Description (from cover): “January 1855. Willa Noble knew it was bad luck when it was pouring rain on the day of her ever-important job interview at the Dickinson home in Amherst, Massachusetts. When she arrived late, disheveled with her skirts sodden and filthy, she’d lost all hope of being hired for the position. As the housekeeper politely told her they’d be in touch, Willa started towards the door of the stately home only to be called back by the soft but strong voice of Emily Dickinson. What begins as tenuous employment turns into friendship as the reclusive poet takes Willa under her wing.
Tragedy soon strikes and Willa’s beloved brother, Henry, is killed in a tragic accident at the town stables. With no other family and nowhere else to turn, Willa tells Emily about her brother’s death and why she believes it was no accident. Willa is convinced it was murder. Henry had been very secretive of late, only hinting to Willa that he’d found a way to earn money to take care of them both. Viewing it first as a puzzle to piece together, Emily offers to help, only to realize that she and Willa are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse that reveals corruption in Amherst that is generations deep. Some very high-powered people will stop at nothing to keep their profitable secrets even if that means forever silencing Willa and her new mistress.”
Amanda Flower has long been one of my favorite cozy mystery writers. I love her Amish series and when I found out she was writing about one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson, I knew I had to read this book. This book is told not in Emily’s point of view, but from her maid, Willa’s. This book starts with Willa going to the Dickinson house for an interview for a maid’s position. She doesn’t think she is going to get the job and when the housekeeper dismisses her, she is surprised when Emily tells the housekeeper to stop looking for a maid and to hire Willa on the spot. Willa is determined to do a good job for the family and is honored to have the opportunity to work for such a prestigious family. She feels like her life is taking a turn for the better for once.
That feeling is short lived when Willa finds out that her beloved brother, Henry, has been killed in an accident at the local stables. Willa goes to the stables herself to see where her brother spent his last days. She is shocked to learn that her brother was not killed in an accident, but was brutally murdered. With this carrying heavy on her shoulders and with no one else to turn to, she tells Emily who is determined to set out on an investigation to find out exactly what happened to Henry and why he was murdered. From Amherst, Massachusetts to Washington D.C., Emily and Willa use the Dickinson’s family name and status to chase down a murderer. With the hostility brewing between the North and the South over the issue of slavery, they soon find themselves right in the middle of a political fiasco. Not knowing who they can trust in their small town, it seems that everyone is not who they appear to be, Emily and Willa soon find themselves as targets in the investigation. Can they race against the clock to find justice for Henry or will they find themselves to be the next victims?
I really enjoyed this book because it provided a different perspective of Emily Dickinson and the country as it embroiled itself in the fight of slavery. The book dragged slowly in some parts and that was a little hard to get through, but nonetheless, this was a good strong first book in what I hope to be a promising new historical mystery series. The next book in this series will be released in September of this year, and I am hoping to be able to read more about Emily and Willa’s adventures.
Overall Rating: 4 stars
Author: Amanda Flower
Series: Emily Dickinson Mystery #1
Publication Date: September 20, 2022
Genre: Historical Mystery
Get It: Amazon
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.