Review: The Gilded Shroud (A Lady Fan Mystery #1) by Elizabeth Bailey

I fell in love with the cover of this new mystery series. I love the stunning house and the richness of the scene. Without so much as a backward glance I eagerly agreed to review it.

Plus it is the first in a new series and I love getting in on the ground levels when it comes to new detective series.

1789, London

When Emily Fanshawe, Marchioness of Polbrook, is found strangled in her bedchamber, suspicion immediately falls on those residing in the grand house in Hanover Square.

Emily’s husband – Randal Fanshawe, Lord Polbrook – fled in the night and is chief suspect – much to the dismay of his family.

Ottilia Draycott is brought in as the new lady’s companion to Sybilla, Dowager Marchioness and soon finds herself assisting younger son, Lord Francis Fanshawe in his investigations.

Can Ottilia help clear the family name? Does the killer still reside in the house?

Or could there be more to the mystery than meets the eye…? (summary from Goodreads).

This book lacks a really good summary for readers which was a little frustrating but I love mysteries set in Regency or Victorian era England so while I didn’t know much about the book when I agreed to review it, I trusted that my love of history would be enough.

The author has a wonderful grasp of the language and period. I loved how well her dialogue meshed in the period and with the different characters. I don’t know that I liked the name Ottilia for the main character—mostly because I couldn’t pronounce it—but the overall tone of the book and dialogue between characters had the ring of authenticity to it.

I mystery has a budding romance woven in which was fun and helped move the story along, but for me it almost seemed more like historical romance with a touch of mystery—not the other way around—which I believe was the intent (mystery with a touch of romance, rather than the opposite). I didn’t care that this had more romance than mystery or nice versa, I liked the romance and felt that it was a nice tactic. I read that the author started out writing romance novels and I can see that this is a genre in which she shines.

While this was an easy read with a satisfying mystery and romance mixture, I think it was a little too much of a reach for me when it came to the classes. Ottilia seemed to be readily accepted into the upper echelons with no one seeming to bat an eye. For me it all came a little too easy. I understand that the circumstances were meant to make this detail bendable, but for me I didn’t think there was enough to justify the level of acceptance that she had in the family.

Overall I felt that this book was good but not great. I liked the mystery and romance just fine but some things just seemed like a reach and too much for me to buy into. I would probably read the next book in the series but I wouldn’t move other books to make room for it if that makes sense.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: The Gilded Shroud (A Lady Fan Mystery #1) by Elizabeth Bailey

  • Kindle Edition, 566 pages
  • Published June 21st 2018 by Sapere Books (first published January 10th 1992)
  • Review copy provided by: Author/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 3 out of 5

Genre: Historical fiction, romance, detective novel, Regency lit, Victorian lit

Memorable lines/quotes:



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