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A Dreadful Splendor

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In this spectacularly imaginative and ghoulishly fun Gothic murder mystery brimming with romance, betrayals, and chills, a fake spiritualist is summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on the eve before her wedding, but as nefarious secrets are revealed, the line between hoax and haunting blurs. Be careful what you conjure... In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons pose In this spectacularly imaginative and ghoulishly fun Gothic murder mystery brimming with romance, betrayals, and chills, a fake spiritualist is summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on the eve before her wedding, but as nefarious secrets are revealed, the line between hoax and haunting blurs. Be careful what you conjure... In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners--until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The Lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young Lord peace, she will win her freedom. Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve's skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly--yet exceedingly handsome--gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren't required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset's ghost could be all too real... A Dreadful Splendor is a wickedly whimsical brew of mystery, spooky thrills, and intoxicating romance that makes for an irresistibly fun and page-turning read.


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In this spectacularly imaginative and ghoulishly fun Gothic murder mystery brimming with romance, betrayals, and chills, a fake spiritualist is summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on the eve before her wedding, but as nefarious secrets are revealed, the line between hoax and haunting blurs. Be careful what you conjure... In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons pose In this spectacularly imaginative and ghoulishly fun Gothic murder mystery brimming with romance, betrayals, and chills, a fake spiritualist is summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on the eve before her wedding, but as nefarious secrets are revealed, the line between hoax and haunting blurs. Be careful what you conjure... In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners--until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The Lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young Lord peace, she will win her freedom. Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve's skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly--yet exceedingly handsome--gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren't required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset's ghost could be all too real... A Dreadful Splendor is a wickedly whimsical brew of mystery, spooky thrills, and intoxicating romance that makes for an irresistibly fun and page-turning read.

30 review for A Dreadful Splendor

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mai

    Print giveaway from Goodreads Let's not label a book gothic unless it can bring about the evocative feelings of Rebecca. This started slow. It picked up. I began to get excited. It slowed down again. Not all mysteries need a twist. Everyone in this book was unlikeable. Print giveaway from Goodreads Let's not label a book gothic unless it can bring about the evocative feelings of Rebecca. This started slow. It picked up. I began to get excited. It slowed down again. Not all mysteries need a twist. Everyone in this book was unlikeable.

  2. 5 out of 5

    B.R. Myers

    Why yes, I am giving my own book 5 stars. I read it over a million times during revisions and I still love it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Jenny Timmons has been surviving by being a con artist for as long as she can remember, "inheriting" her mother's once-thriving seance "business" upon her death. Unfortunately, she also inherited Miss Crane her landlady, who gave her an ultimatum; Jenny either steals from her wealthy clients or can become one of her girls. But Jenny had a plan, one last heist and she could leave Miss Crane's behind, unfortunately, Miss Crane set her up and as she's leaving her final victim's home she's arrested. Jenny Timmons has been surviving by being a con artist for as long as she can remember, "inheriting" her mother's once-thriving seance "business" upon her death. Unfortunately, she also inherited Miss Crane her landlady, who gave her an ultimatum; Jenny either steals from her wealthy clients or can become one of her girls. But Jenny had a plan, one last heist and she could leave Miss Crane's behind, unfortunately, Miss Crane set her up and as she's leaving her final victim's home she's arrested. Facing the gallows for a murder she didn't commit she knows she has no options left so is more than a little surprised when an elderly gentleman, Mr. Lockhart, pays her bail and hires her to perform a fake seance to calm the nerves of his distraught employer Mr. Pemberton who recently lost his bride to an apparent suicide. When Jenny arrives at Somerset a sprawling estate on the coast she quickly realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew as the handsome Mr. Pemberton wants to "hire" her services himself to find out who murdered his bride. The longer Jenny is at Somerset the more she is certain that Lady Audra was murdered and that everyone at Somerset had a reason to want her dead. I read a lot of murder mysteries, especially period mysteries. Over time I've really stopped reading them outside of a handful of authors because it began to feel like every single solitary book was the same plot with different characters. And to be honest for the vast majority of this book I was going to write it off as just another mass-produced period mystery with a romance. Up until the last maybe ten chapters this review was going to be very short and sweet and essentially say "highly entertaining if you need something to do for a few hours but I wouldn't actually pay for it." And then those last ten chapters hit and Myers pulled the rug straight out from under me! As I said for the most part this really is a cookie-cutter period mystery. Girl has a crappy life, but she's tough and resilient and even though she finds herself way out of her normal realm she is completely capable of handling this situation because if we've learned anything adversity breeds clever capable women, and if clever and capable isn't enough she also has the hot, rich guy who is falling in love with her. Like I said most of this book is standard fare for this genre. It's not until you get to the reveal of the killer that this goes from absolutely predictable to "Holy hell what!?" Myers created the perfect game of Clue and just when you are positive you've narrowed down your six players to just one and you are sure it was Col. Mustard in the dining room with the candle stick you find out that there was a seventh player there the whole time that you never even saw. And the thing is Myers somehow juggles all of these players brilliantly. Everyone in Somerset has a reason for wanting Lady Audra dead, so you've got multiple lines of inquiry and these little side dramas that really all play into the actual killer's motive without feeling confusing or overwhelming. Which is in my opinion the mark of a good mystery writer. The romance in this doesn't overwhelm the main story either which I was truly grateful for. It's also a believable and gradual building of mutual trust and respect over the course of the book. Jenny is a great character as well. She has her hang-ups and insecurities but given her life story and her young age they are overlooked, understood or forgiven. Gareth (Mr. Pemberton) is a great love interest as well as an interesting character. His background is explained just enough so we can understand him but his story never overpowers Jenny's. One kind of odd compliment but I think it needs to be said; you absolutely feel the passage of time when reading this. A huge pet peeve for me is when a book is supposed to take place over the course of a week but it feels like it was only a day or vice versa. It's a weird thing to nit-pick I know but I appreciated how she found ways to incorporate the passage of time. The only reason this is four stars instead of five is I've read three or maybe four books in the last six months or so that had a similar premise. This is the best one out of those books for certain but there are only so many times you can read about a young girl in London during the spiritualist movement who somehow gets tangled up in a murder and ends up marrying a Baron, Earl, Rich Guy. Actually, it would be quite nice to read a book where the girl doesn't marry the Baron, Earl, Rich Guy. Especially since this book centers around women having virtually no rights during this time frame whether they were rich or poor. Overall, while appearing to be a very generic period murder mystery Myers throws out a completely unpredictable twist at the end. Even without the twist though the book sucks you in from page one and keeps you interested with a complicated plot of long-lost heirs, unrequited love, and the complete lack of control women had over their lives. This would be perfect for fans of the Sebastian St. Cyr series. And as always thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow Paperbacks for the eArc, this review has been left voluntarily. Blog Facebook Instagram

