Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Received audiobook from publisher for review
In 1907 New York, a psychiatrist must prove her patient's innocence...or risk being implicated in a shocking murder
As one of the first women practicing in an advanced new field of psychology, Dr. Genevieve Summerford is used to forging her own path. But when one of her patients is arrested for murder-a murder Genevieve fears she may have unwittingly provoked-she is forced to seek help from an old acquaintance.
Desperate to clear her patient's name and relieve her own guilty conscience, Genevieve finds herself breaking all the rules she's tried so hard to live by. In her search for answers, Genevieve uncovers an astonishing secret that, should she reveal it, could spell disaster for those she cares about most. But if she lets her discovery remain hidden, she will almost certainly condemn her patient to the electric chair.
I’ve always been hit-and-miss with my enjoyment of historical mystery novels. They tend to fall into one of two categories for me: trying to hard to play CSI in an historical setting or perfectly striking a balance between propelling the mystery forward while still staying within the bounds of historical reality. Too often I find the former and that has kept me away from the genre more often than not. I am pleased to say that I’m glad I took the risk on A Deadly Affection because it blew me away! I will absolutely be reading the rest of the books that come out in this series and here is why.
I loved the heroine, Genevieve Summerford. She was a “modern woman” and forward thinker, but it didn’t feel like she was always trying too hard to be WAY ahead of her time, which is an issue I often have with my historical heroines. She is a female doctor in the field of psychiatry (which is modern enough at that time) and she is trying something new, group therapy for women who are otherwise painted with the masculine brush of expectation. Throughout the novel, Genevieve is intermittently unsure of herself and her path and then finds confidence when things go right or she begins to put pieces together. Basically, to me, she felt like an everyday woman caught in the middle of a tough situation and finds ways to grow from it and come out of it for the better. It was someone that I could identify with even if she would have lived 100 years ago.
The field of medicine and psychiatry were still in the stages of exploring things that we take for granted today. Overholt walked the magical line of keeping the reader just off of knowing exactly what was going on with the medical portion of the storyline so that you wanted to know more and didn’t feel like it was old news that you were just playing along with. I never entirely felt like I knew what was coming and I enjoyed the feel of learning about it along with the characters. The drama of this novel played out like part medical drama and part police procedural which the author balanced rather evenly.
There is just a touch of romance here, but it isn’t a focal point of the story. At this point, it’s more of an important element of backstory and to help understand the characters, but I could see it coming into play later on in the series, whether as actual romance thread or as a roadblock/point of contention between characters.
The plot and pacing are spot on here. There was never a time with this novel that I felt bored or prone to skim though. There was enough twists and turns to the story that you were kept on your toes and never quite were able to pinpoint what the resolution to the murder mystery was going to be (that is one of my other pet peeves with the mystery genre in general is when you can solve it way too early in the story).
I will eagerly await book two which will be released later this year, although I might try to hold off to get it on audiobook because it was a great performance as well.
The narrator was able to relay the author’s pacing well in this audiobook presentation. There is an interplay between slow or fast reading based on the need of the scene. I appreciated the appropriate pause length between sentences – just the right amount of time. Robbins imbues her Genevieve with an earnestness, but also demonstrates fear or hesitation when appropriate. It certainly feels like she spent some time getting to know the characters before recording the passages. There is some voice work here to make characters unique, and this is one of the few times I have found myself feeling comfortable with a narration of characters of the opposite sex rom the narrator. An admirable job that never felt jarring or out of place.
You can check out a sample of the audiobook below:
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by Cuyler Overholt:
A Promise of Ruin
(Book 2 of the Dr. Genevieve Summerford Series)
Coming August 2017
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