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A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy. Amelia Matthew has done the all-but-impossible, especially for an orphan in Gilded Age New York City. Along with her foster brother Jonas, she has parleyed her modest psychic talent into a safe and comfortable life. But sa A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy. Amelia Matthew has done the all-but-impossible, especially for an orphan in Gilded Age New York City. Along with her foster brother Jonas, she has parleyed her modest psychic talent into a safe and comfortable life. But safety and comfort vanish when a head injury leaves Amelia with a dramatically-expanded gift. After she publicly channels an angry spirit, she finds herself imprisoned in the notorious insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. As Jonas searches for a way to free her, Amelia struggles to control her disturbing new abilities and survive a place where cruelty and despair threaten her sanity. Andrew Cavanaugh is familiar with despair. In the wake of a devastating loss, he abandons a promising medical career—and his place in Philadelphia society—to devote himself to the study and treatment of mental disease. Miss Amelia Matthew is just another patient—until she channels a spirit in front of him and proves her gift is real. When a distraught mother comes to Andrew searching for her missing daughter—a daughter she believes is being hidden at the asylum—he turns to Amelia. Together, they uncover evidence of a deadly conspiracy, and then it’s no longer just Amelia’s sanity and freedom at stake. Amelia must master her gift and use it to catch a killer—or risk becoming the next victim.


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A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy. Amelia Matthew has done the all-but-impossible, especially for an orphan in Gilded Age New York City. Along with her foster brother Jonas, she has parleyed her modest psychic talent into a safe and comfortable life. But sa A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy. Amelia Matthew has done the all-but-impossible, especially for an orphan in Gilded Age New York City. Along with her foster brother Jonas, she has parleyed her modest psychic talent into a safe and comfortable life. But safety and comfort vanish when a head injury leaves Amelia with a dramatically-expanded gift. After she publicly channels an angry spirit, she finds herself imprisoned in the notorious insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. As Jonas searches for a way to free her, Amelia struggles to control her disturbing new abilities and survive a place where cruelty and despair threaten her sanity. Andrew Cavanaugh is familiar with despair. In the wake of a devastating loss, he abandons a promising medical career—and his place in Philadelphia society—to devote himself to the study and treatment of mental disease. Miss Amelia Matthew is just another patient—until she channels a spirit in front of him and proves her gift is real. When a distraught mother comes to Andrew searching for her missing daughter—a daughter she believes is being hidden at the asylum—he turns to Amelia. Together, they uncover evidence of a deadly conspiracy, and then it’s no longer just Amelia’s sanity and freedom at stake. Amelia must master her gift and use it to catch a killer—or risk becoming the next victim.

30 review for A Deadly Fortune: A Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Murphy

    I mean, I wrote it, so yeah, I like it. Most of the time

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy Bruno

    A debut novel? Are you kidding me? Stacie Murphy just graced us readers with one hell of a novel and I loved every minute of it! Once I started the book I did not and could not put it down. I mean....chores not done, kids begging for food, husband crying in the corner...and me blissfully entranced into the world of A DEADLY FORTUNE! Amelia and her brother Jonas work in a fancy club together after being discovered on the streets by the club owner. Amelia reads Tarot cards and tells fortunes. She d A debut novel? Are you kidding me? Stacie Murphy just graced us readers with one hell of a novel and I loved every minute of it! Once I started the book I did not and could not put it down. I mean....chores not done, kids begging for food, husband crying in the corner...and me blissfully entranced into the world of A DEADLY FORTUNE! Amelia and her brother Jonas work in a fancy club together after being discovered on the streets by the club owner. Amelia reads Tarot cards and tells fortunes. She does have some psychic ability, but it's not reliable nor strong. That is until she is accidentally injured while coming to her brother's aid when he is in a fight. Once recovered her powers come full force. She can feel and see things when she touches someone and feels danger coming. After she collapses one day on the street she is mistaken for someone else and taken to a local mental asylum, the same one that reporter Nellie Bly would expose later. No one believes that she isn't who they think she is and her brother has no idea where she has gone to, but he will do everything he can to find her. It's so crazy to me that at that time a woman could be held and imprisoned in asylums at the whim of their husband or parents, despite that there is nothing wrong with her. It's absolutely terrifying! I don't want to give too much away because the story is amazing! So many twists and it also had some creepy parts, which I loved! A Deadly Fortune was deliciously addictive! I absolutely loved it and will be counting the days until her next release. I would seriously offer her my house cleaning services just so she has more writing time :) Ha! Read this book! You can thank me later :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I devoured this book. Loved the feminist undertones and the characters, and I was instantly drawn into the world the author created and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I devoured this book. Loved the feminist undertones and the characters, and I was instantly drawn into the world the author created and couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv