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andi

    I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me a chance to read this early! I enjoy gothic romances mixed with mystery. So when I saw the blurb for this I knew I just had to grab it. What makes it different than previous gothic romances is that the main character is a sham, a pretender who claims to be clairvoyant. After being caught at her last house, she is courted by the lawyer of a recently-widowed male. His bride to be was rumored to have gone insane and thrown herself off a I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me a chance to read this early! I enjoy gothic romances mixed with mystery. So when I saw the blurb for this I knew I just had to grab it. What makes it different than previous gothic romances is that the main character is a sham, a pretender who claims to be clairvoyant. After being caught at her last house, she is courted by the lawyer of a recently-widowed male. His bride to be was rumored to have gone insane and thrown herself off a cliff to her watery death. Yet, there is talk of ghosts of previous heirs in the family haunting the estate, they too also died due to a curse. I love when you get all those elements mixed in with a character who has secrets of her own and is semi on-the-run from cops. Then the romance. I thought the romance was a well done slow build and the way the story was written I was unsure as to who was behind the death of the wife and what was going on at the estate. The reason I marked it down a star is that while I enjoyed it I got a YA feel from it? I don't think the author meant for it to be YA but it came off very YA for me. All in all, if you enjoy gothic romances mixed with mystery this is a great one to grab!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lacy

    My Nancy Drew loving heart is absolutely so full after finishing A Dreadful Splendor! The CW's Nancy Drew. Specifically, season 1 vibes. iykyk. But let's be honest. (Especially because nobody in this book knows how be.) I was always going to pick up this book up because B.R. Myers is one of my all-time favorite authors. Genevieve Timmons is a spiritualist struggling to survive in the 1850s of Victorian London. A job gone wrong leads to her being summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on My Nancy Drew loving heart is absolutely so full after finishing A Dreadful Splendor! The CW's Nancy Drew. Specifically, season 1 vibes. iykyk. But let's be honest. (Especially because nobody in this book knows how be.) I was always going to pick up this book up because B.R. Myers is one of my all-time favorite authors. Genevieve Timmons is a spiritualist struggling to survive in the 1850s of Victorian London. A job gone wrong leads to her being summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on the eve before her wedding. But for someone who can speak to dead, the line between what's real and not real aren't always so clear. I lied for a living, but in all those private gatherings, one thing remained the same— my truth. I craved to belong to a family. During a séance, when I was the conduit for a loved one, the family would look at me like I was the most important person in their lives. I felt loved. Among all that death was the only time I was truly alive— that was my dreadful splendor. A Dreadful Splendor is a hauntingly gothic atmospheric murder mystery. Those are not my usual genres to read. And it took me a little bit to get into the story. But before I realized it, I was sucked in this universe that I could completely picture in my mind. I read and finished the last sixty(ish) percent in a single afternoon. I didn't want the book to end but I kept flipping pages to find out 'whodunit'. Everytime I thought I had figured out the murderer, I was wrong. Of course, there are betrayals, shocking twists, and a little romance along the way. And now I'm left with a terrible but delicious book hangover. Death had been courting me all my life; I was ready to accept him with open arms. I didn’t know how to waltz, but I would dance with death tonight. EMILY DICKINSON VIBES JJSSKSK If you love a good rainy day Gothic murder mystery, Nancy Drew, Clue, Dickinson, the movie Redeeming Love, or Truly Devious then I highly recommend picking up A Dreadful Splendor. ***Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy.***

