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REVIEW: No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby

Published: Mach 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Aria
Genre: Satire, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Romance Novel
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my review for No Life For A Lady. Thank you to the Tandem Collective for my place on the VIP readalong and Head of Zeus for the gifted proof.



The most joyful book of 2023!

Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…

At 28, Violet’s father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton’s vanishing before it’s too late?

A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs BirdThe Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.



“Detective work is no life for a lady.”

A joyous romp with lashings of humour, No Life For A Lady is an original and uplifting debut. It follows Violet, a delightful new heroine who I absolutely adored. She isn’t your typical Victorian woman, going against social conventions by not wanting to get married and pursuing a career instead. But more than anything else, what Violet wants is to find her mother, Lily, who vanished 10 years ago. But there is no such thing as a lady detective, so Violet hires a professional to help, sparking a chain of events that risk not only Violet’s reputation, but unearths shocking secrets that some people will do anything to keep hidden. 

I’m a big fan of historical fiction, mysteries and uplift, so this was the perfect mix of genres for me. It was an absolute joy to read and I couldn’t get enough of Violet and her antics. The mystery unravels slowly, with some twists and surprises along the way, but what I particularly liked was that this is also the story of Violet’s journey of self-discovery, author Hannah Dolby weaving the two storylines together so they are inextricably linked. I loved how Dolby injected so much heart, humour and joy into the book, making a story that could have been very dark into one that radiates fun and hopefulness. 

Violet is a great protagonist. Inquisitive, tenacious and full of charisma, she was easy to like and root for, though I would sometimes cringe at her naivete that is a product of both her sheltered upbringing and the times they lived in. Violet lives in a time where autonomy for women is still an alien concept and there strict moral and societal codes she is expected to adhere to. But Violet rails against this, wanting to make her own way in life and pursue a career, rather than making marriage her priority and only goal in life. At 28 she is deemed pretty much over the hill and the idea she might not actually want a husband is unthinkable to most. She is a new favourite heroine of mine and I can’t imagine anyone not loving her. 

Funny, quirky and addictive, this marvellous debut is one you all need on your TBR. I’m hoping Ms. Dolby will turn this into a series so I can return to Violet and her antics again and again. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰



Hannah’s first job was in the circus and she has aimed to keep life as interesting since. She trained as a journalist in Hastings and has worked in PR for many years, promoting museums, galleries, palaces, gardens and even Dolly the sheep.

She completed the Curtis Brown selective three-month novel writing course, and she won runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print Awards for this novel with the price of a place on an MA in Comedy Writing at the University of Falmouth. She lives in London and her debut novel, No Life for a Lady, will be published in Spring 2023.



Waterstones | Amazon |


Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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