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Let’s take a moment to be grateful we don’t live in the 1800’s, shall we? Especially as a woman in those times, just thinking about the social and economic restrictions they had to live under makes me want to punch something.
Jospehine Montfort feels pretty much the same way. Josephine, or Jo, comes from a blue-blooded well-to-do family in New York. Her grandmamma is convinced that due to her wealth and bloodline Jo should be in line to marry a Roosevelt or a Livingston. But what Jo wants to do is to write and investigate social ills like her heroine Nellie Bly.
Unfortunately those rebellious dreams come to a crashing halt when Jo gets word that her father has died. It seems he was killed while cleaning his gun. Yet Jo knows her father would never do anything so stupid. And why had her father seemed so especially…haunted…lately? Jo makes an uneasy alliance with a young newspaper reporter to help find out the truth about what really happened to her father, and what secrets he was hiding. Because the deeper they dig, the less it looks like an accident, and the more it looks like murder. Jo will risk everything—her reputation, her family and her life—to get to the truth.
Donnelly did a great job of portraying the period—the late 1800’s—and what life would have been like for a wealthy young woman during that time, as well as how much the social restrictions for her class would have chafed a spirited young woman. On the one hand, it was hard to believe how naïve she was—she didn’t know what a prostitute was, but then a well-heeled society girl at that time wouldn’t, would she? Yet Jo is a character with moxie, taking the shocking revelations about the real world in stride. Jo is really willing to do whatever it takes to get to the truth—even if that means digging up some shallow graves. This was a fun read, with a genuinely heart-pounding climax. The inevitable romance between her and the newspaper reporter was both dramatic and cute, and I loved how this tale wrapped up for everyone involved.