  6. 4 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    Oh my gosh! I absolutely adored B.R Myers' new novel, A Dreadful Splendor. And you will too! Why? Where to start!? A catchy, quirky title. 1850's London, England. Spiritualism. Séances. Con games. Dusty, damp gothic estate. Stern, foreboding housekeeper. A nervous maid. A very handsome Lord of the Manor. A 'cursed' family. Secrets. Danger. Every character with their own agenda. Mysteries, chills and romance. Whew, what more could you want? Oh, yes, a wonderful lead character. Meet Genevieve Timmon Oh my gosh! I absolutely adored B.R Myers' new novel, A Dreadful Splendor. And you will too! Why? Where to start!? A catchy, quirky title. 1850's London, England. Spiritualism. Séances. Con games. Dusty, damp gothic estate. Stern, foreboding housekeeper. A nervous maid. A very handsome Lord of the Manor. A 'cursed' family. Secrets. Danger. Every character with their own agenda. Mysteries, chills and romance. Whew, what more could you want? Oh, yes, a wonderful lead character. Meet Genevieve Timmons, who makes her living as a spiritualist to the wealthy. And perhaps one or two side gig as a thief. But, she's skated too close to the edge with this last job. The constabulary has her scheduled for the noose, until a lawyer for that estate mentioned above, asks Genevieve to hold a séance at the manor in exchange for getting that appointment cancelled. The reader can't help but like Genevieve, and be beside as she explores, discovers and acts on what she finds. Myers' descriptions are wonderfully detailed and I had vivid images of the manor in my mind as I read. And the players were just as well drawn and described as well. Myers keeps the reader guessing as the final aha moments. Perhaps Genevieve is not the con she seems to be? And Myers gifts the reader a lovely, almost at the end of the book, twist. Well done! A Dreadful Splendor was just so much fun to read! Absolutely recommended and an easy five stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Désirée Worrall-B

    I’m crying why is it over🥲🥲 Spookiness, mystery, murder, secrets, secret tunnels in the estate, romance, betrayal, ghosts, slight humour… this was perfect!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    I received a copy from William Morrow Paperbacks through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Genevieve Timmons is a spiritualist who provides peace for the mourning people who call on her. Her side business? Robbing the people who call on her so that she can keep herself afloat. When Genevieve’s luck finally runs out, she’s caught red handed as she tries to flee her latest job and finds herself in jail waiting for the gallows. Thankfully, a dying lawyer has offered her freedom in exchange I received a copy from William Morrow Paperbacks through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Genevieve Timmons is a spiritualist who provides peace for the mourning people who call on her. Her side business? Robbing the people who call on her so that she can keep herself afloat. When Genevieve’s luck finally runs out, she’s caught red handed as she tries to flee her latest job and finds herself in jail waiting for the gallows. Thankfully, a dying lawyer has offered her freedom in exchange for duping a mourning man into believing his late fiancée is at peace. The only problem is that Mr. Pemberton knows she can’t speak to the spirits, but he does strike a separate deal with her. If Genevieve uses her séance to guilt the person who killed his late fiancée to come clean, he won’t have her arrested for trying to steal from his home. When I picked up this book, I was not expecting the wild ride that I was in for. We follow Genevieve, a spiritualist who learned everything she knows from her late mother. Spiritualism is hard to get by on, so she’s resorted to stealing so that she isn’t forced to become a lady of the night under her landlord. Watching her unravel a murder mystery at Mr. Pemberton’s seems like it’d be a pretty clear case at first, but that is not the case at all. I had some theories that were totally wrong, but was it fun? Absolutely! There’s a diary entry from the late Audry between each chapter, which gives us a glimpse into her life. Genevieve believes that Audry killed herself the night before the wedding, and she’s not the only one who thinks that. However, Mr. Pemberton and others believe that she was murdered. I was with Genevieve at first, but the longer that I read the book, the more questions arose and it became clear that not everything was as it appeared. My theories on the matter weren’t on the right track, but when everything was revealed, it certainly made a lot of sense. One of my favorite parts of the book is watching Genevieve battle with herself about whether or not ghosts are real. At first, it appears that someone is purposely trying to spook her, but then she starts to question if Audry’s spirit is actually trying to contact her. It was so much fun to watch her go back and forth as she faced the possibility that she may be making contact with a spirit for the first time despite not believing in the possibility. While the plot is a wild read, there are quite a few characters and different plots. Other than Genevieve and Mr. Pembrum, there’s several characters who pop in and out. One of my favorites is Flora, who is a cheerful and naïve member of the staff that Genevieve cozies up to. Through her, we learn a lot of facts as well as the most recent gossip as it happens. There’s also a couple romance plots, and one is a very slow burn that’s not obvious until the pair continue to get to know each other. All in all, it was a wonderful read and it makes me excited to check out the author’s other works.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    There's been a bit of a trend recently of books about women who pretend to be psychic mediums. I'm really enjoying it, especially when the line between pretend spirits and real ones gets blurred. This was a good murder mystery, with several suspects and reveals that threw me off the trail. The setting was perfect, Victorian England in an old, kind of creepy estate. I definitely felt the atmosphere in this one and it was an overall fun read. I loved how the mystery played out and the fact that I There's been a bit of a trend recently of books about women who pretend to be psychic mediums. I'm really enjoying it, especially when the line between pretend spirits and real ones gets blurred. This was a good murder mystery, with several suspects and reveals that threw me off the trail. The setting was perfect, Victorian England in an old, kind of creepy estate. I definitely felt the atmosphere in this one and it was an overall fun read. I loved how the mystery played out and the fact that I didn't guess the ending was great. The author really did a good job of laying groundwork and then sweeping the rug out from under the reader. The only downside for me was that it felt slow, like the story should have been months instead of a week. This is because we get diary excerpts spanning years, plus Genevieve's backstory of growing up and learning to be a fake medium. I know these parts were important to the plot, but they really slowed down the excitement and maybe could have been trimmed. The narrator for the audiobook has a perfect voice to fit the main character and definitely added to the story. I definitely recommend this one! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Audio for the copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Unfortunately I did not enjoy this one. The premise sounded like something I'd love and I was drawn to the cover, but the execution did not work for me. The writing style just wasn't my cup of tea. It felt very juvenile, definitely read more like YA or even middle grade than adult. Many elements of the mystery felt glaringly obvious, others just seemed silly to me. There were some twists and turns I didn't see, but I didn't really care about any of the characters or feel any chemistry in the rom Unfortunately I did not enjoy this one. The premise sounded like something I'd love and I was drawn to the cover, but the execution did not work for me. The writing style just wasn't my cup of tea. It felt very juvenile, definitely read more like YA or even middle grade than adult. Many elements of the mystery felt glaringly obvious, others just seemed silly to me. There were some twists and turns I didn't see, but I didn't really care about any of the characters or feel any chemistry in the romance. I was bored most of the way through and never really connected with the book. I'd have DNF'd early on, but it was an ARC so I finished it, but it just was not a good match for my reading tastes. *Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (via Netgalley) Closer to 4.5 stars. I enjoyed this! It moved at a good pace that made it hard to put down at times. I had some suspicions on the twists but most of my guesses were off the mark. I wouldn't mind seeing more from the characters in future stories. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (via Netgalley) Closer to 4.5 stars. I enjoyed this! It moved at a good pace that made it hard to put down at times. I had some suspicions on the twists but most of my guesses were off the mark. I wouldn't mind seeing more from the characters in future stories.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie Young

