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Relative Fortunes

A Julia Kydd Novel, Book 1
Narrated by: Sarah Zimmerman
Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
1 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

In 1920s New York, the price of a woman’s independence can be exorbitant - even fatal.

In 1924 Manhattan, women’s suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life’s too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to publish books under her own imprint. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what’s hers - including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy.

When her friend’s sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family’s indifference toward the ardent suffragist’s death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband’s control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear.

Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he’ll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi’s life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there’s much more at stake than her inheritance....

©2019 Marlowe Benn (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

Critic reviews

“[A] stylish debut... The author effectively shows the casual discrimination against women at the time. Benn is off to a promising start.” --Publishers Weekly

“Set in the 1920s and framed by the quest for women’s rights and details about publishing and printing, this satisfying historical mystery includes a smart, feisty heroine and numerous plot twists.” --Booklist

“Fans of Agatha Christie novels will love this clever murder mystery, with a cast of suspects to keep readers guessing. Julia Kydd’s endeavour is entertaining and engaging to the end.” --Gemma Liviero, international bestselling author of historical fiction 

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Profile Image for BikeVON
  • BikeVON
  • 27-08-19

Women unite

This was an excellent story that touch many of the struggles that women had in the nineteenth century. Even with the approval of the vote women were still experiencing difficulties in politics and their families. Julia Kydd was a 24-years-old young socialite who lived an independent and sexual liberated life. She arrived in New York seventeen days before her 25th birthday at which time she would receive her inheritance. What she discovers is the machinations of her brother to withhold what was rightfully hers and that she was powerless to oppose him.

Julia was pulled into the family drama of her friend Glennis. Glennis is seeking marriage for security and to get her inheritance. More immediately, Glennis needs Julia’s help in discovering who killed her sister Naomi.

Naomi epitomizes the struggles of the 19th century woman. She fought for the women’s right to vote and operated a women’s shelter much to the chagrin of her family. She was from a wealthy family with a considerable inheritance controlled by her brother. Her family referred to her as poor old Naomi, crazy Naomi or difficult Naomi. She was forced to live in abject poverty because her brother did not approve of her life-style. Her family wanted a quick and quite resolution to her death while Glennis felt that something sinister happened to her sister and she wanted the truth. Be damn if the truth embarrassed the family. Julia became involved as a friend to support Glennis then as an option to secure her inheritance.

It is a wonderful story with great character development of Julia and Glennis. They began as innocence young ladies each on a different trajectory for independence. Glennis through marriage and Julia owning her publishing business. Naomi’s death forces them to face the harsh truth about their place in a male dominated society.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • CathyGrace
  • 01-09-19

Loved the book.

I read the Kindle and then listened to the audible version. I look forward to the second installment next year.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • trellis@
  • 19-08-19

Excellent couldn't stop listening till the very end!! Thank you!

Excellent!!! More books please!! My eyes are going slowly so I have o been able to read as I love to , so this audible was a grand adventure for me!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan Haugen
  • 07-08-19

Unexpected delight!

This audiobook - with excellent narration by Sarah Zimmerman - was something I had forgotten that I pre-ordered. So glad it landed on my list! It is very well written, with thoughtful details of the politics and the emotions of the time smoothly woven into the fabric of the story. Ms. Benn's main character, Julia, is urbane, intelligent, and a beautifully created character who questions her own education, status, and desires in ways that are plausible and insightful. It was a delightful read and I look forward to pre-ordering the next book in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Schatzl
  • 07-10-19

Christie Fans should like this

This is a good Agatha Christie type murder mystery. If you like her, you should like this.

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Profile Image for Deborah Yeh
  • Deborah Yeh
  • 19-09-19

Just too hard to follow

The author uses 100 complex words when 10 simple words would suffice. I'm not against a great vocabulary, but it's just too much. In fact, it's distracting and makes the story hard to follow.

Tom Clancy can be very descriptive, but at least there is a point to his use of language. It is unnecessary and borderline annoying. I couldn't finish the book, which is big deal for me (I'll read just about anything).

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  • Grace A Crum
  • 28-08-19

Covers the realities of the lack of rights and perceptions of women in that era.

Overall, a good story well describing the realities of what women of that era had to face regarding their own personal freedoms (post the right to vote but before ERA passed). I would have rated it a 4 in all categories but parts of the story just dragged out a bit too long for me. Still an enjoyable read- I learned quite a lot from it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nora
  • 21-08-19

Unexpected Delight!

I purchased this because I love both mysteries and historical fiction, but had never heard of the author, so wasn’t sure what to expect. Well written, with an engaging heroine and accurate period detail for this story set in 1920s era NYC. Hope this is the start of a series!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SallyC
  • 18-08-19

My "review".

I've realized I don't know how to write a proper review, I can just tell you what I do and don't like. I really liked this book The mystery is secondary to the character development. I found them to be complex and relationships a bit fuzzy at times, but enjoyable at the same time. If you are in the mood for a real mystery , this might not be for you. If ,however , you just want a good read I think this will be perfect.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 09-08-19

After the suffragettes....

It took me awhile to get into this one but it eventually became very compelling. The depiction of women’s lives in the 1920s is enlightening, though the feminist theme is a bit heavy-handed at times. The plot is delightfully unpredictable. I look forward to a second book by this author - possibly more in this series (?) - as Benn learns to tighten her style.

Narration is adequate.