Unladylike Lessons in Love – Amita Murray

I was approved pretty late to get the ARC of Unladylike Lessons in Love by Amita Murray, so I apologize for getting this out past the publication date. However, this review includes good news on all fronts so I hope she and the publishers will forgive me! I was gifted a copy of this book and am giving this review voluntarily. Overall, I thought this book was fantastic and give it a rare five out of five stars. 

Lila Marleigh, a half-caste bastard of an Earl, made her way in society any way she could, as did her sisters. She found her niche as a salon hostess where society enjoys drinks, flirtation, and fair gameplay. At one of her salons appears Ivor Tristram, a man with a piercing gaze who wants to make it clear to her that she needs to stay away from his father. She’s fine agreeing to that, seeing as she hasn’t been near the man, anyways. When, on the same night, she runs into a childhood friend that needs help, Lila Marleigh realizes that her life has just gotten a lot more complex. Of course Tristram would be involved in the friend’s problem, so Lila strikes a deal: she will “stay away” from the elder Tristram if the younger will help her. As the pair find themselves spending time together, they begin to wonder if they ever want to be apart. 

From the synopsis on NetGalley, I was expecting to be underwhelmed by Unladylike Lessons in Love. Instead, I’m giving it a rare five-star rating! My romance-mysteries haven’t been great from NetGalley lately; usually, the plots are a little too heavy on one element and too flimsy on the other for the story to really mesh. Not Unladylike Lessons in Love. This plot was well-balanced and multilayered. I think it’s hard to balance romance and mystery, but for the mystery to be layered and nuanced takes skill. It’s a lot to wrap up in one book, and Murray accomplished it admirably. 

What I liked most about Lila was that she was really level-headed; she kept her cool throughout the investigation, her attachment to Tristram, and the stress of the denouement. She was also realistic in her objectives and expectations. Tristram was also a likable character most of the time, he came to his own conclusions about Lila’s friend’s problem, and Lila’s relationship with his father in his own time and didn’t rush to judgment. There was one scene where he clearly wasn’t his usual self, but we do see this as a fear reaction rather than one of real hate. 

What impressed me a lot about this book, aside from the great balance of mystery and romance, was how complex the characters were. Lila has a rich and complex history, which makes her a relatable and realistic character. She and her sisters barely speak because of the way they were raised, and a traumatic event from her past has affected her in many ways. Tristram is the victim of his parents’ unhappy marriage and societal expectations, and the other characters in the book have depths yet unplumbed as well. 

Unladylike Lessons in Love should be categorized as a romance (and it is), but it comes close to a romantic mystery. But, the focus of the book is more on the romance than the mystery. I haven’t been this satisfied with this type of newly released book since…oh, Doughty Bishop’s Silence and Shadows series? Anyways, if you’re in the market for a great romance, read this! If you’re looking for a decent mystery with a cheerful ending, read this! If you want the combination, you’ve hit the jackpot. Let me know what you think!

Published by SamIAmReading

I am an avid reader and lover of historical mysteries and romances, but happy to take review requests and expand my horizons! All opinions in this blog are my own and have been given freely.

15 thoughts on “Unladylike Lessons in Love – Amita Murray

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