    [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “A Deadly Fortune” is a gripping thriller that had me at the edge of my seat for its entirety, and I loved it! I finished this story in one sitting because I could not put it down! The author has a beautiful style of story-telling. She had me hooked to the storyline from the time Amelia finds herself in the asylum. From then on, the story is a roller-coaster ride as we see the patients and workers’ twisted lives. I cannot beli [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “A Deadly Fortune” is a gripping thriller that had me at the edge of my seat for its entirety, and I loved it! I finished this story in one sitting because I could not put it down! The author has a beautiful style of story-telling. She had me hooked to the storyline from the time Amelia finds herself in the asylum. From then on, the story is a roller-coaster ride as we see the patients and workers’ twisted lives. I cannot believe this is the author’s debut novel, because it is so good! The pacing is perfect, the dialogues are polished, and the storyline is fantastic. Moreover, all the three main characters were fantastic! Frankly, I loved Amelia and Jonas because I felt Andrew was a bit weak compared to them. Although, Andrew did have his moments. For instance, I loved the scenes where Susannah appears to him through Amelia. Amelia is terrific in the role as she investigates the mistreatments using her powers. Let’s not forget Jonas! He was my favorite character in the whole story! I loved him and the lengths he went through to protect Amelia. On a side note, I also appreciate the author for putting an LGBTQ angle to his storyline. Furthermore, the author also kept the mystery wrapped up very nicely with quite a few red herrings. I was honestly surprised when we found out what is happening, not what I expected. Even after finishing this book, I still get goosebumps remembering the moments when Amelia is in Harcourt’s room or when they help Elizabeth. Overall, “A Deadly Fortune” is one of the best historical thrillers I have read in a while, and I found it thoroughly entertaining! I highly recommend you read it if you like the genre.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    After a head injury Amelia Matthew's minimal psychic ability manifests into being able to see the dead as well as see a person's possible future death upon contact with them.  Before Amelia can figure out what is happening, she has an incident in public and is taken to the asylum on Blackwell Island.  Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh has had a falling out with society and has taken an upon position on Blackwell Island.  He wants to know more about mental illness and women after a personal tragedy.  When Ame After a head injury Amelia Matthew's minimal psychic ability manifests into being able to see the dead as well as see a person's possible future death upon contact with them.  Before Amelia can figure out what is happening, she has an incident in public and is taken to the asylum on Blackwell Island.  Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh has had a falling out with society and has taken an upon position on Blackwell Island.  He wants to know more about mental illness and women after a personal tragedy.  When Amelia and Dr. Cavanaugh meet, a touch channels a spirit through Amelia that forces Dr. Cavanaugh to reexamine what he knows. Meanwhile, Amelia's friend Jonas is desperately trying to locate her and Dr. Cavanaugh's friend believes his sister has been taken against her will to Blackwell Island.  A Deadly Fortune is a riveting historical mystery set in New York's Gilded Age.  With magic, suspense and historical detail, I was pulled onto Blackwell Island.  The book jumps right into the action and at first, I had trouble placing when and where the story took place; however, once Amelia was taken to the infamous Blackwell Island, the setting fell into place.  The treatment of Blackwell's patients was researched well and there was a lot of time given to life inside of the asylum and the condition of the women who were there.  The mystery picked up halfway through the story as the characters realize even darker proceedings on the island.  In addition, the characters were all very well developed.  From Amelia, Jonas and Dr. Cavanaugh to the ladies on the island, each character was thought out.  At first, I thought I was missing something with Amelia and Jonas' backstory, but it was revealed later in the story.  I was also glad that Amelia and Dr. Cavanaugh's relationship did not take the forefront of the story, but there is definitely more to develop there. Overall, an engrossing historical mystery.  This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

