A Deadly Affection (Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mystery #1) by Cuyler Overholt

adeadlyA Deadly Affection is the first instalment in what I hope will turn into a series starring the rather forward thinking Dr Genevieve Summerford.  The year is 1907, the setting is New York, and whilst many women during that period suffered a deplorable lack of choice Genevieve is fortunate enough to have graduated as a Doctor.  One of the few (if not the only) female doctor of the era.  At the start of the story as we meet Genevieve we are made familiar with her desire to move into the progressive branch of psychology.  She longs to help women with mental disorders that she believes are connected with traumas they have suffered.  No stranger to loss herself this is an ambition very close to Genevieve’s heart and although she meets with objections all along the line she is determined to succeed.

Having been introduced to a number of women deemed appropriate to become potential patients Genevieve takes her first therapy class.  Disappointingly this first session doesn’t go as well as Genevieve hoped, it seems everyone is a sceptic, that is until the end when one of the women stays behind to speak with her and seek advice.  And this is where the murder mystery begins!  The young woman in question is Eliza.  A young woman unhappy about an event in her past.  Genevieve advises her to confront her doctor and so the next day when the doctor in question turns up dead with Eliza on the scene covered in blood things don’t really look to promising.

From here, Genevieve becomes involved in the murder case, determined to prove Eliza’s innocence and also, to be honest, feeling not just a little guilty for having provoked the visit by Eliza to her doctor in the first place

Why did I like this?  Well, firstly it’s a very easy to read story.  The writing style is enjoyable and the author finds a good mix of plot versus attention to detail.  I enjoyed the time period and I think that the author does a good job of recreating the feel of the time and place.  On top of this it’s a very interesting period to read about, a time of innovation and invention and one in which women, such as Genevieve, were finally taking steps to have a voice.  Alongside this I think the overall story art and conclusion were very intriguing and I’m hoping that this book will lay the tracks for Genevieve to become involved in future murder mysteries.  I’m hopeful that her insights into the psychological aspects that make a person tick together with her medical knowledge could become a valuable asset to the police at a time when investigative techniques were just starting to evolve.

In terms of characters.  Well, Genevieve’s parents are part of the well to do set, whilst not quite top notch they are fortunate enough to enjoy their position of privilege and wealth mingling with the most prominent members of New York’s elite society.  The family suffered a shocking loss a few year’s earlier when Genevieve’s brother died in a tragic accident.  Genevieve has always blamed herself and relationships between her and her father are a little strained.  On top of this, as a young adult Genevieve became romantically involved with a man deemed totally inappropriate by her parents and she was hastily packed off to Europe.  These issues are all examined during the course of the story and help to give a good feel for the family dynamic.

In terms of criticisms – not a great deal to speak of.  I would like to spend a little more time with Genevieve to get to know her better.  She’s not perfect – she makes mistakes and then probably makes even more mistakes as she stumbles around trying to rectify things and she can be a little bit clueless in terms of her own personal safety – but I like imperfection in my protagonists.  More realistic that way.  I also thought the conclusion was a little bit more convoluted than I ever anticipated but I certainly never had an inkling of what was to come which was certainly a bonus.

I don’t have a lot of opportunity to read historical dramas any more as I predominantly focus on SFF so this was a very welcome interlude for me.  I thought the story was well paced and intriguing and I would definitely pick up future works in this series.

Thanks to the publishers for approving me for a copy of A Deadly Affection, courtesy of Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.



16 Responses to “A Deadly Affection (Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mystery #1) by Cuyler Overholt”

  1. M @ A Blog Of One's Own

    Great review! It sounds very intriguing. I love when authors manage to really get you into the time their story is set in and the early 20th century is such a fascinating time period, too! And I’m all for imperfect characters, because let’s face it – perfect characters are just boring. 🙂

  2. luvtoread

    This sounds like a fun series with an interesting setting! Great review 🙂

  3. jessicabookworm

    I do enjoy a good period, murder mystery and I love that cover too, so I will have to keep this in mind.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think you would like it. The main character is interesting and we’re already finding out some of her back story. There’s a hint of romance which doesn’t dominate the plot but plays an intriguing role and the whole murder mystery storyline reads well – especially with the period feel. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes next.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I find your review quite intriguing, and even though there are no fantasy elements in this story I would love to read this book: the time period depicted is one of change – slight as it was – and I’m fascinated by it.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m rather hopeful that as the series progresses Genevieve might become more involved in the police investigations – of course I’ve no reason for thinking that at all other than a bit of a wishlist!
      Lynn 😀

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  6. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom

    I reviewed a book earlier this year with a cover that is strikingly similar to this one… Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt…. Definitely look it up, because they are almost identical!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I actually mistook the two of them – I bought Sawbones which I saw over on Bibliosanctum (I thought I’d requested it for review but in actual fact I’d requested A Deadly Affection). The covers are almost identical aren’t they!
      Lynn 😀

      • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom

        Have you read Sawbones yet?

      • @lynnsbooks

        No – not yet – did you love it?

      • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom

        I did enjoy it! It was a solid 4 star read. It had a few graphic parts, so it isn’t for the faint of heart. It ends on a huge cliffhanger, so I’m interested in what happens in the second book!

      • @lynnsbooks

        Well, I bought a copy – so I hope to read it soon. I’ve been requesting less and less books so that I can try and catch up with everything.
        Lynn 😀

  7. R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI: RIP: Roundup post | Books and travelling with Lynn

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