An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns –and the heroines who use them all
Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.
It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.
Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.
The Friday Society was a book that had been on my to-read list for ages, so when I saw it available for request on NetGalley I immediately jumped at the chance to read it, and was so excited when my request was granted. Anything that boasts a summary featuring not one but three fabulous female characters was a book I was all over, and I’m happy to say that, for me at least, The Friday Society lived up to my expectations and desires.
This book was interesting because, while it’s pretty easy to place the setting and the time period, there are embellishments made here and there (via the steampunk elements and some of the verbage the characters use, which is decidedly anachronistic) that took me a bit of getting used to. The girls are definitely from 1900-London- their gowns, professions, the way that women in general are viewed – is very much appropriate to that time period. But the story is told with such a modern flair that it was kind of easy to forget at times that the book does indeed take place in the past. However, I am glad that The Friday Society was my first real exposure to steampunk; those elements were so interesting and entertaining (particularly when Cora would talk of her experiments) that my interest in the genre is definitely piqued.
The real strength of this book, however, is the girls themselves. All three of them have their own identity and voice, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them and their adventures. The mystery that drives the book was strong enough to keep the story moving forward at a good pace, and I especially liked how the girls met and wound up coming together. I personally loved Nellie the most – she’s definitely feminine as all get out with a fabulous personality and wit, and I found her absolutely charming. I love how the author took the time to develop their backgrounds and made them all so completely unique; you would have known which was which simply by their voices, which is not always the easiest thing to do when writing a book with multiple narrators. While Nellie was my favorite, I also really enjoyed Cora’s smarts and intelligence and Michiko’s quiet strength and personal journey. I also love how the book was left open-ended; I don’t know if this is the author’s plan, but I wouldn’t mind reading more of these ladies adventures!
Full of wit and charm, and not a small amount of fun, The Friday Society was a thoroughly engaging read. There were some things that I figured out plot-wise in advance, but it was definitely not to the detriment of my enjoyment. If you love your female characters more on the kick-ass side, with a ton of intelligence while still being decidedly feminine, then I think you’ll enjoy this book. I know that I certainly did!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.