  6. 4 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    This was a book I was really looking forward to. I loved The Alienist and this book was recommended for fans of that book so I was eager to check this one out. The Alienist was probably one of the more dark and twisted historical mysteries that I have ever read so putting that as a ‘recommended for fans of The Alienist’ was a pretty tall order. This is also Stacie Murphy’s debut novel, so I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond something with occultist undertones that was a darker mystery. I was stil This was a book I was really looking forward to. I loved The Alienist and this book was recommended for fans of that book so I was eager to check this one out. The Alienist was probably one of the more dark and twisted historical mysteries that I have ever read so putting that as a ‘recommended for fans of The Alienist’ was a pretty tall order. This is also Stacie Murphy’s debut novel, so I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond something with occultist undertones that was a darker mystery. I was still coming off the Christmas/holiday reads hangover so something with a little more meat to the story was definitely in order. The cover of this book is elegant and the premise sounded so promising. I was looking forward to seeing how this one unfolded and I was pleasantly surprised that it was a well written and engaging debut novel! If you love historical mysteries with a little more grit and some supernatural elements then this is an excellent option and one that you will want on your radar! I can see why this book is recommended for The Alienist fans. It has a lot of the same grit and atmosphere that make that book such a classic. Not to mention all the mental illness factors and being set in the same time period and location as The Alienist. Though I think The Alienist is still in a class all its own when it comes to the darkness of it, but this book definitely captures some of that same atmosphere and morally ambiguous characters. I wasn’t sure that I was going to love the ghost element of this story. The main character has ghosts posses her and she can see flashes of people’s future and their past. It sounded a little too fantastical and I wasn’t sure that it would really work in a story like this but I actually ended up loving it! The occult or supernatural elements in this story added to the atmosphere and were eerie enough to keep the reader on edge but not so much so that they were hokey or unbelievable. I don’t know that I loved Amelia as the main character but I did love the feminist ideologies that she brought forward in this one. During that time, women were entirely under their husband’s thumb (of male relative) when it came to things like their own sanity or their fortunes etc. And I thought the author did an outstanding job highlighting those issues and how women were treated and then provided the readers with a heroine who challenged those issues. Amelia was believable in her role as champion of women, but not so over the top that she felt too modern if that makes sense. Her beliefs and struggles fit perfectly in that time period. But there was something about her that I just didn’t love and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was but I didn’t love her. I respected her character and felt that she was well drawn and developed but I just didn’t feel a connection to her in the way that I had hoped. The other characters, Andrew and Jonas, who were the other main characters in this book, were also well developed but morally questionable at times. I liked both of them and thought they added depth to the story. Especially Andrew. He was progressive when it came to mental illness and women, but at the same time he didn’t seem overly radical so as to appear out of the time period. The author did such a great job with the characterization of each hero/heroine that I absolutely felt like I was in that time period. Overall I enjoyed this novel and I think fans of grittier mysteries will enjoy this one for sure! I loved the mental illness and asylum parts so much and was roped in by all the history. You definitely want this one on your radar! See my full review here

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    This was different. While a psychic mystery has been done, setting it as a historical was a clever spin on the usual trope. It started off strong but then got wordy/long-winded & i skim read until it started to get good again towards the middle as "the plot thickened". I'm sure the writer did her research and I give her credit for the fact that this reader reacted so emotionally to it. But the stuff at the asylum was tough to read especially w/my contemporary mindset. the logical part of my brain, This was different. While a psychic mystery has been done, setting it as a historical was a clever spin on the usual trope. It started off strong but then got wordy/long-winded & i skim read until it started to get good again towards the middle as "the plot thickened". I'm sure the writer did her research and I give her credit for the fact that this reader reacted so emotionally to it. But the stuff at the asylum was tough to read especially w/my contemporary mindset. the logical part of my brain, understood that it was the time/place of that era. During the late 1800's medicine & science were still evolving. Psychiatry was a new field and they worked w/the relevant & up to date methods at the time. But yeah..a lot of it was very cruel. And i know many despicable men got rid of their wives by having them committed to asylums. Still it was hard to read. (hence the skimming) I did however connect to the characters & I liked Jonas, Amelia & Andrew. Several of the supporting characters were likable as well. The mystery element wasn't so much a mystery as you figure out what's going on but not necessarily who was doing it and therein lay the actual puzzle. Overall, an interesting debut by the writer and I probably would read another of her books.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Klein

    This was a fantastic mystery/thriller set in the gilded age of New York that kept me guessing to the end. The characters are rich and their experiences are vividly portrayed to us. One of the things Murphy does exceptionally well is the pacing of the story. Chapters are sometimes long and unassuming as she paints the world for us, and as the action heats up, her chapters become mercilessly short and you find yourself yelling out, "don't cut away from this scene! I have to know." But Murphy is a This was a fantastic mystery/thriller set in the gilded age of New York that kept me guessing to the end. The characters are rich and their experiences are vividly portrayed to us. One of the things Murphy does exceptionally well is the pacing of the story. Chapters are sometimes long and unassuming as she paints the world for us, and as the action heats up, her chapters become mercilessly short and you find yourself yelling out, "don't cut away from this scene! I have to know." But Murphy is a skilled storyteller, and she's not going to give you anything until she's made you boil and then sit you on a slow simmer until she's good and ready. Great book, story, characters, and the city of New York in the late 19th Century is also a bit of a character - she obviously did great research and resists the urge to hit us over the head with it...she gives you just enough.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary Holtzman

