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Lady Odelia’s Secret

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Lady Odelia’s Secret (2022) Jane Steen (Lady Helena Investigates)

Lady Odelias SecretSet in England in 1882.

I read the first book, Lady Helena Investigates, soon after it came out, and was disgruntled when there wasn’t a sequel.

Until a couple weeks ago I stumbled across the second book in the series. HUZZAH!

Lady Helena is a widow, yet she is still often called her childhood nickname by her family (Baby), and sometimes still feels like she is treated as a child.

Loyalty had prevented my sisters telling me about my father’s affairs and their effect on Mama.

This is as much an historical novel as it is an historical mystery. Helena is finishing her first full year of mourning, and trying to determine what she might want to do with the long future she has ahead of her.

“I’m torn, O. I want to be Justin’s wife forever— but how can I be if I become someone else’s? And yet, if I remain loyal to Justin, I’ll be alone forever. And I don’t want that.”

“(N)ow I must be alone until I can be sure who I am and what I want. I feel as if I was born as a new person the day my husband died, and until I know who that person is, I can’t know whether she wishes to bestow her hand on anyone in particular.”

I also really loved the little bits of life.

The second Sunday service at St. Michael and All Angels saw us neatly arrayed in our gated section of pews, which were decorated with our coat of arms lest some impertinent stranger should entertain the idea that all seats in God’s house were equal.

Our pews were at right angles to the rest of the congregation so that we could both see and be seen.

It isn’t until 30% in that we get the first hints of mystery.

I took the paper from her. “‘ How long will you get away with it, you—’” I stopped reading. “Good heavens, I’ve never actually seen that word written down.”

I actually enjoyed this slow unwinding, but it might not be the best for someone who wants to jump right into action and adventure.

I particularly like that although her family members have their own quirks, they (for the most part) stand behind and with each other, fully accepting each other. This was particularly evident with Helena’s older brother Michael.

I felt Michael— who hated to touch, or be touched by, other people— flinch as I rested my fingertips as lightly as possible on his arm.

Especially this bit, how offhand she is.

“That’ll get into the newspapers. Lord Broadmere won’t like it. Yes, I know he can’t read the papers, but my sisters read the gossip columns and they’ll make sure he knows about it.

For a mystery, it’s surprisingly calming and cozy, and hopefully I don’t have to wait for years for another installment.

Publisher: Aspidistra Press

Rating: 8/10

 

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