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A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder

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Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, returns in Dianne Freeman’s charming, lighthearted mystery series set in Victorian England, and finds her wedding day overshadowed by murder . . . On the eve of her marriage to George Hazelton, Frances has a great deal more on her mind than flowers and seating arrangements. The Connors and the Doyles, two families of Ame Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, returns in Dianne Freeman’s charming, lighthearted mystery series set in Victorian England, and finds her wedding day overshadowed by murder . . . On the eve of her marriage to George Hazelton, Frances has a great deal more on her mind than flowers and seating arrangements. The Connors and the Doyles, two families of American robber barons, have taken up residence in London, and their bitter rivalry is spilling over into the highest social circles. At the request of her brother, Alonzo, who is quite taken with Miss Madeline Connor, Frances has invited the Connor family to her wedding. Meanwhile, Frances’s mother has invited Mr. Doyle, and Frances fears the wedding may end up being newspaper-worthy for all the wrong reasons. On the day itself, Frances is relieved to note that Madeline’s father is not among the guests assembled at the church. The reason for his absence, however, turns out to be most unfortunate: Mr. Connor is found murdered in his home. More shocking still, Alonzo is caught at the scene, holding the murder weapon. Powerful and ruthless, Connor appears to have amassed a wealth of enemies alongside his fortune. Frances and George agree to put their wedding trip on hold to try and clear Alonzo’s name. But there are secrets to sift through, not just in the Doyle and Connor families, but also in their own. And with a killer determined to evade discovery at any cost—even if it means taking another life—Frances’s first days as a newlywed will be perilous indeed . . .


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Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, returns in Dianne Freeman’s charming, lighthearted mystery series set in Victorian England, and finds her wedding day overshadowed by murder . . . On the eve of her marriage to George Hazelton, Frances has a great deal more on her mind than flowers and seating arrangements. The Connors and the Doyles, two families of Ame Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, returns in Dianne Freeman’s charming, lighthearted mystery series set in Victorian England, and finds her wedding day overshadowed by murder . . . On the eve of her marriage to George Hazelton, Frances has a great deal more on her mind than flowers and seating arrangements. The Connors and the Doyles, two families of American robber barons, have taken up residence in London, and their bitter rivalry is spilling over into the highest social circles. At the request of her brother, Alonzo, who is quite taken with Miss Madeline Connor, Frances has invited the Connor family to her wedding. Meanwhile, Frances’s mother has invited Mr. Doyle, and Frances fears the wedding may end up being newspaper-worthy for all the wrong reasons. On the day itself, Frances is relieved to note that Madeline’s father is not among the guests assembled at the church. The reason for his absence, however, turns out to be most unfortunate: Mr. Connor is found murdered in his home. More shocking still, Alonzo is caught at the scene, holding the murder weapon. Powerful and ruthless, Connor appears to have amassed a wealth of enemies alongside his fortune. Frances and George agree to put their wedding trip on hold to try and clear Alonzo’s name. But there are secrets to sift through, not just in the Doyle and Connor families, but also in their own. And with a killer determined to evade discovery at any cost—even if it means taking another life—Frances’s first days as a newlywed will be perilous indeed . . .

30 review for A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This is proving to be a very entertaining series. In book 5 the main characters, Frances, Countess of Harleigh and George Hazelton, are about to be married and they actually do make it to the end of the wedding. However a murder during the reception and the resulting arrest of Frances's brother, Alonzo, stops them from going on their honeymoon. Frances and George are an excellent team of sleuths, especially when a member of the family is involved, and they work hard at solving the crime. However This is proving to be a very entertaining series. In book 5 the main characters, Frances, Countess of Harleigh and George Hazelton, are about to be married and they actually do make it to the end of the wedding. However a murder during the reception and the resulting arrest of Frances's brother, Alonzo, stops them from going on their honeymoon. Frances and George are an excellent team of sleuths, especially when a member of the family is involved, and they work hard at solving the crime. However it takes a lot of time and many false leads and their hope of at least a short honeymoon slowly slips away. I enjoy these two characters with their practical approach to life very much. This was a fun read as usual in this series and I look forward to the next one. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Many thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder. All opinions and comments are my own. We have a wedding at last, as Frances, Countess of Harleigh marries her intended, George Hazelton in A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder, the fifth in Diane’s Freeman’s series featuring the enterprising woman as she manages once again to find herself at the center of a murder mystery. At the time of her nupt Many thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder. All opinions and comments are my own. We have a wedding at last, as Frances, Countess of Harleigh marries her intended, George Hazelton in A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder, the fifth in Diane’s Freeman’s series featuring the enterprising woman as she manages once again to find herself at the center of a murder mystery. At the time of her nuptials, no less. To set the stage: rival businessmen that really, really dislike each other are invited to the happy event. If that wasn’t trouble enough, one of the men is really quite horrible, as Frances discovers. He rudely informs her to tell her brother Alonzo to stay away from his daughter. Will Frances and George be leaving on their honeymoon? Not when the brother’s arrested for the murder of the man right after the ceremony. What follows is a tale of a lot of unhappy people. Luckily, the brother’s out of it pretty quickly, although he’s not “out of it out of it” – still a suspect until the police actually find the real bad guy. And because of that, Frances needs to uncover the actual culprit. Which she does quite handily, using the skills we’ve come to know from previous books. The society she moves around in plays its part, of course, and Diane Freeman emphasizes that ugly presents itself in every kind of social situation, and we’re not talking just the scenery, folks. She also knows how to use plotting to generate suspicion and legitimate possible murderers all around. There’s a big finish with a gun; and poor George will have to delay his honeymoon for a while longer. An author’s note explains the real-life inspiration behind the setting of two men that couldn’t help but try to destroy each other. Money certainly doesn’t buy intelligence and good manners, even in 1900.