    I have to admit, while I was looking forward to reading this book, I was a bit nervous because generally I like my Gilded Age reading to involve a twirl around Mrs. Astor's ballroom with Mr. McAllister's 400 and a trip out to Newport to watch an ambitious mama barter away her daughter and a chunk of her husband's fortune for a son-in-law with a noble title and a decrepit country estate. I was pretty sure that was not the side of Gilded Age New York I was going to encounter in Stacie Murphy's A D I have to admit, while I was looking forward to reading this book, I was a bit nervous because generally I like my Gilded Age reading to involve a twirl around Mrs. Astor's ballroom with Mr. McAllister's 400 and a trip out to Newport to watch an ambitious mama barter away her daughter and a chunk of her husband's fortune for a son-in-law with a noble title and a decrepit country estate. I was pretty sure that was not the side of Gilded Age New York I was going to encounter in Stacie Murphy's A Deadly Fortune. I was right about that, but I shouldn't have been nervous. This walk on the wild side was compelling reading and a lot of fun. I'm not sure whether "Paranormal Historical Mystery/Thriller" is an established genre or if Ms. Murphy invented it, but it turned out to be one I never knew I needed. The author has mastered the slow burn, doling out clues both to the mystery at the heart of the story and the characters' back stories and inner lives at a sometimes maddeningly leisurely pace that makes the reader constantly wanting to know more, but the payoff is sweeter for the delay. The historic detail is rock solid, clearly based on a level of meticulous research that takes the reader into a world that feels very real (except for the supernatural stuff!). The description of the notorious women's insane asylum on Blackwell's Island is all the more horrifying for being rooted firmly in fact. Ms. Murphy also does a great job of showing how the societal norms and legal structures of the day kept women at the mercy of the men in their lives, the poor in misery, and LGBTQ people in the shadows. To her great credit, though, she does this without being preachy, or portraying her female or Gay characters as mere victims, or all straight White men as evil, etc. She simply builds a very true to life depiction of 1890s New York and allows her complex, nuanced characters to move about in it. As they do, it becomes clear that something is very, very wrong, and they face dangers both of their world and from beyond it. Bottom line: A fast, fun read with compelling characters, a mystery that will keep you guessing, and great period detail. Also ghosts. I hope this will become a series so I can see Amelia and her friends solve some more mysteries!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)

    A Deadly Fortune is a marvellous debut novel, Stacie Murphy has stormed into historical fiction world with a real bang, she has brought a fresh and new feel to this genre and I can’t wait to see what this talented lady will grace us all with next. Set during the wonderful dark and gothic edge 1893, the story follows Amelia Matthews, a fortune-teller who makes a bit of a name for herself in the Gilded Age New York Club. But Amelia isn’t the stereotypical hoax fortune-tellers who like to swindle mo A Deadly Fortune is a marvellous debut novel, Stacie Murphy has stormed into historical fiction world with a real bang, she has brought a fresh and new feel to this genre and I can’t wait to see what this talented lady will grace us all with next. Set during the wonderful dark and gothic edge 1893, the story follows Amelia Matthews, a fortune-teller who makes a bit of a name for herself in the Gilded Age New York Club. But Amelia isn’t the stereotypical hoax fortune-tellers who like to swindle money from unsuspecting people by reading a few tea leaves, no she has a rare gift, she can actually see spirits. When she is involved in an accident she awakes to find herself trapped inside the notorious insane asylum on Blackwell Island, a deadly place where demons are in human form and they aren’t the poor souls who reside there either. The doctor in charge; Andrew Cavanaugh, soon believes Amelia has been wrongly sectioned on the Island after he witnesses her ability with his own eyes and he knows he must get her off the Island, but before that he comes across a dastardly plot within the walls of the asylum, one which he will need Amelia’s help for. Even though there is a lovely relationship bubbling between Amelia and Andrew, it’s a nice refreshing change to have their story come second to the mystery. This is a complex and riveting historical fiction, I love the darker-gilded edge to it. The paranormal elements take it from an undoubtedly great book to an exceptional one, there is a real raw and brutally honest portrayal of what the women whom unfortunately found themselves on Blackwell Island had to endure in the horrific asylum, it’s harrowing yet the author tackles the subject of mental health illness during the era with compassion and sensitively, Murphy has obviously done an immense amount of research which gives the entirety of the novel a rich and compelling attractiveness which will have you hooked and fully immersed. Deadly Fortune is an exceptionally Gothic and wonderfully dark and evocative historical. Eloquently written, it has raw passion, honest and powerful historical detailing and an attractively riveting and original plot which will have you hanging onto every single word which Murphy so beautifully dangles before your eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed A Deadly Fortune, it’s a fast-paced thrilling mystery with added magic, whilst reading I thought there was a touch of The Sixth Sense and Shutter Island about it – maybe that was just me, but there you go my mind works in weird ways.