    I’m a sucker for Gothic horror. I’m not used to romance being threaded in it as well. This one really lands the genre tropes of Gothic but the romance could have been more…romance-y…? Thoroughly enjoyed it!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    This book is a wild ride: ✨A fake spiritualist ✨The death of a bride-to-be ✨A family curse ✨A gothic manor ✨Romance ✨Real ghosts?! Genevieve is an accomplished fake spiritualist.🔮 She helps wealthy clients “connect” with their dearly departed, and in exchange, sometimes takes a few things. 💎 After getting arrested, she received a visit from a stranger who offers her help in return for faking a seance for his employer. Without many options, she follows him to the gothic home of Mr. Pemberton. All she h This book is a wild ride: ✨A fake spiritualist ✨The death of a bride-to-be ✨A family curse ✨A gothic manor ✨Romance ✨Real ghosts?! Genevieve is an accomplished fake spiritualist.🔮 She helps wealthy clients “connect” with their dearly departed, and in exchange, sometimes takes a few things. 💎 After getting arrested, she received a visit from a stranger who offers her help in return for faking a seance for his employer. Without many options, she follows him to the gothic home of Mr. Pemberton. All she has to do, is put in the show of a lifetime. 👻🪦💀 Genevieve is a sassy character! I loved learning about how she got into the faux seance game, and watching her navigate a tricky situation, caught between two men with their own agendas. The romance and spicy banter is a fun addition to the story.💕 There was also question of who was responsible for Mr. Pemberton’s fiancé death, which adds a definite edge to the romance. This was a fun atmospheric murder mystery, with a splash of romance. The spooky atmosphere of the book was perfect, and despite the seances being fake, who can say if ghosts aren’t real? 👻 ✨Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for the gifted copy of the book!✨

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    Thank you Harper Collins Canada and NetGalley for this advanced copy of A Dreadful Spleandour! I really liked it! It's a historical fiction, cozy mystery which I think is a great combo. Set in the 1850s, we meet Genevieve who gets arrested for stealing jewels from her séance clients. But, she gets bailed out by a lawyer who needs her help to relieve his employer from the grief of losing his fiancé Audra. What really happened to Audra becomes the focus of the story as Genevieve begins to uncover Thank you Harper Collins Canada and NetGalley for this advanced copy of A Dreadful Spleandour! I really liked it! It's a historical fiction, cozy mystery which I think is a great combo. Set in the 1850s, we meet Genevieve who gets arrested for stealing jewels from her séance clients. But, she gets bailed out by a lawyer who needs her help to relieve his employer from the grief of losing his fiancé Audra. What really happened to Audra becomes the focus of the story as Genevieve begins to uncover clues and unwind the truth! The characters are great, Genevieve, Gareth, Flora, and the rest were remarkable. Mrs. Donovan gave me Mrs. Danvers (from Rebecca) vibes. The story was mysterious and clever. The twist at the end I only partly saw coming but I enjoyed unfolding the results of the mystery!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Camryn

