One of my weaknesses is historical settings set in or around the 1900s. I know the blame for this lies squarely on the shoulders of Julian Fellowes and a little drama called Downton Abbey. This is partial reason why the debut novel of Rachel McMillan rose up to be one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. Never mind its premise being completely different, it became the one novel I was 99.9% sure of 100% adoring. Helping to sell this educated guess of mine was the beautiful and swirly cover art that featured the old-fashioned art of silhouettes to say nothing of its gorgeous swirly font. As I turned the pages, within the span of 10-15, I was swept into Rachel’s Toronto and the fascinating historical setting of 1910.
STORY: Jemima Watts isn’t what anyone would call a rebel. She grew up a good girl and prepared to become a proper society wife and mother. At least that was the plan until she met Merinda Herringford. Merinda is the complete opposite of Jem. She’s opinionated, regularly dons trousers and refuses to play by anyone’s rules. Somehow the two girls get along swimmingly. Their friendship eventually takes them to being roommates and operating a consulting detective agency that Merinda frequently likens to that of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson’s exploits. When the girls stumble onto a string of unsolved murders, they find themselves in over their heads. But with the help of police constable Forth and the hot-tempered (but oh-so-swoony) reporter Ray DeLuca, they might uncover more than they bargained on finding.
The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, by Rachel McMillan | Book Review
If I were to keep this review simple, the one word that I’d pin on this novel is “delightful.” Fortunately, I don’t have to leave it at merely a one word acclaim because The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder is that and so much more. Readers who appreciate humor in their historical fiction will love this. Thrill seekers who enjoy historical time periods will find their fix inside these pages. Romantics will discover a chaste and swoon-worthy romance wrapped carefully inside the mystery. Given the book’s leading characters are women this novel does have a strong sense of feminism which is why some of the turns did take me by surprise. But I appreciate the balance Rachel gave the subjects. Her voice creates strong characters in Merinda and Jem and yet, the men in her story don’t (thankfully) receive ill treatment.
NOVELLA REVIEW | ‘A Singular and Whimsical Problem,’ by Rachel McMillan‘THE BACHELOR GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER’: SMART AND SASSY EDWARDIAN FICTION #FWarchives #HistoricalFiction Click To Tweet
When I look back on my blogging origins up to the place where I am now in this journey, one of the things I never anticipated is the chance to review novels of people who I’d “meet” on this adventure. Rachel McMillan is a popular blogger who many of us will recognize. As fellow book blogger Cassie aptly coins the description of ‘Bachelor Girls’ as “full of Rachel-isms” that will make readers giggle. Each layer this story adds is as captivating as the last. Even with a sense of “end” in the final page, you’ll wish the next chapter in Jem and Merinda’s adventures were at arm’s length.
Tempting as it is to say so much more, all I will say is this: go read this debut. You won’t regret it.
About the Book:
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Author: Rachel McMillan
Publisher: Harvest House
Source: Author provided E-galley
Publication Date: 2016
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Series: Herringford and Watts, book 1
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5
Sincere thanks to the author for providing a complimentary e-galley of this novel for the purpose of reviewing it.