** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own**
Book description (from Goodreads)
It’s 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle.
Louisa’s salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy – an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.
But then a nurse – Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake – is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . .
I really enjoyed the murder mystery side of this book, but I felt a bit disappointed by the fact that the Mitford connection being completely incidental and really of no consequence in the story at all. I feel like the cover/blurb built it up a bit, but really Nancy was the only Mitford involved in the story and she could have been anyone, which, for me, made having the Mitford name on it really quite gimmicky. However, I do acknowledge that this is the first book in a new series, so maybe the Mitford connection will be built on in future stories.
So, back to the mystery side of things. This had a great cosy-ish mystery feel, and the way the story is told really makes you look at how women fit in society in those days – which gave it a bit of a Phryne Fisher vibe (if Phryne’s housemaid was the one doing the ‘detective-ing’). The characters were pretty fun, and I liked getting the perspective from the police officer too. The whodunit aspect had me guessing until the very end.
My verdict overall? If you’re after a great mystery read then definitely pick this up. But if you’re just in it for the Mitfords then maybe think again. I gave this three stars and will be keeping an eye out for the sequel (with somewhat altered expectations).