Friday, October 1, 2010

Death at Hull House

Frances McNamara

In the late nineteenth century, after Emily Cabot is expelled from the University of Chicago for actions occurring while clearing a man unjustly accused of murder, she obtains a position at Hull House, assisting Jane Addams in the operation of the famous settlement house for immigrants on the West Side of Chicago. Soon after she moves in, a man who had come to see her is found bludgeoned to death. Concerned that her younger brother may be involved, Emily launches her own investigation. Meanwhile, her brother, convinced that the man who murdered their father has fled to Chicago, does some sleuthing of his own. Details concerning the operation and the people of Hull House, along with an overview of the deplorable living conditions faced by immigrants (and the lack of concern for the poor expressed by the city’s businessmen and politicians), give this novel a rich historical framework, made all the more poignant by the portrayal of the smallpox epidemic of 1893.

My Take:

Death at Hull House is a great historical mystery that really takes its time and feels very authentic.  If you are looking for a million miles a minute fast paced thriller a la James Patterson, this book isn't for you.  It is full of historical information which can give the book a bit of a slow feel at first, but when it gets going, it is very intriguing.  I really love this particular time and place in history--late 1800s Chicago.  I love the backdrop of the Colombian Exposition, the social change of the time (women really fighting for the vote and beginnings of labor laws) and the way the mindset of the people in general was really shifting into modern times.  The setting of this mystery is, of course, Hull House and the impoverished neighborhoods of Chicago.  Getting this really detailed glimpse of the hard work these women put in to change society is really a treat.  The dialogue is perfect, it felt natural for the time period and makes it clear the author knows what she is doing.  There were some things about the book I didn't love, sometimes it was difficult to keep up with all of the characters, to remember their names and such.  This was my biggest problem, at times I'd have to stop and think, "Now who was this person again?"  Overall though, the book was fascinating and very well researched. 3 Find a Used Book Store

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If this book were a movie it would likely be rated PG

***FTC Disclosure:  This book was provided in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***

If you are interested in purchasing Death at Hull House, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!



Coffee and a Book Chick said...

The premise alone sounds absolutely fascinating. Every now and again, I enjoy a slow-paced story as long as there is substance to it. This one sounds delectable enough to keep me interested to turn each page. I've not heard of this one before.

I'm not a big fan of James Patterson novels, so the fact that this is opposite of his style is fine by me!

Anonymous said...

Hi, visiting from Bloggy Moms! I am following you via Google Friend Connect and Twitter. Please follow back. Thanks!

Man of la Books said...

Sounds like a great book, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

SassyScorp said...

Thanks so much for stopping over on Mom Blogger Club! Yea, I am totally overwhelmed and no idea what to do with all the info! LOL.

Love your blog and I too love books. I look forward to reading more. You have a new follower! :)

Heather said...

Sorry this post is unrelated to the book review... although I really have to say, I love your large PG rating... that's a quick and easy way to let people know about sexual content and profanity and such... I really like that idea!

I was just responding to your invite to visit your blog that I got on Book Blogs Ning... so... here I am and I can't wait to start checking things out!

I'm following you now too, which will make that much easier :)
littlebearries on Book Blogs Ning

A.Marie said...

Hi there! I finally got back to Bloggy and saw that you had left me a message. What a great review that you wrote for this book. It sounds like a book that I would like to read. :)

Abundance Yeah said...

This is a nice blog. Can’t wait to see more. Following from MBC.
Remember to entry my Salsa Trio Giveaway ending October 10, 2010

Gina F said...

The book sounds very interesting and is my kind of book. I think I may read this book outside in my hammock under the tree with some nice ice tea. I'm your newest follower. I love reading books!!!

tips4green said...

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Kristin said...

Hi, nice site! Following you from Giveaway Blogs.

Kristin said...

Stopping by to say Hi from

Irene said...

This book has been on my TBR wishlist since I first read about it. Your review renews my first impression and now, I definitely it will moving it from wishlist to purchase list!

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Capital Barbie said...

Hey thanks for welcoming me to 20sb! Love your blog!


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