Book Review: Josephine’s Daughter (The Golden City #5) by A. B. Michaels

Josephine's DaughterAbout the Book

What’s worse than a mother like Josephine? Turning out to be just like her.

In the late nineteenth century, wealthy and headstrong Kit Firestone chafes under the strictures of the Golden City’s high society, especially the interference of her charming but overbearing mother, Josephine. Kit’s secret rebellion leads to potentially catastrophic results and keeps her from finding true happiness.

When her brother nearly dies from a dangerous infection, Kit defies convention and becomes a working nurse. Through her troubled romance with a young doctor and a series of dramatic events, including a natural disaster and her mother’s own critical illness, Kit begins to understand who her mother truly is and what their relationship is all about. She may not get the chance to appreciate their bond, however, because, through no fault of her own, a madman has Kit in his crosshairs.

Format: Paperback, ebook (395 pp.)    Publisher: Red Trumpet Press
Published: 10th March 2019          Genre: Historical Fiction

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My Review

Alternating between the experiences of Josephine in 1860s Philadelphia and those of her daughter, Katherine, in 1890s San Francisco,  the book explores the inferior position and powerlessness of women in all aspects of society, even those born in to well-to-do families.  It reveals the ways in which women can fall prey to the whims and desires of men, at times in quite shocking fashion and with long-lasting consequences.

Although Katherine and Josephine struggle with their relationship and often come into conflict with each other, in fact they are more similar than they might like to think.  Both are independent-minded, intelligent and ambitious and seek ways to take back control of their lives in any way they can and to use the power of reputation to punish men guilty of wrongdoing.  The book is packed full of fascinating historical detail.

What the book description doesn’t reveal but, to be fair, the author did make clear in her email to advance readers, is that Josephine’s Daughter is in part the ‘She Said’ version of events involving two of the main characters – Tom and Katherine – from the previous book in the series, The Price of Compassion (which you can read my review of here).  This explains the strong sense of déjà vu I felt when reading the last third of Josephine’s Daughter as scenes and conversations from The Price of Compassion are repeated (in the case of conversations, verbatim) albeit from a different point of view.  I’m afraid for me, having read The Price of Compassion, this change of perspective added relatively little.

However, on the plus side, it means Josephine’s Daughter is perfect as a standalone novel for those who have not read The Price of Compassion (and I have reflected this in my rating on Amazon and Goodreads).   As essentially a prequel to The Price of Compassion, Josephine’s Daughter didn’t completely work for me because of the amount of overlap and repetition between the two books.  However, I enjoyed the earlier parts of the book.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of the author.

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In three words: Dramatic, emotional, spirited

Try something similar…The Cornish Lady by Nicola Pryce (read my review here)

03_A.B. MichaelsAbout the Author

A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned Masters’ degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she’s an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. Her historical series, “The Golden City,” follows characters who make their way in turn of the twentieth century San Francisco. “I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for happiness like the rest of us. So much was happening in the early 1900’s that help shape my novels. Once I tear myself away from the underlying research, they are fascinating stories to write.”

Currently Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league.

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