What an awesome debut!!!
Emma Cross inherited much more than Gull Manor from her Aunt Sadie. She inherited her wit and her spunk as well. Her parents have traveled abroad to follow their own dreams and left her to handle everything on her own. Using the small annuity left to her by her Aunt and the wages she earns writing about social events for the local paper she keeps up what she can at Gull Manor. She really is not Cornelius Vanderbilt’s niece. She is actually his second cousin “twice or thrice removed” but she calls him Uncle because she could never call the shipping magnate or his wife by just their first names. They invite her to parties, try to watch over her and hope to find her a suitable husband even though that is the furthest thing from her mind. She is very independent and has little fear of anything and seems to be wise beyond her years. She is a wonderful protagonist. I was engaged by her story immediately.
The author introduces us to many wonderful characters, the local Vanderbilt’s of course, Emma’s step brother Brady, her “cousin” Neily, Nanny, who has been at Gull Manor forever, Emma’s maid, Katie, Officer Jessie Whyte, and Derrick “Anderson”. I look forward to getting to know more about all of them and their stories in future installments.
What I really loved about this book is that while the story is fictional it is based on fact. A party similar to the one in book actually took place. The author used her research to craft a mystery that was interwoven into a story of a family most of us are familiar with on some level, maybe not back to 1895, but they were one of the riches families in American history.
The mystery was a good one too. Emma was not afraid to keep digging and observed many things the local authorities either missed or ignored. She was not afraid to ask the hard questions even when those questions put her own life in danger. She also found an unexpected ally.
There was so much I loved about this book. It takes us back in time to a slower lifestyle when visiting meant harnessing up the horse to the buggy and traveling down a dirt road going house to house or manor to manor.
This is definitely an author to watch. I can’t wait for Murder at Marble House (A Gilded Newport Mystery) out September 29.