Book Review · Books

No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby [BOOK REVIEW]

No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby [BOOK REVIEW]

No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby transported me into the 1890’s, and our strong heroine Violet made that journey quite memorable!

No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 400

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Format I read it in: Special Edition Uncorrected Proof

Rating: ★★★★


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?


I am beyond thankful to Tandem Collective, Head of Zeus and Hannah Dolby, for letting me join this special readalong. I was lucky to receive an exclusive interactive readalong edition copy, full with QR codes, challenges and topics to discuss whilst reading the book. The format of the book was very interactive and although it distracted me a bit, I enjoyed finding out about this period in history. What people wore, what was popular at the time, how the streets and towns used to look like, what were people’s main professions, and most importantly, what were the women’s roles in society at this point in time.

First of all, Violet is an amazing character. She knows exactly what she wants(to find her mum) and also what she doesn’t want (to marry). She hires a detective to search for her mum, and she’s also quite busy rejecting men left, right and centre – much to the annoyance of her father. 

The more clues are being discovered, the more unsure Violet is about the investigation and the detective. She starts interacting with Mr. Blackthorn in the hopes that he would be a better detective for this case, but Mr. Blackthorn is set to give up that career path. 

The book highlights the era so well, the way women are treated in society and the audacity that men have.

No respect towards women (with exceptions), yet all they seem to care about is reputation. The part that hurt and angered me the most is the lack of freedom, and no freedom of choice. To be rejected for books in a library, to be denied education and a career, if you so wish to have… Yet they are able to get away with murder. In an environment like this, where all the odds are stacked against her, Violet was a breath of fresh air. I loved that she would stop at nothing to achieve the things she wants.Her determination, dedication and sense of humour made this book so enjoyable. The pace of the book started slowly at first, but then it picked up, and by the end I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

About The Author:

No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby [BOOK REVIEW]

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.

Hannah 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 prize 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.

Twitter – @LadyDolby

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