  11. 4 out of 5

    gwendalyn _books_

    ❀ღ✿•*`Gwendalyn’s Books ¨`*•✿ღ❀ A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy. This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. An exceptional written, dark historical fiction. In post gothic era 1893, Amelia Matthew makes her living by fortune telling for a gentlemen’s club in Gilded A ❀ღ✿•*`Gwendalyn’s Books ¨`*•✿ღ❀ A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy. This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. An exceptional written, dark historical fiction. In post gothic era 1893, Amelia Matthew makes her living by fortune telling for a gentlemen’s club in Gilded Age New York City. Amelia. Along with her self adopted brother Jonas, they survie by using their wits. Amelia has a talent laying dormant, a gift of foreshadowing that is awakened to its fullest by a dangerous head injury. Unable to control her newly acquired skill she suffers the consequences when a incident happens to her involving a angry spirit in a public place. She is alone without Jonas there to help her, or speak up for her. Unable to make a coherent response, she is sent to a place that houses the mentally disabled. The notorious Blackwell’s Island insane asylum, a place that one your sent there, it’s highly unlikely that you will ever escape. When Amelia comes to her senses, she realizes that she has been mistakenly placed on an island faraway from downtown New York. A place that houses societies incurables, those suffering from mental conditions brought on by inherited factors or caused by effects of trauma. Some were in the stages of neurosyphilis, alcoholism, and then their are the women who are sent to the hospital for no other reason than to make them disappear. Amelia encounters a newly hired doctor, Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh, who has left his family and his life behind. Compassionate Andrew, is unnerved by the callous treatment that he sees at the asylum. When Amelia has a frightening episode that involves Dr Cavanaugh, the doctor might well question his own sanity. A thrilling ride with fast moving storyline that intensifies as the tale progresses. In a series of events that has the return of Amelia friend, Jonas, together along with the good doctor, things really take off. All three will have to work together carefully to uncover clues as they seek out answers to uncover a massive conspiracy, before the killer makes Amelia the next victim. This book will keep you engaged as you follow along with the narration as it holds your attention. I was on the edge, as I read late into night. This is one exceptional written book that I throughly enjoyed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    M. K. French

    In 1893 New York City, Amelia Matthew is an orphan using her modest psychic talent to live comfortably. A head injury expands her gift, to the point that channeling an angry spirit in public lands her in the notorious Blackwell’s Island insane asylum. Her foster brother Jonas is trying to get her out as she struggles with her ability in a place full of despair. Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh, full of despair and grief himself, turns to her for help in a missing persons case when he discovers her gift is r In 1893 New York City, Amelia Matthew is an orphan using her modest psychic talent to live comfortably. A head injury expands her gift, to the point that channeling an angry spirit in public lands her in the notorious Blackwell’s Island insane asylum. Her foster brother Jonas is trying to get her out as she struggles with her ability in a place full of despair. Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh, full of despair and grief himself, turns to her for help in a missing persons case when he discovers her gift is real. Along the way, Amelia has to master her skills to catch a killer, or else she might be the next victim. Psychiatric medicine and research at the turn of the century was very limited, and this novel shows asylum life very clearly. There are few outlets for any of the patients in the asylum, and patients are often at the mercy and opinions of the doctors and nurses caring for them. Some of the staff are more interested in holding power over others than actually helping the patients, and see the mental illnesses as their fault. Some of them are mentally disabled, drunk, dealing with neurosyphilis, etc. There are also some women there who were admitted against their will by husbands wanting to get rid of them, and trying to assert their true identity is seen as a form of insanity because the doctors trust their files more than the women. There is a lot of tension as Amelia, Jonas, and Andrew move all around the asylum trying to figure out who is making money off of imprisoning and killing women. There are close calls as they break into offices and the apartments that doctors have on the grounds. The tension keeps ratcheting up, even as they find some clues, and Amelia channels spirits hoping for answers. As they come closer, they realize it’s a larger operation than they thought, and then the risk becomes far more personal. Until the very end, I was on the edge of my seat and had to stay up late to read to the end. It’s a melancholic and beautiful ending to the novel, though I still have lingering questions about some of the characters’ futures. I didn’t want to leave them behind and wanted to see what would happen next. Stacie wrote a compelling novel, one that other readers will enjoy as well.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    What was the Gilded Age like for those not fortunate enough to be members of The Four Hundred? In her debut novel, Stacie Murphy describes a view far removed from the ballrooms of excess. Amelia and Jonas only rub shoulders with New York City’s wealthy males when they patronize the private club where they work. Amelia makes a living spinning fortunes with the aid of an unusual gift and keen observation. But their lives change when Amelia comes to Jonas’ aid during a fight. The repercussions of a What was the Gilded Age like for those not fortunate enough to be members of The Four Hundred? In her debut novel, Stacie Murphy describes a view far removed from the ballrooms of excess. Amelia and Jonas only rub shoulders with New York City’s wealthy males when they patronize the private club where they work. Amelia makes a living spinning fortunes with the aid of an unusual gift and keen observation. But their lives change when Amelia comes to Jonas’ aid during a fight. The repercussions of a head injury eventually send her to the insane asylum, made infamous by Nellie Bly’s reporting six years previously. There she discovers what many people don’t realize: that some wealthy men send their wives there as an excuse to be rid of them. A Deadly Fortune is neither an easy read, nor a pretty one. The inhabitants of the asylum are not well treated, and Murphy adds to the deplorable conditions with her murder plot. Some of the women are genuinely insane, and the language one of them utters may be shocking to some readers. Murphy’s fictional doctors have differing views on how to treat the female inmates, opinions that were both the norm and forward thinking for the time. Jonas’ personal relationship may also raise a few eyebrows but was not unheard of at the latter part of the 19th century. If I had to describe A Deadly Fortune in terms of genres, I’d call it a supernatural feminist historical thriller. There are only minor elements of romance, but there is a definite something between Amelia and Andrew despite the differences in social standing. I felt the ending was an opening for the main characters to continue their lives in either a sequel or a series. Murphy’s website also hints at more to come by describing her as the “Author of the Amelia Matthew Mysteries.” I shall look forward to reading them. Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, the words and opinions above are my own