    Despite not being one to typically read gothic fiction, I was drawn to the premise of this book and was pleasantly surprised with how much I appreciated this story Although the plot started off a little slow for me, I was completely drawn in by the end and invested in the conclusion. I found the mystery and plot twist to be surprising enough yet not unreasonable, and everything wrapped up quite nicely. Genevieve as a main character and narrator was amusing; morally gray and self-serving, you're Despite not being one to typically read gothic fiction, I was drawn to the premise of this book and was pleasantly surprised with how much I appreciated this story Although the plot started off a little slow for me, I was completely drawn in by the end and invested in the conclusion. I found the mystery and plot twist to be surprising enough yet not unreasonable, and everything wrapped up quite nicely. Genevieve as a main character and narrator was amusing; morally gray and self-serving, you're presented with her honest takes on each character and situation, and I found her surprisingly reliable. Overall, I gave this story 4.1 stars for a great mix of mystery, romance, and gothicism with a solid ending. Big thanks to the publisher, Harper Collins, for providing me with an advance reading copy via NetGalley!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Hastings

    The Dreadful Splendor was splendidly dreadful! With séances, ghosts, a creepy estate by the ocean, and lots of twists! I read it in one sitting. I could not put it down! I was sure that the murderer was each character at different parts of the book. Jenny was a multifaceted character that became more developed in every chapter. I longed to know her secrets! Author B. R. Myers also spins a slow burning romance that has me melting. It’s the perfect pick for fans of Victorian history, mysteries, an The Dreadful Splendor was splendidly dreadful! With séances, ghosts, a creepy estate by the ocean, and lots of twists! I read it in one sitting. I could not put it down! I was sure that the murderer was each character at different parts of the book. Jenny was a multifaceted character that became more developed in every chapter. I longed to know her secrets! Author B. R. Myers also spins a slow burning romance that has me melting. It’s the perfect pick for fans of Victorian history, mysteries, and Gothic romance.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Markia (hoesreadtoo)

    2.5/5 This was an OK read. The premise really intrigued me and the gorgeous cover drew me to the book, but the execution fell flat. Meyers did a decent job establishing the gothic atmosphere. The mystery was predictable and there was more character development needed. The middle dragged quite a bit. I was happy I was correct about the ending tho! Overall, it’s a solid quick read for those searching for a gothic mystery with a dash of romance. Huge thanks to William Morrow & NetGalley for providi 2.5/5 This was an OK read. The premise really intrigued me and the gorgeous cover drew me to the book, but the execution fell flat. Meyers did a decent job establishing the gothic atmosphere. The mystery was predictable and there was more character development needed. The middle dragged quite a bit. I was happy I was correct about the ending tho! Overall, it’s a solid quick read for those searching for a gothic mystery with a dash of romance. Huge thanks to William Morrow & NetGalley for providing this arc in exchange for my honest review!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alicia A.

    This is the first book I’ve ever received a free ARC for which was very exciting, and I ended up enjoying it much more than I anticipated. The book had an “if Agatha Christie had written gothic romance mysteries” feel to it. It did feel slightly more YA than adult, but I liked the shorter chapters that had diary entries and flashbacks interspersed throughout the main storyline to keep you going. I also enjoyed the slow burn romance.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    Thank you so much to NetGallery for an advanced e-copy of this book! A gothic romance murder mystery with some fantasy and paranormal sprinkled in - yes please! The minute I read the synopsis of this book; I knew I needed to read it. ⭐️ London, 1852. Genevieve Timmons has made her living posing as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy believers, until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger, Mr. Lockhart, arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The lord he serves, Mr. Thank you so much to NetGallery for an advanced e-copy of this book! A gothic romance murder mystery with some fantasy and paranormal sprinkled in - yes please! The minute I read the synopsis of this book; I knew I needed to read it. ⭐️ London, 1852. Genevieve Timmons has made her living posing as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy believers, until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger, Mr. Lockhart, arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been grieving the mysterious death of his beautiful bride-to-be for six months. Although no foul play was ever uncovered, the young lord is convinced that she was murdered. If Genevieve can hold a séance to persuade him that his betrothed’s spirit is at peace, Mr. Lockhart promises to have the charges against her dismissed and reward her with enough money to start a new life. But when Genevieve arrives at Somerset Park estate, she discovers that the handsome and aloof Mr. Pemberton is anything but the heartbroken lover she expected. Mr. Pemberton then approaches Genevieve with an offer of his own: together, they will stage a séance so convincing it will coax the killer out of the shadows. Attempting to play both sides until she can determine which plan holds the key to her freedom, Genevieve prepares to stage a haunting. But when ghoulish incidents begin to plague the manor, the dogged heroine realizes her tricks may not be required after all. Somerset and its residents are hiding many deadly secrets, and its ghosts could be all too real. ⭐️ This was such an enjoyable read. The description of the setting was so eloquent that I could taste the salt of the ocean and feel the eerie cold of the huge estate. The characters were all so amazingly crafted. Some I loved, some not as much, but all of them made me feel so many emotions. I had suspicions of everyone, and questioned so many things. Getting little bits of clues was amazing and I liked trying to solve the mystery. The romance in this is a slow burn, but oh so good. I was rooting for the main character so much, that I felt scared and heartbroken and frustrated and happy for her in all the situations she was placed in. I absolutely could not put this book down, I needed to keep reading! Such a great novel. Definite must read! ❤️

