sussex. Lady Helena Scott-De Quincy’s marriage to Sir Justin Whitcombe, three years before, gave new purpose to a life almost destroyed by the death of Lady Helena’s first love. After all, shouldn’t the preoccupations of a wife and hostess be sufficient to fulfill any aristocratic female’s dreams? Such a shame their union wasn’t blessed by children . . . but Lady Helena is content with her quiet country life until Sir Justin is found dead in the river overlooked by their grand baroque mansion.

The intrusion of attractive, mysterious French physician Armand Fortier, with his meddling theory of murder, into Lady Helena’s first weeks of mourning is bad enough. But with her initial ineffective efforts at investigation and her attempts to revive her long-abandoned interest in herbalism comes the realization that she may have been mistaken about her own family’s past. Every family has its secrets—but as this absorbing series will reveal, the Scott-De Quincy family has more than most.

Can Lady Helena survive bereavement the second time around? Can she stand up to her six siblings’ assumption of the right to control her new life as a widow? And what role will Fortier—who, as a physician, is a most unsuitable companion for an earl’s daughter—play in her investigations?

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