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4.3 out of 5
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  • 4 person found this review helpful

    4 people found this review helpful

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    Outstanding debut novel!

    When Lady Elizabeth Fraser and her mother are returning from Lady Elizabeth’s fourth Season in London, their train derails, which sets off a series of life-changing events in the young woman’s life. After being rescued and stitched up by a young railway surgeon, Lady Elizabeth steps outside the boundaries prescribed for her by Victorian England and assists the young surgeon in his attempts to save victims of the train crash. As events unfold, it becomes clear that what happened to the train may not be as simple and straightforward as some would have the powers that be believe. Lady Elizabeth becomes embroiled in unravelling the mystery of what happened on that fateful journey home to her ancestral estate…and what may have led up to it. What is revealed is more horrifying than she could have imagined when generational hate, greed, power, murder and love converge. This is Ms. Odden’s debut novel and it’s clear what a strong grasp she has of Victorian social and business detail, railway history and how to tell a story filled with mystery and love. The characters are nuanced and fully dimensional, from the main characters to the supporting cast. I look forward to reading her next book. Five stars!
  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    Railroad history, social stations.

    Historical information about railways in England in the 1830-1890s was very interesting and the basis of this novel. Little does 20 year old Lady Elizabeth Fraser know how rail travel in England influences her life. While attending her cousin's wedding ball in London in 1874, Lady Elizabeth overhears rumors of her family's failing finances. Retreating to their rural home in Kellham Park by train, its derailment injures Elizabeth and her mother Margaret Fraser, Dower Countess of Kellham. Finding herself in a hotel in Travers where no-one yet knows her social status, Elizabeth spends all night assisting railway surgeon Paul Wilcox in his use of chloroform administration on patients he is stitching and bones resetting in the scullery of the hotel. Assuming she is a Miss and not a Lady, Paul chats freely with Elizabeth and discusses the train situation and life in general as they get to know each other in an unconventionally intimate way in a very short time. Her mother's use of laudanum, which is quite accepted for the era, is an added complication and one that present day readers would find shocking in how dangerous this drug is yet how readily it was used. The forbidden romance between an earl's daughter and a railway surgeon flourishes as Elizabeth finds herself immersed in uncovering corruption and the truth behind the death of another noble railway passenger for which Paul has been imprisoned.
  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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    I loved this Victorian Mystery!

    Lady Elizabeth and her mother are traveling by train back to their estate from London when the train careens off its tracks. Elizabeth wakes up to her mother unconscious with a broken ankle and Elizabeth herself has a gash on her forehead. They somehow make it off the train and a gentleman doctor helps them by the name of Paul Wilcox. Over the next few days, while her mother is recovering, she helps the young doctor who saved her and her mother’s life. There’s an immediate attraction between the two even though they come from different social circles. Elizabeth doesn’t tell Paul her title because she enjoys being treated like a normal woman and she knows Paul will withdraw if he found out. But like everything in Victorian England, the truth eventually comes out. Meanwhile, Elizabeth discovers the train accident she endured was on purpose. In fact, there’s quite a few train derailments and it’s politically driven. The more Elizabeth and her new-found acquaintance reporter (a friend of Paul’s) unearth, the more long-buried family secrets emerge. When Paul is arrested for manslaughter, Elizabeth must risk her reputation and life as she knows it to save the man she loves. I loved this mystery! It’s filled with suspense, twists and turns, not to mention a sweet romance between Paul and Elizabeth. I love trains and the Victorian age. Karen Odden draws you into Elizabeth’s world. The supporting cast of characters add such richness to this story and the mystery held my mind captive. Who is behind the railroad sabotage and murders? The courtroom scenes left me breathless and the ending was satisfying. If you like historical fiction, especially Victorian, with dashes of mystery and romance, this book is for you! I look forward to more from Karen Odden. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group – Alibi and Netgalley for giving me a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. My Rating: 5 stars
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    A Lady in the Smoke

    A beautifully written romantic, mystery/ suspense with a well characterised plot, lots of atmospheric detail about Victorian Society and a truly engaging heroine willing to challenge both class and gender prejudices in order to rescue the man she loves...
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Caught my attention. I read over fifty books a mo

    1874 Vixtorian England. Interesting. Informative. Suspenseful. Romantic. Well-written. Loving without heavy sex. Looked for more novels only to discover this was a first. Hope there are more, perhaps a sequel.
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