Sunday, August 6, 2017

She Be Damned by M.J. Tjia

She Be Damned by M.J. TjiaHeloise Chancey is not a prostitute. She is an actress and a courtesan who helps solve mysteries on the side. And that's why she's posing as a prostitute, in the hopes that she can help figure out why these women are turning up dead, all of their sexual organs removed. It becomes personal when her maid is accused of the murders.
The book is as much (if not more) about Heloise's exploration of her past as it is about solving the murders. There is an exploration of what it was like to be a courtesan in London, the views of abortions in those times (touches on today), and racism.
I was sort of surprised to learn that M. J. Tjia was a woman. The first person point of view felt a bit uncomfortable, as though it rang a false note. At first I thought was a gender thing but I think it may be more of a time period thing. Heloise seems very much like a modern woman who was plunked into the 1800s. Not that that couldn't have existed, but it felt very odd. And it kept me disconnected from both the character and the book. I actually connected more with the Li Leen interjections than with Heloise.
I'm not sure who to recommend this book (novella? It's not even 200 pages). I feel like some people might enjoy it but it was not a good book for me. I would give it two stars but it was an interesting enough book that it made it up to two and a half.

This book came out August 1

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