Monday, June 6, 2016

A GOLDEN CAGE by Shelley Freydont

Publisher:     Berkley
Published:     June 7, 2016   
ISBN:        978-0425275856
Genre:       Historical Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


With her mother and sister in Europe Deanna Randolph is spending the summer with the Ballards—one of the Cottagers on Newport.  Try as she might to do what is expected of her class, at times Deanna just cannot help herself.  It just doesn’t seem fair that her former, almost fiancé, Joe Ballard has been able to move into his warehouse and spend his time inventing.  She almost envies his ability to live his passion.  And as soon as she finds what her passion is, she wants to live it too.  In the meantime she, along with her maid, Elspeth, will live vicariously through their favorite girl detective penny novels. 

Still, live in Newport isn’t really all that dull.  In honor of fellow cottager Judge Grantham’s birthday his daughter has brought in a theatre troupe and everyone who is everyone attends the performance.  Surprisingly it turns out that one of their own, or someone who was at one time one of their own, is a member of the troupe.  In the aftermath that same woman accepts an offer to come to the Ballard home.  Amabelle takes them up on the offer.  No sooner does Amabelle arrive than the family is shocked by one of the maids finding a body in the conservatory.  At the same time, Amabelle disappears.  The question then is, is Amabelle the killer or a victim herself?  Try as she might, Deanna just cannot seem to stay out of the investigation of the missing Amabelle.

I loved book 1 of Shelley Freydont Newport Gilded Age Mysteries, A GILDED GRAVE And eagerly awaited book 2, A GOLDEN CAGE.  For Freydont, A GILDED GRAVE was a tough act to follow.  A GOLDEN CAGE was okay, but it lacked the pacing and spunk of book 1. While Deanna talks about wanting to find and follow her passion her actions take her deeper and deeper into following society’s moirés.  She just lost all her spunk and if it weren’t for Elspeth she would be just another member of the upper class. 

The mystery and premise of why the murder happened in this book was a good one.  It shows clearly that for all the changes society has made, in many ways we have not progressed at all.  Except for Joe, Will and Gran Gwen the rest of the characters didn’t have much to recommend them.  The scenes with the bicycle riding could have been a bit more entertaining without taking away from the seriousness of the murder.
Over time I’ve found that when the first book of a series is an outstanding read book 2 often falls below that standard.  In line with that is book 3 usually hit the high points again and I hope that is the case with this series because has a lot of potential.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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