  3. 4 out of 5

    JoAn

    Ms. Freeman has written another entertaining and intriguing historical cozy mystery. I've enjoyed each book in this series and this one did not disappoint. Frances and George are finally married but the honeymoon trip never happens when a murder is committed next door to the wedding luncheon and one of the prime suspects is Frances' brother, Alonzo. I enjoyed the look into the relationship of Frances' mother and father that was provided in this book especially since her mother has been a secondar Ms. Freeman has written another entertaining and intriguing historical cozy mystery. I've enjoyed each book in this series and this one did not disappoint. Frances and George are finally married but the honeymoon trip never happens when a murder is committed next door to the wedding luncheon and one of the prime suspects is Frances' brother, Alonzo. I enjoyed the look into the relationship of Frances' mother and father that was provided in this book especially since her mother has been a secondary character for a long time now in this series. A well-crafted plot with numerous suspects, deft twists and turns, red herrings that led me astray frequently and a dramatic reveal that had me gripping my e-reader. I voluntarily reviewed a digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington Publishing via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Books

    A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder is book #5 in the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. I was lucky enough to win book #1 in this series as a giveaway back in 2018 and I enjoyed it then and enjoy the series now. Dianne Freeman’s writing continues to get better and better with each story she writes. Cozy mystery lovers will fall in love with this series. It’s an easy, fun and fast read. If you enjoy Cozy’s like I do you need to read this series. Thank you to #netgalley and #kensingtonbooks f A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder is book #5 in the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. I was lucky enough to win book #1 in this series as a giveaway back in 2018 and I enjoyed it then and enjoy the series now. Dianne Freeman’s writing continues to get better and better with each story she writes. Cozy mystery lovers will fall in love with this series. It’s an easy, fun and fast read. If you enjoy Cozy’s like I do you need to read this series. Thank you to #netgalley and #kensingtonbooks for allowing me to read the eARC of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa’s Bookshelf

    What’s a bride to do when her brother is accused of murdering one of the wedding guests? Well, if you’re Lady Frances Harleigh now Mrs. Frances Hazelton, you postpone the honeymoon while you and your new husband try to solve the mystery. I loved this fifth book in the Countess of Harleigh series! George and Frances make the best team. With subtle humor, an engaging storyline, witty dialogue, a slew of suspects, a hint of romance, and family that according to Frances is “best enjoyed in small por What’s a bride to do when her brother is accused of murdering one of the wedding guests? Well, if you’re Lady Frances Harleigh now Mrs. Frances Hazelton, you postpone the honeymoon while you and your new husband try to solve the mystery. I loved this fifth book in the Countess of Harleigh series! George and Frances make the best team. With subtle humor, an engaging storyline, witty dialogue, a slew of suspects, a hint of romance, and family that according to Frances is “best enjoyed in small portions,” this cozy historical mystery is a must read that’s hard to put down. The long awaited marriage between Frances and George is finally here! At the last minute, Frances’ mother adds to the guest list. Unfortunately, two of these guests Mr. Connors and Mr. Bainbridge are bitter rivals. Alonzo, Frances’ brother, is infatuated with Connor’s daughter Madeline but she’s being pressured to marry Viscount Fitzwalter. When Mr. Connors is found murdered during the reception, Frances’ brother is implicated. Since George is an attorney, he and Frances regrettably postpone their dreamy wedding trip to the South of France so George can defend Alonzo and clear his name. Finding the real killer proves to be more complicated than they first thought. Will they be able to find the murderer in time to enjoy some of their wedding trip? I love the relationship between Frances and George. He respects her opinions and has learned to welcome her input in his cases. The two do seem to have the worst luck with bodies turning up at the most inconvenient times. I love the humor and the quirky characters. I especially enjoyed getting to know Frances’ family more. While her mother is interfering, we get to see a different side to her in this book and she becomes a more well rounded secondary character. It was also fun getting to know Frances’ father Frankie. The mystery definitely kept me guessing. While I had a good idea who the murderer might be, I enjoyed seeing how it all played out. I liked the historical aspects as well such as early photography and the fact that the story was inspired by an actual feud between two wealthy American men who take their rivalry to England. Highly recommend! Though this is the fifth book in the series, it could be read as a standalone. The author does a fantastic job introducing the characters in a way that quickly catches new readers up to speed, but doesn’t bog down the story. I do recommend reading the delightful previous books in the series. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review. 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeannine

    Book 3 in this series was a high point when it came to sleuthing and character development. The downhill slide of book 4 continues with this latest installment. You’d think a murder at the wedding we’ve been waiting for would make for a fantastic setting. Unfortunately, the middle of the book drags as the investigation goes on and on. I almost think you could read this book through the wedding day and then skip to the last 50 pages. The action in this series is always clipped, which is funny sinc Book 3 in this series was a high point when it came to sleuthing and character development. The downhill slide of book 4 continues with this latest installment. You’d think a murder at the wedding we’ve been waiting for would make for a fantastic setting. Unfortunately, the middle of the book drags as the investigation goes on and on. I almost think you could read this book through the wedding day and then skip to the last 50 pages. The action in this series is always clipped, which is funny since I just said things lag. It’s that there’s a lot of running to and fro, but then a big moment is over too quickly. There’s a scene with a gun and someone important gets shot. The scene is two pages. The next paragraph says the person recovered. So the one scene that could have been a dramatic moment was rushed through so we could have more mundane drawing room chatter? I think I’m done with this series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Theresa S

    This was the first Diane Freeman book that I read (I know, I know, I should have started with book 1), and I plan to go back and read Diane's other books. I agree with thr others that describe this as a "cozy read". The ending may have seemed predictable, but I very much enjoyed the writing style and became attached to the characters. This was the first Diane Freeman book that I read (I know, I know, I should have started with book 1), and I plan to go back and read Diane's other books. I agree with thr others that describe this as a "cozy read". The ending may have seemed predictable, but I very much enjoyed the writing style and became attached to the characters.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary Keliikoa

    I am a huge fan of the Countess of Harleigh series in general, and Frances and George in particular! So I was thrilled when they were finally going to walk down the aisle. But, of course, I didn't really expect that it would be a breeze for them to do so, especially when murder disrupts the festivities! The characters in this series are just wonderful. From Frances' complicated parents, to her brother's arrival, George and Frances themselves, and feuding neighbors, there is much to love--and to k I am a huge fan of the Countess of Harleigh series in general, and Frances and George in particular! So I was thrilled when they were finally going to walk down the aisle. But, of course, I didn't really expect that it would be a breeze for them to do so, especially when murder disrupts the festivities! The characters in this series are just wonderful. From Frances' complicated parents, to her brother's arrival, George and Frances themselves, and feuding neighbors, there is much to love--and to keep you off kilter when the murder happens during their nuptials. Dianne Freeman is a master at plot and story, and I was along for the ride until the very satisfying end! Highly recommend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Milou

    This is the fifth book following Frances, and as you may have surmised, she is getting married in this one. Luckily this doesn’t take up more space than necessary (of course we have grown attached to her and want her and George to have a lovely day… but we are here for the dead people). And behold, as Frances and George are about to leave for their wedding trip, the neighbour is found murdered and Frances’ brother is arrested. So they cannot possibly leave for France but have to solve the case i This is the fifth book following Frances, and as you may have surmised, she is getting married in this one. Luckily this doesn’t take up more space than necessary (of course we have grown attached to her and want her and George to have a lovely day… but we are here for the dead people). And behold, as Frances and George are about to leave for their wedding trip, the neighbour is found murdered and Frances’ brother is arrested. So they cannot possibly leave for France but have to solve the case instead. This was once again a very entertaining read, although I did miss a bit of something. Maybe that is because I read this one physically, while I listened to the previous books on audiobook. Frances has a very fun, witty and approachable voice that translates very well to audio. That doesn’t mean this was a bad book though, not at all!! It was a light, cozy and fun read, with some good characters, multiple suspects and a puzzling enough case (but still possible to solve and not some far fetched resolution). Frances’ father also makes his appearance and it is clear to see where she gets some of her traits from. ‘Society’ plays a big role in these stories, and the characters are very privileged (though fail to recognise they are). If you can look through that though, they can be very likeable and relatable, with some great relationships. It was fairly obvious where one of the final clues was going to come from, but that didn’t spoil the fun at all. The plot does lag a bit in the middle, with a lot of going back and forth between visiting people and very little progress made, whereas the ending feels a bit too rushed. I would like to thank Netgalley to give me once again an e-book for review. So far they have let me read over half of this series, and I couldn’t be happier. This is definitely a series I would recommend if you are in the mood for a cozy historical mystery story, with a charming and clever main character.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Widowed Lady Frances has finally married George Hazleton, a complete contrast to her cad of a first husband, and they're on their way to a glamorous honeymoon in Cannes. Oh, but wait--before they can leave London, Frances' visiting American brother is arrested for murdering his girlfriend's father. George, a lawyer, volunteers to help him, and soon has Alonzo released, as there is no real evidence against him. But another friend is under suspicion, and then another. A second death complicates th Widowed Lady Frances has finally married George Hazleton, a complete contrast to her cad of a first husband, and they're on their way to a glamorous honeymoon in Cannes. Oh, but wait--before they can leave London, Frances' visiting American brother is arrested for murdering his girlfriend's father. George, a lawyer, volunteers to help him, and soon has Alonzo released, as there is no real evidence against him. But another friend is under suspicion, and then another. A second death complicates the picture, and even their policeman friend cannot help too much--he thinks he has the culprit already. Meanwhile, Frances' domineering mother seems to be at odds with her workaholic husband, and Frances tries to get the couple to reconcile. With the help of her aunt's theater manager boyfriend and a couple of unsavory thugs, Frances and George find the real murderer.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Fun murder mystery with historical setting but still very much like a traditional cozy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lavins