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul A.

    You’ll be hooked from the get-go. This is a fun romp through New York City during the Gilded Age. Our protagonist, psychic Amelia Matthew, is committed to the asylum at Blackwell Island after a head injury. There, she discovers a nefarious plot. With the help of her brother, Jonas, and a new doctor, Andrew Cavanaugh, Amanda sets out to discover who is the guilty party. Having grown up in New York City (although not during the Gilded Age) I felt right at home in Murphy’s New York. The rich detail, You’ll be hooked from the get-go. This is a fun romp through New York City during the Gilded Age. Our protagonist, psychic Amelia Matthew, is committed to the asylum at Blackwell Island after a head injury. There, she discovers a nefarious plot. With the help of her brother, Jonas, and a new doctor, Andrew Cavanaugh, Amanda sets out to discover who is the guilty party. Having grown up in New York City (although not during the Gilded Age) I felt right at home in Murphy’s New York. The rich detail, tension, excellent pacing, and verisimilitude make the story jump off the pages. It’s a great read, and it should by rights become a series similar to “The Alienist” or “Miss Scarlet and the Duke.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Don't miss this fantastic start to what one hopes will be a long series. Mixing murder, mayhem, New York's real and most infamous insane asylum for women, and ghosts, this is a humdinger of a novel. But better than the fantastical twisty plot elements are the completely engaging characters including the psychic Amelia, the professional charmer Jonas, and the (literally) haunted doctor Andrew. No spoilers but double dog dare you to put this book down during the final third as the villains mount u Don't miss this fantastic start to what one hopes will be a long series. Mixing murder, mayhem, New York's real and most infamous insane asylum for women, and ghosts, this is a humdinger of a novel. But better than the fantastical twisty plot elements are the completely engaging characters including the psychic Amelia, the professional charmer Jonas, and the (literally) haunted doctor Andrew. No spoilers but double dog dare you to put this book down during the final third as the villains mount up and the likelihood of one or more of the trio becoming ghosts seems eminent.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Meredith W.

    Wow. This book was extraordinary! I read the entire book in one day...just could not put it down! I found myself so emotionally invested in the characters, so riveted by the storyline, so swept up in the rich detail of the darkness and times of Gilded Age NY. I hope this is the first of many novels by this brilliant author. So captivating and well written. Very highly recommend!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    The character development in this book was terrific. I only gave it four stars because it made me uncomfortable. I wanted to return it. I tried to return it to the library, but it didn’t go away off my kindle!! So I finished it. Really.good.book. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in two days.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Good new mystery author! Two "siblings" not related but together since childhood work comfortably (he as a handsome bouncer of sorts, she as a fortune teller) in an upscale NY brothel in the Gilded Age. The other hero is a young doctor stung by family tragedy. This interesting combination mix in the Blackwell Island insane asylum. I've read the same story before with similar circumstances of that era's definitions of insanity for women, but I enjoyed this combination and I always enjoy good char Good new mystery author! Two "siblings" not related but together since childhood work comfortably (he as a handsome bouncer of sorts, she as a fortune teller) in an upscale NY brothel in the Gilded Age. The other hero is a young doctor stung by family tragedy. This interesting combination mix in the Blackwell Island insane asylum. I've read the same story before with similar circumstances of that era's definitions of insanity for women, but I enjoyed this combination and I always enjoy good character development. The reason it did not get five stars is that the dialogue is somewhat stilted in that it attempts to move the story along with declarations rather than a true conversation (e.g. "I will ruin you. You will never work again!" type of declarations.)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Blanck

