I LOVE Ella Shane!
What a beautifully cozy mysteryI The setting is interesting, the mystery solid, and the characters absolutely wonderful. These are people I look forward to spending more time with.
We are introduced to the mystery almost immediately. The story begins in New Haven, 1899, but quickly moves on to New York City. As it progresses, we get to know Ella, an opera star from humble beginnings, and those closest to her. Ella is kind, talented, self-possessed, self-educated, yet humble. She not only sings, she's an excellent swordswoman. If she wasn't as awesome as she is, I'd have a hard time choosing my favorite character. There's her Irish cousin Tommy, former prizefighter, who left boxing to become her manager. There's the outspoken, poker-playing Father Michael and Hetty, a rare, female reporter. Montezuma, the foul-mouthed parrot, is absolutely hilarious. There are still other endearing characters who add to the coziness of the story, but I won't list them all here. Of course, this romance fan is not about to leave out Ella's possible romantic interest, the gorgeous Gilbert Saint Aubyn, Duke of Leith. Every character bursts with personality, and you cannot help but love them.
The author sumptuously presents the cultural/societal atmosphere of the time. The story has a deliciously historical flavor, but the main characters are forward-thinking. It's the first novel I've read featuring an opera star, and I found that aspect to be very interesting as well. Of note, there's a subtle, beautiful dignity and morality to the book that match the fineness of the characters.
When you can spend time with characters you love, enjoy a solid mystery, sigh over a hint of romance, learn a little something, and overall feel uplifted by a book, well, that's saying more than a little something.
Thank you for a great read, Kathleen Marple Kalb. I look forward to more Ella Shane mysteries!
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It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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