Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao

Whispers of Warning
Author:  Jessica Estevao
Series:  A Change of Fortune Mystery 2
Publisher:  Berkley, September 19, 2017
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  US$15.00 (print); US$11.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780425281611 (print); 9780698197176 (eBook)

Ruby Proulx’s new life in Orchard Beach, Maine, faces some sinister complications in the next Change of Fortune Mystery by Jessica Estevao…

Free from the clutches of her con artist father, Ruby Proulx is starting to settle in at the Belden, her aunt Honoria’s seaside hotel. She loves finally being rooted in one place and also feels a sense of purpose as she helps Honoria keep her business afloat by acting as a psychic medium for the hotel’s metaphysically inclined guests.

When one of the guests, renowned Spiritualist and outspoken suffragist Sophronia Foster Eldridge, checks into the hotel for a monthlong stay, Ruby finds her sense of purpose expands outside the confines of home and family. Sophronia takes Ruby under her wing and mentors her in the mediumistic abilities, encouraging her to fight for women’s rights.

But not everyone is as happy with Sophronia’s appearance in Old Orchard. When a dangerous act of sabotage is carried out and a body is found floating in the pool of a local bathhouse, Ruby takes it upon herself to find answers— and in the process learns that her new friend has been hiding some deadly secrets of her own…

Qwill's Thoughts

The intrepid Ruby Proulx is at it again in Whispers of Warning, the 2nd novel in the Change of Fortune Mysteries by Jessica Estevao.

The events take place just a few weeks after Whispers Beyond the Veil. Ruby is settling into her life at the Belden Hotel, which is owned by her Aunt Honoria Belden. The Belden has carved out a niche as a hotel for those interested in Spiritualism. The staff includes practitioners of the spiritual arts and Ruby has become the resident medium. The hotel is located on Orchard Beach in Old Orchard, Maine, a popular seaside resort town. The new pier is about to be opened and will be the largest pleasure pier in the world. This is drawing crowds to Old Orchard. At the same time well-known spiritualist and women's suffrage advocate Sophronia Foster Eldridge is also in town giving speeches and setting up a march for women's rights despite wide-spread resistance.

Many of the characters we've met in the first novel are back again - the hotel staff, Honoria's suitor George Cheswick, Officer Warren Yancey, Ruby's best friend Lucy Yancey, and many more.

The historical backdrop is fascinating and presented organically in the novel. Estevao's first novel as well as Whispers of Warning makes me curious about the history of the era - the late 1890s. And I do admit to reading up on some of the historical issues Estevao presents. While additional reading is completely unnecessary to understanding the events in this novel, I love when a novel piques my curiosity about history.

Whispers of Warning is a slow and pleasant burn. Unlike many mysteries there is no death in the first half of the novel. Rather Estevao lays the foundation for the upcoming events with excellent character and plot building. Honestly I could just read about Ruby's day to day life and interactions without a mystery at all. She is a complex character trying to find her way in her new circumstances after growing up traveling in a medicine show with her not so pleasant father. While she chafes at the limits put on women of her era she does what she can to be independent. She also tends to upset the apple cart on occasion and discomfit many of the men that she encounters. You can't help but hope that everything turns out for the best for Ruby.

Whispers of Warning is beautifully written with great characters, a touch of the supernatural, unexpected twists and turns, and an engrossing mystery. I am looking forward to further adventures with Ruby Proulx.


Whispers Beyond the Veil
A Change of Fortune Mystery 1
Berkley, September 6, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

First in a dazzling new historical mystery series featuring Ruby Proulx, a psychic with a questionable past who suddenly finds her future most uncertain…

Canada, 1898. The only life Ruby Proulx has ever known is that of a nomad, traveling across the country with her snake-oil salesman father. She dreams of taking root somewhere, someday, but, until she can, she makes her way by reading tarot cards. Yet she never imagined her own life would take such a turn…

After one of her father’s medical “miracles” goes deadly wrong, Ruby evades authorities by hiding in the seaside resort town of Old Orchard, Maine, where her estranged aunt, Honoria, owns the Hotel Belden, a unique residence that caters to Spiritualists—a place where Ruby should be safe as long as she can keep her dark secret hidden.

But Ruby’s plan begins to crumble after a psychic investigator checks into the hotel and senses Ruby is hiding more than she’s letting on. Now Ruby must do what she can to escape both his attention and Aunt Honoria’s insistence that she has a true gift, before she loses her precious new home and family forever…

Review here.


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