    I loved A Deadly Fortune. I read it in three nights because I didn’t want to put it down. It’s excellent writing with well-developed characters. I especially appreciated the strong female main character. Stacie Murphy keeps the tension going in a fast-paced mystery with twists and turns that go all the way until the end. She grounds the story realistically in Gilded Age NY, using details that draw you in and don’t overwhelm you. She’s clearly done her research. This is a great read, and I hope t I loved A Deadly Fortune. I read it in three nights because I didn’t want to put it down. It’s excellent writing with well-developed characters. I especially appreciated the strong female main character. Stacie Murphy keeps the tension going in a fast-paced mystery with twists and turns that go all the way until the end. She grounds the story realistically in Gilded Age NY, using details that draw you in and don’t overwhelm you. She’s clearly done her research. This is a great read, and I hope there’s a sequel.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Amelia Matthew works in a gentlemen's club reading tarot cards using her cleverness and modest psychic ability. After a serious head injury Amelia discovers that this ability has changed dramatically. She now interacts with the spirit world and after one disturbing encounter finds herself an inmate of the notorious insane asylum on Blackwell's Island. Her claims that she isn't insane is met with scepticism. Her only hope is that Jonas will come to her rescue, but until then she must bide her tim Amelia Matthew works in a gentlemen's club reading tarot cards using her cleverness and modest psychic ability. After a serious head injury Amelia discovers that this ability has changed dramatically. She now interacts with the spirit world and after one disturbing encounter finds herself an inmate of the notorious insane asylum on Blackwell's Island. Her claims that she isn't insane is met with scepticism. Her only hope is that Jonas will come to her rescue, but until then she must bide her time witnessing the cruelty and barbaric medical practices involved in the treatment of the mentally ill. Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh joins the medical staff on Blackwell's Island to study mental illness in women. He is driven by guilt over the personal loss he has suffered. Through his research, he eventually crosses paths with Amelia, who shocks him when a spirit takes over her body. At first he disbelieves what he has seen, but when Amelia successfully channels the same spirit again in his presence, he accepts that her psychic ability is real. When Andrew is asked to search for a missing woman, Amelia is the ideal person to ask for assistance. During the search evidence of a nefarious scheme involving the inmates is uncovered, which places both their lives in danger. A Deadly Fortune is an enthralling mystery that highlights the grim reality of life within an insane asylum where cruelty and dubious medical practices are the norm. It also reveals how easy it was for women to be committed by their husbands for various reasons but especially to gain control of their fortunes, and how the unscrupulous could take advantage of the system for personal gain. Most of the story takes place within the asylum, creating a suspenseful and menacing atmosphere immediately Amelia is incarcerated. Her psychic ability also contributes to the suspense as she struggles to control it and interpret the visions. The paranormal events are believable and work well within the context of the story. The ending was both exciting and satisfying. Well-developed characters and plot make this a compelling read that I am happy to recommend. A Deadly Fortune is an excellent debut novel sure to delight historical mystery fans who also enjoy a paranormal twist. I received a complimentary copy of this book as a book tour participnt.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mystic Miraflores

    I usually don't read paranormal books, but the description to this book sounded intriguing. It is a good start to what I hope will be a series featuring Amelia, Jonas and Andrew. The plot highlighted a misogynistic society where men could put their wives away into mental asylums when they wanted the women's money and/or the men wanted to marry other women. It was quite horrifying and I'm glad the crew of three were able to figure out the murderer, although they couldn't save all the women. Unfor I usually don't read paranormal books, but the description to this book sounded intriguing. It is a good start to what I hope will be a series featuring Amelia, Jonas and Andrew. The plot highlighted a misogynistic society where men could put their wives away into mental asylums when they wanted the women's money and/or the men wanted to marry other women. It was quite horrifying and I'm glad the crew of three were able to figure out the murderer, although they couldn't save all the women. Unfortunately there were some strange anomalies in the story. First of all, how many women were there who were calling for their "cats" or "kitties"? On page 75 of Kindle Version: "She (Amelia) watched as a stretcher was carried from the cell besides hers, bearing a still form wrapped up in a grey blanket, the ragged stuffed cat perched on top". This was a haggard woman who called for her cat/kitty. She would often say: "I have to get home to my cat. She'll wonder where I've gone, my sweet little kitty. She needs me." (page 27 Kindle version). Then on page 157, "There'd been a death on the ward that night, too--the old woman who called for her cat. " I had to do a double-take: wait, didn't she die already? I was surprised that a book from a publishing house didn't receive better editing. There are these mistakes: "Page 238 "thenspun on"; and page 262: "Andrew snapped the telephone continued to shriek". I would have expected these kinds of mistakes from self-published books. Still, I hope there will be a better-edited sequel to this first story as I do like the three main characters.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tonya Mitchell