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Dang

    A gothic murder mystery involving the murdered fiancee of a grumpy lord and the spiritualist hired to deceive him. Genevieve “Jenny” Timmons is a spiritualist, making money by swindling wealthy mourners. She’s still grieving the death of her mother and is in desperate need of money to run away from her current situation... but one too many attempts has landed her in on the way to the gallows... except a mysterious stranger bails her out of prison and gives her an offer : if she helps trick or br A gothic murder mystery involving the murdered fiancee of a grumpy lord and the spiritualist hired to deceive him. Genevieve “Jenny” Timmons is a spiritualist, making money by swindling wealthy mourners. She’s still grieving the death of her mother and is in desperate need of money to run away from her current situation... but one too many attempts has landed her in on the way to the gallows... except a mysterious stranger bails her out of prison and gives her an offer : if she helps trick or bring peace to the lord of Somerset Park , Mr. Pemberton, who is grieving the death of his beautiful fiancee and is convinced her tragic suicide is actually a murder, then the stranger, turned out lawyer, will help clear Genevieve out of her charges. Yet upon arrival at the estate Genevieve senses something is off. This beautiful gothic place has many dark secrets and ghosts hiding in it... When Mr. Pemberton catches onto Genevieve he proposes a new deal, if she helps him find the murderer of his fiancee through a seance performance he will make sure she isn’t arrested. Gareth Pemberton is grumpy, stubborn, and cold.... and he isn’t as heartbroken as Genevieve was lead to believe, rather he is determined to find out what is actually happening in his estate and who is responsible for the murder. The more Genevieve looks into the mystery the more she feels like she might actually be seeing the ghosts of the former fiancee and more strange things are happening around the estate... strange messages are appearing... and everyone is under suspicion as to who the killer truly is. The more Genevieve and Gareth spend time together trying to solve this mystery the more they realize that they might not be so different after all and that they truly understand one another. Filled with mystery, romance, and fantastic plot twist, this was one heck of a gothic murder mystery! It truly had me guessing at who it was, I had two possible guesses and the first one didn’t pan out but the second did ( and oh boy was it fantastic when it was revealed)! It’s the perfect mixture of ghost murder mystery and enemies to lovers romance between two people who are completely different. I would highly recommend this for mystery and romance lovers alike! *Thanks Netgalley and William Morrow, William Morrow Paperbacks for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terrie

    I'm thankful to William Morrow.an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers for the opportunity to read this free book. It is set in 1850's Victorian England.A penniless orphan and her French mother hold seances for grieving families to make money or they would both have work in a brothel.Jenny Timmons,after her mother's death,holds a seance on her own, & is taken to jail ,for trying to make off with the families jewelry.A lawyer,gets her out ,as he supposedly wants to hold a seance to bring peace to a I'm thankful to William Morrow.an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers for the opportunity to read this free book. It is set in 1850's Victorian England.A penniless orphan and her French mother hold seances for grieving families to make money or they would both have work in a brothel.Jenny Timmons,after her mother's death,holds a seance on her own, & is taken to jail ,for trying to make off with the families jewelry.A lawyer,gets her out ,as he supposedly wants to hold a seance to bring peace to a client whose fiance committed suicide the night before the wedding.It wasn't a love match.The husband -to-be was the new heir of the ancestral home & estates,because the bride to be couldn't inherit ,being a daughter,and would have been left without a home or money.The new heir is young & handsome ,so no one can figure out why she would have thrown herself off a cliff into the sea,and foul play of some sort is suspected,or possibly not,as mental instability was difficult to cover up in previous generations.This is a gothic romance type novel ,but stories where some plucky,spunky,penniless orphan,thief, of a young woman(dreading her nineteenth birthday,not far off, as a fortuneteller told her,years ago, that she wouldn't live to see that birthday)meets the rich,handsome,lord of the manor and thinks they might live happily ever after,is a bit too fairy -tale-ish for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers is a great gothic novel that has a bit of mystery, suspense, and romance all wrapped up into one. I really enjoyed dabbling in this entertaining and relaxing Gothic fiction. It was smooth and easy to read in regards of pacing, narrative, plot, and subject matter. I liked how the author crafted a story that placed the reader into the historical context, all the while adding a spooky, Gothic feel that really added to the mystery, suspense, and intrigue. The slow b A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers is a great gothic novel that has a bit of mystery, suspense, and romance all wrapped up into one. I really enjoyed dabbling in this entertaining and relaxing Gothic fiction. It was smooth and easy to read in regards of pacing, narrative, plot, and subject matter. I liked how the author crafted a story that placed the reader into the historical context, all the while adding a spooky, Gothic feel that really added to the mystery, suspense, and intrigue. The slow burn of a romance was a great addition as well. It gave a softer edge to the storyline. I loved the setting of Somerset Park estate set in London during the Victorian era. Such a perfect backdrop to add that magical, “spiritual” atmosphere. I liked Genevieve. She was fun, sassy, relatable, and made a great con-artist and a great other half to the parter in crime, Mr. Pemberton. There were twists and turns, surprises, and I was thoroughly engaged to follow along on their sleuthing. Very entertaining. 4.5/5 stars Thank you NG and William Morrow for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 8/23/22.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Murphy

