Sense & Second-Degree Murder | ARC Review

Sense & Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price

Published: April 5, 2022

Format: E-book ARC 📱

Tags: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

| Synopsis from the Publisher |

When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.

But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.

Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love.

Keywords to describe this book:

I received a complimentary HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperTeen through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

~My Thoughts~

📖 Content 📖 |

👭 The Dashwood Sisters

Price really does an amazing job of bringing Austen’s characters to life in their new roles as sleuth, chemist, and aspiring writer. I love how she transformed them into Regency-era feminists, hoping to break down barriers and make their way in professions that would normally be closed to them. I also really think Price manages to capture the essence of each Dashwood sister, but still makes new characters out of them. Marianne is actually my least favorite Dashwood sister, normally, but Price managed to win me over to her with her reimagined Marianne who longs to take over the father’s private investigation business. Elinor is, as always, the pillar of the family and does everything she can to support and protect her sisters, while aspiring to be a chemist. And of course Margaret is still the precocious younger sister, but with her own spitfire attitude in this book. They all make a great team.

🕵️‍♀️ The Mystery

I honestly had no idea who was behind the father’s suspicious death. Price kept me guessing, and that’s one of the things I love about this little mystery. There are many twists and turns, but the plot really pulls you along. The mystery is probably one of my favorite parts about this story. I think it makes the book a page-turner and I enjoyed waiting to see how the Dashwood sisters would solve it, especially since their romance lines were also woven in amongst the murder mystery plot. If you like amateur sleuthing and period drama, this book has all of that and it’s exciting, too!

🗣️ The Dialogue

One thing I can really appreciate about this book is the smart, snappy dialogue. I remember really enjoying the first book in this series because of the writing and Price doesn’t let me down with this book, either! I love the balance between the feminist leanings and the expected responses from this period in history. The Dashwood sisters and everyone in the story sound like the came right out of a BBC drama, but they also manage to capture my heart as a modern reader. I think Price strikes up a good balance between bending social norms and creating a believable world for her Regency characters to live in.

| 📝 Literary Value 📝 |

I spoke about this a bit in the previous section, but I love how good the dialogue is in this book. All the characters sound like real people and there is a lot of really witty moments sprinkled throughout, too. The plot is well structured, and the mystery itself is well-formulated, so it makes for a really easy read. I didn’t want to put the book down, since the story really grabbed me and kept me interested. Partly, this is because I love Austen stories so much, but Price does Austen so well that it’s hard not to love her writing, too. She puts her own spin on things, but still manages to create believable characters and world for the story.

| 🎭 Entertainment Factor 🎭 |

If you couldn’t tell before, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The mystery was good enough to keep me guessing throughout, the characters were fresh and new versions of themselves, and the writing brought everything together. I really love the story of Sense and Sensibility, so it’s to Price’s credit that I enjoyed reading her version so much, because it doesn’t feel like a rehash of Austen’s work. She makes the story her own and does an excellent job, too, by redressing the characters, creating new situations, and interpreting the book into a mystery format. I had a great time and I am really happy Price kept the bar high with this book.

Read Alikes:

| A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee | The Red Palace by June Hur | A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro |

| My Rating |

Definitely Worth the Read

Another winner from Price! This is such a great follow up to her first novel, Pride & Premeditation. I love her take on Sense & Sensibility, transforming the Dashwood sisters into investigators, chemists, and aspiring authors. This book is full of suspense, humor, and soft romance.

I love Price’s writing style. She captures the time period so well, not only with the dialogue, but also with how the characters think and act. I think she does Austen such a good turn by envisioning bold, aspiring women who are here to break barriers to their sex. Elinor Dashwood is one of my favorite Austen characters and I think she is so well represented here. Price even got me to appreciate Marianne, a character I normally dislike!

I think the plot is another winner for this book. It’s bright, snappy, and ties up nicely at the end. It’s an easy read, even a bit of a page-turner, and I found myself still guessing till the end. I like how Price wraps things up and I think it’s a very satisfying mystery, all in all.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what Price has in store next!

How about you?

Let me know what you think! If you’ve read Sense and Second-Degree Murder, share your thoughts! If not – are you going to read it or pass on it? Tell me all about it in the comments. Keep up the reading!

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