Gracious Era, Not So Gracious Murder

A few years ago I decided to participate in Nanowrimo. For those who don’t know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month, where you are encouraged to write at least 50,000 words in the month of November. It sounds like a daunting task until you realize it’s designed for you to get into the habit of sitting down and putting words on paper…no editing, no revision, not even spell check. Okay, so it’s still a somewhat daunting task. The first time I did it, I promptly wrote myself into a corner and gave up, but I did succeed on the second time around.

Of course, that book is now in a bottom drawer and I have no intention of ever letting it out to see the light of day. That’s okay since, trust me, it really wasn’t that good. However, it did get me into the habit of writing and I decided I would attempt to write a “good” novel. Since the adage of write what you know has much value, I decided to write a murder mystery. That book is not finished, and needs major revisions if I ever decide to pick it up again.

One of the true values of that time, however, was a writer’s group I joined for a while. There were initially five of us, although we shrank to three. Then one of the three moved and while we tried to do it via the internet for a while, it was just too cumbersome and when you factored in all the other commitments we had, it was easier to let the group end.

There was one unexpected advantage to being part of that writer’s group. One of our members was writing a Regency romance novel and I had the benefit of learning much about the period through her and the research she did. That knowledge helps me enjoy books that take place during the regency period even more. It’s almost as if I’m privy to some inside information that enhances my understanding of the book.

After our group disbanded, my writing career ground to a halt. Some of it was because there was no group to which I was accountable, and some of it was because as easy as writing is for me in general, especially since I used to make a living from writing reports, etc., writing a full length novel is hard! I don’t like to plot, and I haven’t figured out yet how to successfully avoid pitfalls when writing by the seat of my pants “pantsing” in Nanowrimo terms.

So, what to do with my love of books? To the rescue came one of my friends who is a published author. Kati Gardner has one published YA novel, BRAVE ENOUGH,  and her second one, FINDING BALANCE is scheduled to be published in May of 2020. I learned through her about this wonderful site called NetGalley where you can apply to be an advanced reader for a wide variety of books from a plethora of publishers. What do you have to do to qualify? Basically nothing, but you have a much better chance of getting books if you write an unbiased review. Unbiased is the key word for me. All I have to do is honestly write how I felt about the book. A writing assignment I can accomplish since honesty is extremely important to me, and the bonus is I get introduced to lots of authors I might not otherwise ever read. Yes, please.

So, I started reading and reviewing for NetGalley and here I am, 149 reviews later. Here’s the latest one, a Regency Mystery novel that I highly recommend.

The plot is complex and well constructed, pulling the reader through the book at a good pace and beckoning them to pick the book up and read “just one more chapter” regardless of other tasks at hand. It is well paced and builds to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion with just the right amount of ending tension.


A thoroughly satisfying read on in so many ways, MURDER AT KENSINGTON PALACE by Andrea Penrose is a well-plotted mystery that takes place during the Regency period. It is filled with unconventional Regency characters crafted so well it is easy to picture them as you read and compels you to care about their success. These characters are complex, with a deep commitment to seeing justice done and caring for those people who become part of their world.

This is the third book in the Wrexford and Sloane mystery series, and my first read. The characters are so well drawn I had no problem understanding the relationships between Sloane and Wrexford as well as the secondary characters in the book. These secondary characters, including the two young boys Sloane has taken in as wards and the unconventional gentlemen Wrexford calls on to help solve the mystery add wonderful color and depth to the story.

While I was able to reason out the murderer prior to the denouement, this in no way lessened my enjoyment of the book. Instead, it was intriguing to pursue reading to verify my suspicions as well as helping to pull me through as I could anticipate the hurdles both Sloane and Wrexford were bound to encounter on their way to the solution.

The book alternates between Sloane’s point of view and that of Wrexford. The author uses this as a way of increasing tension and helping pull the reader through the book at an even pace. These changes occur at well-placed intervals that serve to leave the reader wanting more with one character while at the same time being intrigued by what is happening with the other.

I did find the prologue a little hard to follow and was initially concerned it’s (to me) slowness would be continued in the book itself. This was not the case and the prologue did serve to introduce some key characters and happenings. Once the book began in earnest, it moved at an excellent pace and engaged me all the way through.

My thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for providing me an advanced digital read copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. It is an excellent choice for anyone who likes mysteries and a bonus if the reader likes the Regency period.


There you have it, and now I have to go find a new book to read. Whether it’s this one, one of the other’s I’ve recommended, or a book I’ve yet to encounter, I hope you enjoy. Happy Reading.