    My first gothic romance and this one did not disappoint. Mystery, suspense, and romance all in one story.. say less. I was drawn to this book by the summary and stayed for the morally grey main character and the seances. Unlike most mystery books I read, where I can almost always tell who is "shady" or the culprit... this one had me thinking every single character at one point was the villain in disguise. My only knock on this book was that it read like a YA book, and I am not sure if it was mar My first gothic romance and this one did not disappoint. Mystery, suspense, and romance all in one story.. say less. I was drawn to this book by the summary and stayed for the morally grey main character and the seances. Unlike most mystery books I read, where I can almost always tell who is "shady" or the culprit... this one had me thinking every single character at one point was the villain in disguise. My only knock on this book was that it read like a YA book, and I am not sure if it was marked as one, but there are some more adult themes intertwined throughout. All in all, I would recommend this fast-paced, gothic murder mystery romance book to anyone who is looking for a fun read and has an appreciation for ghosts.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom Ryan

    I was flattered when B.R. Myers asked me to read/blurb A DREADFUL SPLENDOR - what a great read! (My blurb) Thrilling, atmospheric and propulsive, with healthy doses of heart and humor thrown in for good measure, A DREADFUL SPLENDOR is a cleverly crafted mystery with an irrepressible heroine you won’t soon forget. I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun reading a book! Tom Ryan, award winning author of Keep This to Yourself

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dianna Rostad

    Sumptuous and twisting!! I was so entertained by A Dreadful Splendor with all its turns and pacing. It’s one of those rare stories where you love all the ghastly villains!! The dashing hero was a flesh and blood—and blonde Mr. Darcy. Totally enjoyable!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Inkognito

    Indulgent, escapist, charming, fun. A blend of spooky, romantic, and mysterious. This is a total romp and a breeze to read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katie Bogdan

    3.5 stars I don't know how it happened, but it seems like 2022 has suddenly become my year of figuring out where I stand on Gothic novels and discovering my likes and dislikes within the genre. A Dreadful Splendor is the third such novel I have read in the past month and I absolutely burned through it! Rather than having a naive, virginal heroine arrive at the isolated manor of the dark, brooding hero, Myers gives her protagonist Jenny some teeth by making her a fake spiritualist who has both stre 3.5 stars I don't know how it happened, but it seems like 2022 has suddenly become my year of figuring out where I stand on Gothic novels and discovering my likes and dislikes within the genre. A Dreadful Splendor is the third such novel I have read in the past month and I absolutely burned through it! Rather than having a naive, virginal heroine arrive at the isolated manor of the dark, brooding hero, Myers gives her protagonist Jenny some teeth by making her a fake spiritualist who has both street smarts and some darkness of her own. It is a variation on the classic gothic tropes that pays off wonderfully as we watch a heroine who is sure that there is no life beyond the grave haunted by the spirits of the manor and of her past. Interspersing the chapters from Jenny's perspective with excerpts from the diary of the hero's dead fiancé is another great update that really propelled the novel along and made me say "just one more chapter" over and over again. Honestly, the thing about this book that let me down the most was the big reveal. I don't know if it was just me, but I saw almost every facet of it coming a mile away and it barely left an impact. On top of that, it managed to be drawn out and yet not fully realized. Maybe it's because I didn't really believe in the romance that had apparently developed along the way. A Dreadful Splendor is definitely a engrossing read that does some lovely things to subvert the classic Gothic tropes, but in the end, I still found myself wanting more from it. Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow Paperbacks for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!

