Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway - Lady Helena Investigates by Jane Steen

Book Synopsis
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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My Review
When we first meet Lady Helena of Lady Helena Investigates, she has just lost her beloved husband, Sir Justin Whitcombe.  Her brothers and sisters have begun inserting themselves in her life and planning her future.  When she meets her husband's physician, Armand Fortier, she is shocked to learn that the doctor thinks her husband was murdered.  There is another mystery involving the tenant farmers on her estate ... and she is beginning studying herbalism as well.

I love historical fiction and especially enjoy historical mysteries.  I found Lady Helena Investigates to be an engrossing novel from the first pages.  Lady Helena is an intelligent, independent thinking woman in early 1880's England.  I really enjoyed seeing her thought process and watching her emerging independence over the course of this novel.  

I also found Armand Fortier a very interesting character, and I liked his interactions with Lady Helena.

The setting was beautifully done.  The author, Jane Steen, has done a fine job of creating a world at the estate and the surrounding village.  The period details were lovely.   I loved some of the old fashioned words and phrases related to herbalism and 1880's life.

The mystery was well done and kept me guessing!   I am glad to read that this is the first in a new series, because I already look forward to reading more.

I recommend Lady Helena Investigates highly for anyone who loves historical mysteries, Victorian manor house settings, and a smart, well written period piece novel.

Author Bio
Jane Steen was born in England and, despite having spent more years out of the British Isles than in, still has a British accent according to just about every American she meets.

Her long and undistinguished career has included a three-year stint as the English version of a Belgian aerospace magazine, an interesting interlude as an editor in a very large law firm, and several hectic years in real estate marketing at the height of the property boom. This tendency to switch directions every few years did nothing for her resume but gave her ample opportunity to sharpen her writing skills and develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

Around the edges of her professional occupations and raising children, she stuck her nose in a book at every available opportunity and at one time seemed on course to become the proverbial eternal student. Common sense prevailed, though, and eventually she had the bright idea of putting her passion for books together with her love of business and writing to become a self-published author.

Jane has lived in three countries and is currently to be found in the Chicago suburbs with her long-suffering husband and two adult daughters.

For more information, please visit Jane Steen’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two eBooks of Lady Helena Investigates by Jane Steen! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. 

Giveaway Rules 
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter. 
– Giveaway is open to US residents only. 
– Only one entry per household. 
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. 
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.  
Lady Helena Investigates

I received a copy of this book from Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours.