'In 1895, the height of the Gilded Age, the social elite spend their summers in Newport, Rhode Island. Within the walls of their fabulous "cottages," competition for superiority is ruthless...and so are the players...
During her first Newport seasons, Deanna Randolph attends a ball given in honor of Lord David Manchester, a Barbadian sugar magnate, and his sister, Madeline. The Manchesters are an immediate success--along with their exotic manservant and his fortune-telling talents.
But on the nearby cliffs, a young maid lies dead--and suspicion falls on Joseph Ballard, a member of one of the town's most prestigious families.
Joe humiliated Deanna when he rebuffed an engagement to her, but while he may be a cad, she knows he isn't a killer. Now the reluctant allies must navigate a world of parties, tennis matches, and seances to find the real murderer. But a misstep among the glittering upper classes could leave them exposes to something far more dangerous than malicious gossip...'
I typically read historical fiction set in England and so I have recently discovered that in Newport, Rhode Island in the late 1890's, it was quite the place to be. The Astors and Vanderbilts seem to have set the social standards and if you were not rich or met their standards, well life could certainly be difficult for you. With this in mind, Deanna Randolph has just been introduced into society. Her mother has set strict standards and is determined to make Deanna a societal success. Of course, her broken engagement to Joesph Ballard, hasn't helped the situation any. Deanna must deal with an overbearing mother in an already overbearing society. She decides that she will deal with the pressure by involving herself in a local murder mystery.
Deanna sets out to find out who is killing maids and why. She is determined that someone in her social circle is harming these girls and she knows that the laws necessary don't apply to the rich and entitled. Deanna soon finds herself watching people at social events and talking to the help to discover what exactly is going on. With a little help from Joe and her friends, she is determined to find justice for girls who normally don't have a voice. This book was absolutely fabulous. I simply couldn't put it down. I loved Deanna's character as she has a moral compass that sets her tone. She doesn't care what society thinks of her, she is determined to do the right thing at no matter the cost.
I loved this book. It was a great read from cover to cover and I found it to be very engaging and interesting. The mystery kept me guessing until the end and even had a little twist. I was a little shocked by the ending, but in a good way. I am so glad that this is the beginning of a new historical mystery series. I am looking forward to reading more by this author and I cannot wait to see what Deanna and Joe come up with next. I was utterly amazed by how well this book was researched and written. I cannot recommend it enough.
Overall Rating: 5+
Title: A Gilded Grave
Author: Shelley Freydont
Series: Newport Gilded Age Mystery #1
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get It: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Shelley Freydont is the author of the Katie McDonald and Lindy Haggerty mystery series, and the upcoming Liv Montgomery, Celebration Bay Festival Mysteries (Berkeley Prime Crime). She has written several romance novels under the pseudonym Gemma Bruce. Her books have been translated into seven languages.
A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.
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Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Great Escape Virtual Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review. and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.