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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller
Progress: 28/182 pages
Due or Die
Jenn McKinlay
Progress: 128/273 pages
Making Arrangements
Progress: 44 %
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Peter Godfrey-Smith
Progress: 41/255 pages
A Rational Arrangement
L. Rowyn
Progress: 179/537 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes

Her Royal Spyness (A Royal Spyness Mystery)

Her Royal Spyness - Rhys Bowen It's the 1930s and just about everyone's having money problems, including Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (aka Georgie). When she overhears her brother and his wife discussing marrying her off to a cold fish of a man, Georgie decides to take a trip to London (Georgie lives in dreary Scotland). Of course, the family can't afford to send a maid with her, and Georgie can't afford to hire one while in London (her brother cut her allowance off ages ago), so she's left to fend for herself. The Queen asks her to spy on her son and his newest lady friend and hints that Georgie might be sent off to be a lady-in-waiting in the middle of nowhere. Georgie has to do what the Queen has asked and somehow figure out how to earn a living while at the same time avoiding any actions that might get her assigned to a life of boredom in the country.Georgie tries a job at Harrod's - she doesn't even make it through a day. In the process of learning to take care of her own living quarters (her grandfather, who's a commoner and a former cop, tells her how to light a fireplace, and she figures out how to toast bread and clean things), Georgie has what she thinks is a brilliant idea - become a one-woman cleaning service. She'll change sheets, do a bit of scrubbing and dusting, and try to make sure that no one of her class finds out what she's resorting to for money.While Georgie tries to figure out how to support herself, she meets a handsome minor royal, an Irishman who's also short on funds. He's interesting, fun, and attractive, but he's not suitable husband material - that doesn't stop Georgie's best friend from encouraging her to have a fling with him and finally cease being a virgin. Unfortunately, Georgie's life isn't just work and a handsome man. Her brother has come to London with bad news: apparently, their father gambled away the family estate, and now the winner has come to collect. When that man turns up dead in the family's London home, Georgie and especially her brother are suspects. Georgie has to figure out who killed him before whoever did it manages to kill her, all while doing some spying for the Queen and cleaning other people's houses.The cover of this book makes me think "lively and fun" and that's exactly what this book is. I wasn't sure what to think of Georgie, at first - she's well-bred, which often translates to "annoying and stuck-up" in books and movies, and she complains about her circumstances but refuses any of the quickest solutions to her problems. I came to like her pretty quickly, however. Although I never really could understand why becoming a lady-in-waiting was such a bad fate, I enjoyed the ways she tried to solve her own problems. She didn't ask her grandfather to fix everything, especially after she realized that he was probably in more dire monetary straits than she. She lost the job at Harrod's through no real fault of her own, and her decision to become a cleaning lady was fairly logical, if naive (which fits her character, anyway).Mystery fans should be warned that it takes a while for the mystery (the murdered man) to be introduced - the first part of the book establishes Georgie's character and her predicament and sets the story's fairly light and humorous tone. Once the murder does happen, it becomes extremely easy to forget all the other things Georgie is supposed to be doing - Bowen does try to remind the reader here and there, but in the end Georgie doesn't do much cleaning, and spying for the Queen just sort of swoops in and takes over the whole story.Overall, I really enjoyed this book and hope to read more of this series. The historical details, humor, and tiny bit of romance were tons of fun, and the book itself was a very quick read (I finished it in a day).(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)