  28. 5 out of 5

    readthisandsteep

    I loved the audiobook of A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers! A Gothic murder mystery set in Victorian London, it hit all the right notes for an atmospheric, suspenseful, and spooky listen.   Genevieve Timmons is a fake spiritualist who survives by defrauding mourning families who have hired her to conduct seances. Jailed and facing the gallows, she is unexpectedly released after agreeing to conduct a sham seance for a grieving nobleman who lost his fiance the night before their wedding, and if thi I loved the audiobook of A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers! A Gothic murder mystery set in Victorian London, it hit all the right notes for an atmospheric, suspenseful, and spooky listen.   Genevieve Timmons is a fake spiritualist who survives by defrauding mourning families who have hired her to conduct seances. Jailed and facing the gallows, she is unexpectedly released after agreeing to conduct a sham seance for a grieving nobleman who lost his fiance the night before their wedding, and if things go well, she may earn her freedom. However, once Genevieve arrives at Somerset Park estate, she learns that the handsome nobleman suspects his fiance was murdered. He then enlists Genevieve's help to unmask a killer among them, and they are not at a loss for suspects. Genevieve knows ghosts aren't real but frightening occurrences, and spooked household staff talking about a curse have her wondering if perhaps this time, she is genuinely dealing with the supernatural.   Narrator Olivia Vinall @olivia_vinall adds to the emotion and suspense through her mesmerizing portrayal of the spirited and resourceful Genevieve. Her performance also brings to life multiple characters with different attributes and accents and even the atmosphere of the creepy house. She is excellent! This engrossing period mystery brims with an eery Gothic moodiness, betrayals, suspicions, romance, and ghosts. It was well-written, twisty, and so much fun! Thank you so much to @brmyerswriter @netgalley and @harperaudio for the opportunity to review this Advanced Listening Copy I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    1st reading : 24th-26th April 2022 Rating : 3.5 out of 5 - 24th book in the month of April 2022 - 99th book in 2022 reading challenge Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley + in exchange for an honest opinion. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC! Victorian era suspense with a fake spiritualist who turns out to be also a murderer? The book follows our main character, Geneive Timmons, who is a fake spiritualist, a thief, and a ‘murderer’. She performs a séance for the grieving family and then she’l 1st reading : 24th-26th April 2022 Rating : 3.5 out of 5 - 24th book in the month of April 2022 - 99th book in 2022 reading challenge Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley + in exchange for an honest opinion. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC! Victorian era suspense with a fake spiritualist who turns out to be also a murderer? The book follows our main character, Geneive Timmons, who is a fake spiritualist, a thief, and a ‘murderer’. She performs a séance for the grieving family and then she’ll rob their jewelry. Until one day, she was set up, caught, and was brought to a local prison. But then, this mysterious man came to her offering a job to perform a séance for his grieving lord, Mr. Pemberton. She went to the Somerset Park estate in order to perform the séance and get her way out of the town far away from the local police. Unfortunately, it seems that fate wants her to do something far bigger than what she planned. I got mixed feelings about this book. It’s not that good but it’s not bad too. I don’t even really sure about the genres in this book. They’re probably YA historical fiction and suspense. The first 50% of the book just roams about the main character’s situation in Somerset Park and the background history surrounding Somerset Park. It’s pretty slow and if you’re not into that shit or if you don’t like the MC, you’ll probably DNF’ed this book early. Shits start happening in the next 50% of the book. I got disappointed and confused throughout the next 50% of the book (because it’s probably YA mystery). What happens at the end doesn’t make any sense. The twists are everywhere but also out of nowhere. Well, people die at the end of the book but again, it doesn’t make any sense. (view spoiler)[I hate it when the story spins right away toward a direction that is absolute nonsense. Like the way Lady Audra still alive and wants revenge while she actually caught in love between those three men (ehem no, they’re only two of them). The ending is likable and sad (because our MC’s mother was killed by the boarding house owner…I forgot her name). (hide spoiler)] The romance is barely there, it's probably a 7% of the book. The suspense is everwhere and you can't help but getting sus at everyone else. I think this book is an okay book, there is a lot of potential but they just deflate into the air. I’m glad that I finally finished this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    This was fun read. It starts with one of my absolute favorite tropes: One Last Job. The job should be easy, open and shut and then the criminal, in this case spiritualist/conman Genevieve Timmons, can take her nest egg, get out of town, and live a quiet life in the country or on the beach or whatever. But it is never easy. That last job could cost Genevieve everything, from her money to her freedom to her heart to her life. It has everything you could want from a historical mystery. It's a locke This was fun read. It starts with one of my absolute favorite tropes: One Last Job. The job should be easy, open and shut and then the criminal, in this case spiritualist/conman Genevieve Timmons, can take her nest egg, get out of town, and live a quiet life in the country or on the beach or whatever. But it is never easy. That last job could cost Genevieve everything, from her money to her freedom to her heart to her life. It has everything you could want from a historical mystery. It's a locked-room cold-case set on a grand estate full of vicious servants, haunted portraits, and rumors of a family curse. Rather than a constable or private investigator, the detective on the case is the spiritualist Genevieve Timmons. That is, Miss Timmons is a woman who earns a living by conning rich people into believing she can speak with the spirits of their dearly departed. And if she wants to avoid prison, or worse, the gallows for her years of charlatanism, she must help the Lord Chadwick discover what really happened to his late bride-to-be. This book is full of twists, and just when you think you've got it, another piece of evidence is revealed turning the whole case on it's head. I totally fell for the red herrings, but the whole mystery made perfect sense once it was explained, by the perpetrator, in a dramatic monologue. It's an excellently crafted story, and i would highly recommend it to anyone who likes a historical mystery. My only gripe is that I don't think it needed the romance element. That may sound strange coming from me, as I am known to love romance and be able to see a love story in just about everything, but I think that Genevieve's romantic love plot distracted from the rest of the book. Her budding relationship with the young Lord (because who else could it be), detracts from the themes of grief and learning to no blame yourself for the actions of others. It also messes with the pacing of the book, as I felt that a good chunk of the book very close to the tense ending was spent developing their relationship rather than developing the mystery.

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