    4 stars I love this book series. It's so pleasing, uplifting and heartwarming. And above all it has a good mystery. Dianne Freeman does an excellent job to keep the reader guessing till the very end. The dynamic between the characters is nice and genuine. I can hardly wait to read the next instalment. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read this great book! 4 stars I love this book series. It's so pleasing, uplifting and heartwarming. And above all it has a good mystery. Dianne Freeman does an excellent job to keep the reader guessing till the very end. The dynamic between the characters is nice and genuine. I can hardly wait to read the next instalment. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read this great book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    February 1900 London. Just as they are about to leave for their honeymoon the new Mr and Mrs Hazelton, are told by Inspector Delaney that their neighbour has been killed and her brother Alonzo Price was discovered next to the body, and has been arrested. But is he guilty, the inspector, Mr and Mrs Hazelton investigate. An enjoyable cozy historical mystery with unfortunately mostly unlikeable characters. An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    June Price

    Two feuding families. Both invited to the same wedding. What could go wrong? Although the wedding goes off without a hitch, before the bride, American-born Frances Wynn, can even throw the bouquet, a dead body is discovered nearby. Even worse, the bride's brother is found holding the knife. The wedding trip is off. The groom, George, finds himself defending his new brother-in-law from murder. This is book five of the series, new to me, but worked well as a standalone. I felt like we got to know n Two feuding families. Both invited to the same wedding. What could go wrong? Although the wedding goes off without a hitch, before the bride, American-born Frances Wynn, can even throw the bouquet, a dead body is discovered nearby. Even worse, the bride's brother is found holding the knife. The wedding trip is off. The groom, George, finds himself defending his new brother-in-law from murder. This is book five of the series, new to me, but worked well as a standalone. I felt like we got to know not just Frances and George well as we watched them navigate through the complications of family -- you've got to love them even when they drive you crazy -- and the social norms and expectations of 1900 London. Will they ever get off to that wedding trip to Cannes? I thoroughly enjoyed "The Bride's Guide to Marriage and Murder". Told via the view point of Frances, we meet the movers and shakers of the plot, even the less than stellar ones. I also enjoyed that the author, rather than relegate the servants to the shadows, did an excellent job of introducing us to many as real people, not just token bodies to cater to the wealthy. The importance of communication, real communication, is highlighted throughout. It was also fascinating to learn a bit about photography of the era. I had no idea how photos of that era were processed. It was also lovely to see how well the author conveyed the love between Frances and George without going overboard with it. Nice touch. The mystery was intriguing, with lots of red herrings and potential suspects and it was fun to watch Frances and George sift through the clues. Thanks to #NetGalley and #KensingtonBooks for inviting me to the wedding and letting me hang around to watch it being solved. I'm looking forward to following Frances and George's future adventures, well, once they finally get their honeymoon behind them.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder by Dianna Freeman is the newest of the Countess of Harliegh Mystery (5th in the series). Frances Wynn is finally marrying her love George. They have been planning the day for a while, but Frances’s mom was working on taking over the day and thanks to the family’s invitations, suddenly the wedding was going to have two famous people who hate each other coming. Frances can’t let that get in the way of the wedding. It was a wonderful wedding and reception, unt A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder by Dianna Freeman is the newest of the Countess of Harliegh Mystery (5th in the series). Frances Wynn is finally marrying her love George. They have been planning the day for a while, but Frances’s mom was working on taking over the day and thanks to the family’s invitations, suddenly the wedding was going to have two famous people who hate each other coming. Frances can’t let that get in the way of the wedding. It was a wonderful wedding and reception, until there was a death, right next door. Suddenly, she and George are pulled into the mystery when her brother is arrested for the murder. I like the series, because they are more like cozy mysteries. The stories always involve Frances and George and they are pulled into solving a mystery. They are often dashing round society asking questions and coming up with theories on who and what might have happened. They work with Inspector Delaney to help solve the murders. Frances is an interesting character as she is American born but has been part of the British aristocracy for many years. The novels are fun, flirty ‘who dun it’ with lots of characters. A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder by Dianna Freeman is a good read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    A Bride's Guide to Marriage and Murder is the fifth instalment in Dianne Freeman's Countess of Harleigh Mystery series, but my third. I got to meet up with Frances, The Countess of Harleigh again, as well as George Hazleton, her fiancé. It is the eve of her marriage to George but there is a real likelihood that there might be trouble between some of the guests - the Bainbridges and the Connors... This was a perfectly paced and well-delivered murder mystery and I love the author's characterisation A Bride's Guide to Marriage and Murder is the fifth instalment in Dianne Freeman's Countess of Harleigh Mystery series, but my third. I got to meet up with Frances, The Countess of Harleigh again, as well as George Hazleton, her fiancé. It is the eve of her marriage to George but there is a real likelihood that there might be trouble between some of the guests - the Bainbridges and the Connors... This was a perfectly paced and well-delivered murder mystery and I love the author's characterisation. There were many suspects and I was frequently led astray, resulting in me re-evaluating the clues and guessing again, but I had a great time ferreting out the truth. A fun, humorous, engaging and compelling cozy tale. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Kensington Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    There's nothing worse than making a huge sacrifice and having your family not notice. Mr. and Mrs. Hazelton are delayed leaving from their honeymoon and her family just keeps demanding more of her time, completely forgetting that she shouldn't even be there! Other than that major injustice, I loved this story. I've always enjoyed the snarkiness and tongue-in-cheek comments and this one does not disappoint. The mystery was a stumper and I had no idea who the killer was (to be fair, I rarely do). There's nothing worse than making a huge sacrifice and having your family not notice. Mr. and Mrs. Hazelton are delayed leaving from their honeymoon and her family just keeps demanding more of her time, completely forgetting that she shouldn't even be there! Other than that major injustice, I loved this story. I've always enjoyed the snarkiness and tongue-in-cheek comments and this one does not disappoint. The mystery was a stumper and I had no idea who the killer was (to be fair, I rarely do). I always look forward to these and am ready for the next one. I received a copy from #NetGalley for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jill Read

