“Three stars is actually a bit misleading, but two stars [I didn't like it] wouldn't be quite correct either. Overall this was a disappointment, but it did have some good aspects.
When I read the first book in the series, The Alchemy of Murder, I quite enjoyed it, and liked how the author took the real Nellie Bly and made her the protagonist and sleuth in a fictionalized story. The Nellie in that book was fun, fierce and spunky. But this time around, I found Nellie to be self-absorbed, whiny and completely incapable of considering anyone's wants or needs but her own, even when she was putting herself, and sometimes others in danger. I really wanted to slap her throughout most of this book.
But that aside, I actually liked the majority of the other characters in the book - Sarah Bernhardt particularly was a delightful character and much like what I know of the real Sarah's personality seems to be used in the character. I thought this Sarah had some of the best lines in the entire book.
The plot itself was a little overblown, but still there was mystery and intrigue and some clever twists on the way to the solution being unmasked for the reader.
The other thing that drove me nuts throughout the entire book was the complete lack of decent editing of the book, which is chock-a-block with grammar, tense and syntax errors. I know most people wouldn't necessarily notice or even care about that, but as a writer myself, I hate that kind of careless disregard for the reader. Every time I come across a mistake, it yanks me out of the story and stops me dead with a grimace. That always takes away from my enjoyment of a book.
While this had some good things, I will not be reading future books in this series. It isn't good enough writing or character development to take up space on my to be read list.”