31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan – Review

Who killed Dr. Harvey Burdell?
Though there are no witnesses and no clues, fingers point to Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed Burdell’s house and his servants. Rumored to be a black-hearted gold digger with designs on the doctor’s name and fortune, Emma is immediately put under house arrest during a murder investigation. A swift conviction is sure to catapult flamboyant district attorney Abraham Oakey Hall into the mayor’s seat. But one formidable obstacle stands in his way: the defense attorney Henry Clinton. Committed to justice and the law, Clinton will aid the vulnerable widow in her desperate fight to save herself from the gallows.
Set in 1857 New York, this gripping mystery is also a richly detailed excavation of a lost age. Horan vividly re-creates a tumultuous era characterized by a sensationalist press, aggressive new wealth, a booming real-estate market, corruption, racial conflict, economic inequality between men and women, and the erosion of the old codes of behavior. A tale of murder, sex, greed, and politics, this spellbinding narrative transports readers to a time that eerily echoes our own.

I LOVED this! The era and the setting made it such an escape and it was amazing to think of how trials were conducted at the time. You think that they are a media circus now, you should see how it was done in 1857.

The defense attorney, Henry Clinton, and his wife were people that I would like to have as friends. They were thoughtful, never quick to judge and the romance and respect between them was uplifting.

It was one of those mysteries that you change your suspect with every chapter. Your mind changes as the story evolves and your judgment of the characters changes with every page. I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

Set in a New York that you can only dream of having lived in, 31 Bond Street made me grateful that I live now. Women were nothing unless they were married or trying to get married. We were defined by our husbands, not our own minds. Just how does a woman stand up for herself in a time where she couldn’t vote, couldn’t own property unless she was a widow, couldn’t really do much of anything except for trim roses and pop out kids?

You will have to read it to find out.

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