    I love Frances and George and this installment is no different. Once again we get even more fun and quirky side characters. It was like coming back home to a group of friends. It was so good to see Hetty and Gilliam again and to meet Daisy, Frankie, and Alonzo. One thing I really like about Freeman’s mysteries is that the Inspector isn’t a bumbling idiot and he welcomes help from George and Frances even though at times I’m sure he could do without. I hope there are many more Frances and George m I love Frances and George and this installment is no different. Once again we get even more fun and quirky side characters. It was like coming back home to a group of friends. It was so good to see Hetty and Gilliam again and to meet Daisy, Frankie, and Alonzo. One thing I really like about Freeman’s mysteries is that the Inspector isn’t a bumbling idiot and he welcomes help from George and Frances even though at times I’m sure he could do without. I hope there are many more Frances and George mysteries to come!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karren Hodgkins

    I guess it was to be expected, theirs was never going to be a run of the mill wedding. No surprise there! And yet! The family drama and dynamics were delightful (I just loved the metaphor used) and the murder mystery both intriguing and exasperating. I have read the others in the series and enjoy the growing ensemble of characters as each one brings a unique perspective and richness to the story. Am I the only one to find the 'gangsters' a touch endearing and the brother perhaps a little too inve I guess it was to be expected, theirs was never going to be a run of the mill wedding. No surprise there! And yet! The family drama and dynamics were delightful (I just loved the metaphor used) and the murder mystery both intriguing and exasperating. I have read the others in the series and enjoy the growing ensemble of characters as each one brings a unique perspective and richness to the story. Am I the only one to find the 'gangsters' a touch endearing and the brother perhaps a little too invested? I highly recommend this cosy, murder mystery series. Each one is able to stand alone, yet at the same time builds towards the next one. Will the next cosy mystery be set in Europe? I can't wait to find out. With thanks to #NetGalley, Kensington Books and the author for my free advanced reader copy to review in exchange for an honest opinion

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    The wedding of her dreams has turned into a nightmare and the honeymoon is spent in an investigation to clear her brother of murder. Engaging historical cozy mystery romp from new to me author and series. My full review will post at Books of My Heart on Aug 3rd.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Another great read with a mystery to solve. I thought I knew who done it but there was enough turns and possibilities, I thought it was a great read. Can not wait for the next book. Thank you NetGalley, Dianne Freeman, and Kensington Books for this advance read. #ABridesGuidetoMarriageandMurder #NetGalley.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Candice L. Buchanan

