Book 1 in the Deadly series
Francesca saw nothing amusing about the fact that her mother was determined to marry her off, sooner rather than later. “How can you make fun of reform? When there is so much poverty and injustice in our midst?”
“Connie ceased pulling on the corset. She turned Francesca around. “I am not making fun of reform, Fran. I would never be so callous. But you are so serious! Study, reform, study, reform, study, reform. It is funny. You are funny!”
It’s 1902 in New York City and Francesca, a 20-year-old bluestocking, openly works for reform while secretly attending Brainard College. She is the youngest of three and still lives at home with her parents in what is called the Marble Palace because of its opulence. Francesca is determined to get a journalism degree and become the first woman reporter for a major New York newspaper and her mother is just as determined to see her marry well. Francesca is beautiful and wealthy and suitors have never been a problem, but she is known to be different from other girls her age, so her best friends are her sister Connie and her brother Evan.
Rick Bragg is the new police commissioner, appointed to clean up the city’s police department. When Francesca becomes involved in a case he is working on, involving a missing boy, an interest is sparked on both sides. Francesca has a lot going on, but it doesn’t stop her from dreaming of a future with Rick, although her mother has labeled him a bastard and unacceptable as a suitor.
Francesca puts herself in danger to try and save the neighbor boy and proves herself to be brave, smart, and vulnerable. She struggles to become the independent woman she wants to be, while her family tries to make her the conventional girl they’d like her to be.
This book is a fun start to a series that goes in a direction that I never expected. I think this one is the calm before the storm.
If you like romances, especially historicals, don’t miss this one. I won an autographed copy of this on writerspace.com years ago and it was the first Brenda Joyce book I read and now, countless books later, consider myself a big fan.