Review: Anything But Civil by Anna Loan-Wilsey

Description (from cover):

‘Traveling secretary Hattie Davish and her trusty typewriter alight on a small town in Illinois, where the Civil War may be long over, but certain mysteries refuse to be buried…
Hattie Davish is delighted to be ably assisting her wealthy employer, Sir Arthur Windome-Greene, an English scholar who is fluent in Civil War history and hard at work putting together a definitive biography of General Cornelius Starrett. Their research takes them to Galena, Illinois, where they quickly learn that time has done little to heal old battle wounds. District and betrayal seem to linger in everyone’s minds, none more so than the General’s pompous son Henry. And Hattie is certain he has something to do with a string of bizarre incidents in town–especially when he turns up dead…
Between her work for Sir Arthur, preparing for Christmas, and unscheduled visitors from her past, Hattie hardly has time to investigate a murder, but soon she is lost in a labyrinth of secrets and deceit that leads to more questions than answers. Henry had a knack for finding trouble and making enemies, and there’s no shortage of suspects–including Sir Arthur. Now, Hattie must uncover the truth while maintaining her civility in a most uncivil situation…’

My thoughts:

I read A Lack of Temperance a couple of years ago and found that I quite enjoyed that mystery. So when I had the chance to read the second installment in this series, I picked it up. I really like Hattie’s character as she seems so intelligent and down to earth despite having to deal with the societal stigmas that the time period placed on women. Hattie is a traveling secretary, and however much that might set her apart from other domestic help, she is still looked upon as sort of a maid. She continuously has to struggle to set herself apart from the domestics and prove that she is smart and can take care of business on her own. Of course, during that time period, women were not seen as being involved in the workforce and their place was at their homes caring for their families. Of course, Hattie is not what society wishes her to be and she stands out.
Hattie stands out even more when she is tasked with solving a murder mystery. Sir Arthur places his trust in her to discover what happened and it seems that everyone around her has a problem accepting Hattie’s intelligence. Of course, having a well-known scholar like Sir Arthur backing you, it seems that you can accomplish a lot more. This book is well rooted in the history of the Civil War and it was an interesting read on the historical level. I did spend the first part of this book being a little confused as there were a lot of characters and people to keep track of. I really have to say that is the part that I most disliked about this book, but other than that, I found myself to be entertained and engaged.
I love historical mysteries and I am so glad that I have found this series. I really like Hattie’s character, but I wish that I could learn more about her. Hattie is cloaked in her own personal mystery involving her own past, and I am dying to learn what secrets she holds. I am hoping that the author will see fit to reveal those issues to the readers in the next installments to come. Overall, this book was a fun and light read and I found it to be very entertaining. Cannot wait to read the next one.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  Anything But Civil
Author:  Anna Loan-Wilsey
Series:  Hattie Davish Mystery #2
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  September 24, 2013
Pages:  310
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

One thought on “Review: Anything But Civil by Anna Loan-Wilsey

  1. I love this series and I was fortunate to receive an ARC of A Deceptive Homecoming. Without giving any spoilers it answers a lot of questions about Hattie's Background. You have time to read the 3rd before the 4th is out and this series should be read in order. Enjoy


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