    This has been a cute series and this one is my favorite. I normally choose more serious themes, so this a very unusual set for me, but I like the characters and the mysteries. Each book has been a pleasant diversion. Look forward to more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    3.55 stars Frances is finally about to wed her beloved George in the wedding of her dreams, or at least her mother's dreams. Frances fears they should have eloped! The guest list keeps growing with everyone wanting to invite someone else. Frances's brother Alonzo wishes to invite the beautiful Miss Madeline Connor, the daughter of a ruthless businessman Mr. Price warns Lon not to become involved with. Miss Connor has another suitor for her hand, a Viscount/future Marqueess her father is pushing h 3.55 stars Frances is finally about to wed her beloved George in the wedding of her dreams, or at least her mother's dreams. Frances fears they should have eloped! The guest list keeps growing with everyone wanting to invite someone else. Frances's brother Alonzo wishes to invite the beautiful Miss Madeline Connor, the daughter of a ruthless businessman Mr. Price warns Lon not to become involved with. Miss Connor has another suitor for her hand, a Viscount/future Marqueess her father is pushing her to marry even though she would rather not. Fran was happy to invite the Connors, but not provide love advice. Unfortunately Mrs. Price has invited Mr. Bainbridge, Mr. Connor's bitter enemy. The two have been locked in a feud since before anyone can remember and engage in dirty tricks to ruin the other and their family reputations. Fran fears fireworks but little does she dream that when Mr. Connor fails to come to the wedding it is because he has been murdered and her brother arrested! There goes the wedding trip to Cannes. Perhaps if George can get Lon free of all charges in a few days they can make it to Cannes after all? If only it were that easier. Sure it seems as if Mr. Bainbridge is the culprit but would he really stoop so low as to murder his rival? It's going to take all of Fran's social skills and all of George's lawyerly authority to solve this one. This is the moment we've all been waiting for and it's ruined by murder! This wasn't my favorite of the series. Fran and George spend very little time alone in spite of being newlyweds and Fran's family drama overshadows the slueths. I prefer the romance end of the story. The murder mystery was fine. I wasn't certain who the murderer was at first but I knew where to look for clues. I figured it out before Fran did and it was kind of obvious. The historical background information is well done, although the explanation of photography wasn't new to me and doesn't interest me that much. I love the characters in this series. What I love most is Fran and George's relationship. She's growing stronger and more confident every book and he respects her intelligence, her independence and never tries to forbid her from sleuthing. This series is wonderful because it lacks the ubiqutious love triangle and the will they/won't they drama. Fran and George know what they want and don't hesitate to go after it. I love it when they're alone together. He is soooo swoony romantic, even with a moustache LOL! George accepts Fran's overbearing family and possible murder suspect friends without hesitation. He is willing to represent a criminal if he has to because she's a friend of Fran's. George is truly a stand up guy. I would marry him too if I were Fran! Little Rose is still sweet and she's starting to become more important to the story. In this book she's dealing with the apprehension of aquiring a stepfather and what to call him. It came as a surprise that Reggie actually loved Rose and doted on her. I would not have expected that of him. The extended family are not so great aside from Aunt Hetty. This book suffers from too little Aunt Hetty. Fran's mother, Mrs. Price, is clearly modeled after Alva Vanderbilt. Mother not quite so maniuplative and scary as Alva though. Fran tries to avoid the worst of it but there's a subplot there. I almost feel bad for Mrs. Price- almost. I did guess why she was so keen to speak up about the feud and invite Mr. Bainbridge to the wedding but it wasn't quite what I thought. Or so she says... Fran's brother Lon is nearly as much of a drama queen as Lily. He doesn't even know Madeline Connor very well or whether they would suit. He just wants the chance to get to know her better. Lon is stubborn like his sisters and enjoys a challenge like Fran. He doesn't seem as intelligent or as intuitive as his eldest sister though. It was wonderful to finally meet Fran's father "Frankie." I can see why she's a daddy's girl. They're both really, really smart and need to keep their brains occupied with business or a puzzle. Aunt Hetty is that way too. It must run in the Price family. I was mad at him for missing Lily's wedding and I'm still mad at him for making Frances a higher priority even though this is her second wedding. Parents don't play favorites! Graham Wynn, Earl of Harleigh is being very nice to Frances and allowing her to use Harleigh House for her wedding breakfast. Fran seems to actually like Graham although she's not under any illusions he's ever smiling or warm. She has happier memories of the house than the family. Now Graham is suddenly happy and smiling? I suspect he has a motive- either he's glad to push Fran out of the family, which I doubt because he needs her money, or he's in love himself. Or at least has a woman in his life again. I hope she's nice and worth it because the Countess was, well you know. Aunt Hetty's beau, Mr. Gilliam, takes center stage as part of the sleuthing team. He seems nice enough and she seems to really like him which is important. He's sensible and level headed but has a flair for the dramatic sometimes. Perhaps there will be another wedding soon? Fran is expecting she will have more children with George. I'd rather see Aunt Hetty marry than babies added to the story. The photographer, Mr. Wilson, is very passionate about his work. He is apparently teaching photography to dillitantes like Graham as well. He knows his stuff and the one piece of information I found interesting was how he can paint over a blurry image of a person in the background and turn it into a tree or shrub. 19th-century Photoshop! Inspector Delany is as fair as ever but he isn't the one who is called to the Connor home or else Lon wouldn't have been arrested. Inspector Delaney knows criminals are rarely that stupid. The new characters are not so appealing. The Connor family is headed up by James Connor, a ruthless businessman who treats everyone like dirt. He's cruel to his wife and not so kind to his only child. How did his first wife die?! He's very scary and his ethics are non-existant. He lacks manners and seems to mock the nobility. Given his ethnicity I'm not surrpised but the rest just makes him horrid. I don't think anyone outside the family was truly shocked when he was killed. Did his wife really not know what a horrible person her husband was? I suppose she didn't given Victorian rules for women not being involved in business and the fact he did have an outside door to his office. Still, it would be unusual for him not to have business contacts for dinner or for men to pop in and pay their respects to the ladies. It sounds like if she does know her husband is up to shady business, she turns a blind eye because a)she needs him and b)he hurts her. I'm pretty sure she could get a divorce if he beats her but then she'd be left with nothing. Willa is friends with Frances and Frances swears Willa is not a muderer. How well does Frances know Willa if Fran doesn't even know Willa's background? Can you ever vouch for someone and say what they might do when pushed to the limit? Her husband was cruel and she could have killed him in self-defense. Madeline is a vapid young lady whose big blue eyes well up with tears and men melt. She sees herself as a damsel in distress and wishing to be rescued. Madeline sees Lon as her rescuer. Her personality undergoes a transplant by the end of the book. It seems this girl has hidden depths. Lon can do better though. He seems a little less intellectual and intelligent than his oldest sister and perhaps he needs a sweet little wife to make him feel better about himself? Ugh. I hope not. Mr. Bainbridge has been feuding with Mr. Connor for years. His business ethics are pretty low but how low can you go? Mr. Bainbridge leaves the house without giving a statement to the police. He was very eager to leave. Does that mark his guilt? He sounds a little less cruel than Mr. Connor but his wife, Gladys, is a nasty, nosy gossip who delights in spreading salactious tales. She's supposedly away in Paris but I wonder if she came back and perhaps Mr. Connor wanted to posess her too and she killed him in self-defense? That thought never occurs to anyone. Madeline Connor's suitor, Viscount Fitzwalter is the heir to the Marquess of Sudley. He's young and an excellent catch for any title hunter. However, Madeline doesn't seem to like him much. I can see why. He's arrogant and posessive, much like her father. He sulks when he doesn't get his way and refuses to sit down to luncheon with everyone else merely because he was - correctly - seated away from Miss Connor. He doesn't allow Madeline to make up her own mind and tries to thwart Lon at every turn, even claiming the marriage contract is drawn up. Is this guy for real? He does sound like the type Mr. Connor would like his daughter to marry - arrogant, rich, well-connected and young enough to mold in his own image. Yikes! Poor Madeline! Constable Timmins is young and wet around the ears. At first he seems naive and not very bright but he does appear to be a bit more shrewed than he lets on at first. Parker, the Connor butler is quick to point fingers. I bet he knows who really killed his employer and is protecting them. The Higgins brothers are hilarious and scary at the same time. What have they done for Mr. Connor and what would they do to him for refusing payment? This was another fun entry in the series but not my favorite. I hope Fran's family goes home SOON and she and George can spend some alone time together solving crimes.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Carroll

    Cozy, historical mystery novels are my cup of tea (and are generally best enjoyed with a nice mug of that exact beverage), so this was very much a “me” type of read. I have to admit to requesting this ARC without realizing it was the fifth book in a series (what can I say, the title really grabbed me!), so I had to do a crash course in the previous four books. Luckily, Dianne Freeman understands there are people (read: idiots) like me, so this book did a great job of getting newbies up to speed Cozy, historical mystery novels are my cup of tea (and are generally best enjoyed with a nice mug of that exact beverage), so this was very much a “me” type of read. I have to admit to requesting this ARC without realizing it was the fifth book in a series (what can I say, the title really grabbed me!), so I had to do a crash course in the previous four books. Luckily, Dianne Freeman understands there are people (read: idiots) like me, so this book did a great job of getting newbies up to speed and giving the who, the what, the where, the how, and the why. Freeman’s writing is very straightforward, which helped me fly through this book. The murder mystery is compelling and fun to solve, and the characters are whimsical and entertaining — but I never felt much attachment to either the mystery or the characters. I think the cast of characters isn’t quite as charming as they want to be — Frances’ family comes across more crazy than kooky — and I never quite felt like I knew or understood them. And the big reveal didn’t seem as perfectly worked-out and intricate as I thought it could have been. Still, this is a fun read, and I think that, if you’ve already read the other books in this series and have developed quite a fondness for them, this might just be your cup of tea, even if, as much as I wanted it to be, it wasn’t quite mine. Special thanks to NetGalley, Kensington Books, and Dianne Freeman for proving me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Duckpondwithoutducks

    This book is a cozy mystery set in Victorian England. The main character, the Countess of Harleigh, just keeps on stumbling on mysteries she must solve! You could read this installment in the series without reading the others, but you would miss out on the character development and the events that have happened before. In this one, a murder happens during her wedding and they must postpone their honeymoon to find out what really happened and to make sure a family member isn’t charged with the cr This book is a cozy mystery set in Victorian England. The main character, the Countess of Harleigh, just keeps on stumbling on mysteries she must solve! You could read this installment in the series without reading the others, but you would miss out on the character development and the events that have happened before. In this one, a murder happens during her wedding and they must postpone their honeymoon to find out what really happened and to make sure a family member isn’t charged with the crime. This mystery series is light and funny and perfect for a beach read or cozy afternoon on the couch on a rainy day. Note: I received an advance copy of this book through Netgalley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Paradis

    There's just something lovely about sitting down with an intriguing, cozy mystery, isn't there? I have to admit that I didn't realize that this was a series when I picked it up. I did feel like it was a bit of a learning curve learning who was who, but it wasn't really a problem in my overall enjoyment of the book. Having read this one I am interested to check out the others! Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the the opportunity to access this free e-arc in exchange for an honest re There's just something lovely about sitting down with an intriguing, cozy mystery, isn't there? I have to admit that I didn't realize that this was a series when I picked it up. I did feel like it was a bit of a learning curve learning who was who, but it wasn't really a problem in my overall enjoyment of the book. Having read this one I am interested to check out the others! Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the the opportunity to access this free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cari Zuckerman

    Another delightful Countess of Harleigh mystery set amongst the aristocracy of Victorian England. These gems are best enjoyed in order.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    I am grateful to Kensington for sending an ARC to our library. This was the best Contess of Harleigh story yet. The characters, especially Frances’ parents were more developed and full in this story. I love the history, the setting and all the characters. The mystery was fairly easy to solve, but I’m fine with that. Now, I’ll await the next.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I knew from Dianne Freeman’s first book that this was a special series, and the subsequent books have done absolutely nothing to change my initial opinion. In this installment, she manages to carry off the wedding of the main character without destroying the interest and tension in the novel. I can think of other series where a wedding can prove to be a disaster for the characters and only one other historical series, Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily books, where that was not the case. So, bravo to I knew from Dianne Freeman’s first book that this was a special series, and the subsequent books have done absolutely nothing to change my initial opinion. In this installment, she manages to carry off the wedding of the main character without destroying the interest and tension in the novel. I can think of other series where a wedding can prove to be a disaster for the characters and only one other historical series, Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily books, where that was not the case. So, bravo to Ms. Freeman right off the bat, before I even got to the heart of the book (the wedding happens at the very beginning). These books are nice historicals – set in 1900 London, the details of houses, clothing, social rank – all add to the stories. But they are the back drop to Freeman’s true gift, which is assembling and telling a good mystery story. Because of the time period the detecting has a golden age feel. There’s a small circle of suspects, and the fact the main character, Lady Frances and her now husband George, are amateur sleuths is completely believable as the police force was still kind of a work in progress. The body that kicks off the murder mystery, Mr. Connor’s, is unfortunately found right next door, disrupting the tail end of the wedding as Frances’ brother Alonzo becomes an immediate suspect. Frances and George put off their wedding trip to Cannes (in a Romanov villa no less, and I think I was as disappointed as they were) to help clear Alonzo. Alonzo had been attempting to court the Connor’s daughter, but he is unfortunately being thwarted in this desire by an available future Marquis. Penniless, but titled, an American heiress like Miss Connor is just the ticket as far as the future Marquis is concerned, and Miss Connor’s father apparently agreed. Miss Connor herself seems to lean toward Alonzo. There’s also a feud going on between the Connors and another wealthy American family, the Bainbridges. Both patriarchs are aggressive and unpleasant – no one seems to be mourning Mr. Connor too much, least of all Mr. Bainbridge. There’s plenty for Frances and George to unpack as they attempt to unravel the mystery. Not only that, but they are supposed to be on their honeymoon, and at all hours of the day and night members of Frances’ family appear demanding her help or looking for her to call on someone (often the grieving widow Connor) to see what information she can glean. Because George is serving as Alonzo’s legal advisor, he’s able to extract some information from the police, and between the two of them – especially with Frances’ excellent deductive reasoning skills – they are of course able to eventually solve the murder. Freeman’s tone is light and often funny, and she has a truly deft hand with character, from her mainstays down to some sidebar characters in this outing, thugs named Sidney and Archie, who make a couple of appearances and further the storyline when they do appear. They were the cherries on this particularly delicious cupcake. I very much hope they make a return appearance. I am also awaiting the honeymoon. I know it won’t go smoothly, but I am sure it will be a happy one. Frances and George are that rare couple in literature that work in sync, are happy together, and make the stories better by simply being a unit. These books are funny, well plotted, and filled with characters I have grown to love.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katreader

    A BRIDE'S GUIDE TO MARRIAGE AND MURDER by Dianne Freeman The Fifth Countess of Harleigh Mystery Family is best enjoyed in small doses. Unfortunately for Frances, the Countess of Harleigh, her mother has been staying with her since her sister's wedding and now her father and brother have arrived. With a lovesick brother and feuding businessmen invited to the nuptials, her wedding to George Hazelton and their wedding trip afterward can't come soon enough. Just as the newly wed couple is about to dep A BRIDE'S GUIDE TO MARRIAGE AND MURDER by Dianne Freeman The Fifth Countess of Harleigh Mystery Family is best enjoyed in small doses. Unfortunately for Frances, the Countess of Harleigh, her mother has been staying with her since her sister's wedding and now her father and brother have arrived. With a lovesick brother and feuding businessmen invited to the nuptials, her wedding to George Hazelton and their wedding trip afterward can't come soon enough. Just as the newly wed couple is about to depart Inspector Delaney arrives. He's not late to the festivities, he's come with news. Frances' brother has been arrested for murder. With George providing legal counsel to the young man the newlyweds will begin investigating the murder themselves. The quicker they prove Alonzo's innocence the quicker they can enjoy their honeymoon. Love is a many-splendored thing. It also has various guises, many of which are seen here. The love of people about to be married and those who have been married many years. Happy marriages, troubled marriages, arranged marriages, infatuations, and more, along with the problems that beset all of them can be found in the fifth Countess of Harleigh Mystery. We also discover secrets...many secrets, the bane of many a relationship. What I love best is the juxtaposition of all these troubled relationships and that of the finally married Frances and George. Our newlyweds have been through a lot and they are finally together, but of course, their wedding couldn't go smoothly. I'm just thankful they were able to actually get married before the trouble really began. A BRIDE'S GUIDE TO MARRIAGE AND MURDER features an intriguing mystery. A horrible person as a victim provides many possible motives and I love how Frances and George worked together to, not only prove Lon's innocence, but solve the crime. Their bantering kept me grinning as well, especially George's reaction to wives killing their husbands! Complex characters and motivations kept me reading long into the night, enjoying every minute. Love and laughter add joy to a complex mystery rich in period detail in A BRIDE'S GUIDE TO MARRIAGE AND MURDER. I absolutely love this series and can't wait for the next book in the series to see what happens next!

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