    An engrossing tale of Gilded Age New York and its seedy underbelly I thoroughly enjoyed this debut by Stacie Murphy. In it, we meet Amelia Matthew who has used her psychic ability to provide a tidy income for herself—no small feat, as she was raised (along with her brother Jonas), at a foundling hospital. A bad head injury, however, ratchets Amelia’s psychic abilities up several notches to the point where she is, at times, powerless to control it. Without spoiling too much of the plot, Amelia end An engrossing tale of Gilded Age New York and its seedy underbelly I thoroughly enjoyed this debut by Stacie Murphy. In it, we meet Amelia Matthew who has used her psychic ability to provide a tidy income for herself—no small feat, as she was raised (along with her brother Jonas), at a foundling hospital. A bad head injury, however, ratchets Amelia’s psychic abilities up several notches to the point where she is, at times, powerless to control it. Without spoiling too much of the plot, Amelia ends up at Blackwell’s Asylum. She is far from insane, yet once behind asylum bars, patients’ pleas of sanity are summarily dismissed. Enter Dr Andrew Cavanaugh, a new member of the asylum staff who not only discovers Amelia’s bizarre gift, but becomes knowledgeable of a deadly plot in which ladies are brought to the asylum by scheming husbands who wish to get them out of the way. Amelia strikes a bargain: she’ll help Dr Cavanaugh discover who among the staff is responsible if he’ll help her escape. With a master’s skill, Murphy spins a web of secrets, greed, and betrayal readers will remember long after the book is done. Her flawless prose evokes the time period beautifully, yet it never slows down the story. The key characters are easy to root for, the villains as evil as they come. I savored this story to the final page.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    Even though not blood related Amelia and Jonas have lived like brother and sister since they found each other in the Foundling Home as children. They existed by their wits on the streets of NYC and in 1893 they are eking out an existence working at a somewhat shady club – Amelia is using her sketchy psychic talents to ‘read’ customers and Jonas is entertaining gentlemen. After an accident where Amelia hits her head against a brick wall she finds that her psychic abilities are intensified. One eveni Even though not blood related Amelia and Jonas have lived like brother and sister since they found each other in the Foundling Home as children. They existed by their wits on the streets of NYC and in 1893 they are eking out an existence working at a somewhat shady club – Amelia is using her sketchy psychic talents to ‘read’ customers and Jonas is entertaining gentlemen. After an accident where Amelia hits her head against a brick wall she finds that her psychic abilities are intensified. One evening on a lone walk she is assaulted by something strange, something ethereal, that brings her to her knees. When she awakes she finds herself in the Blackwell Island Asylum. It does not take long to find that something horrible and corrupt is going on in the Asylum. With the help of the recently employed young doctor Andrew Cavanaugh who is already dealing with his own sadness and guilt they band together with Jonas to bring to light the horror that is happening to many of the women who are brought to this place. This is a race to the finish mystery with so much atmosphere and suspense and truly marvelous characters I dare you to put it down! For a debut novel this is top of the line writing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I can't recommend A Deadly Fortune highly enough! Murphy does a PHENOMENAL job in her debut novel crafting a wonderfully intriguing plot that takes you down a series of twists and horrors as Amelia, Jonas, and Andrew uncover a bone-chilling mystery at the city's insane asylum. I found myself unable to put the book down, intent on understanding what would happen to the main characters as they found themselves ever closer to uncovering a mass conspiracy at Blackwell Island. The novel perfectly ble I can't recommend A Deadly Fortune highly enough! Murphy does a PHENOMENAL job in her debut novel crafting a wonderfully intriguing plot that takes you down a series of twists and horrors as Amelia, Jonas, and Andrew uncover a bone-chilling mystery at the city's insane asylum. I found myself unable to put the book down, intent on understanding what would happen to the main characters as they found themselves ever closer to uncovering a mass conspiracy at Blackwell Island. The novel perfectly blends historical accuracy of gilded-age New York and the terrors that happened at the city's insane asylum with just a touch of magic. I'm the kind of reader where I either finish a book in three days, or am still only 50 pages in after six months. I binged A Deadly Fortune in just a day and a half. Having struggled to really get into a book for over a year, this was welcomed reprieve that reminded me what I love so much about reading. My only outstanding question: When do I get to read the sequel? Seriously, buy a copy NOW!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Teferra

    I loved loved LOVED this book!! The author got to come to a book club meeting of mine and discuss her process behind the book and made it all the more fascinating! Truly, the book had a plot twist you couldn’t see coming and the way the little details created a fluid narrative to explain the twists and turns made it addicting. The characters were all dynamic and interesting and real; the book made it feel like you were on this journey through Gilded Era New York with them. There were some parts in I loved loved LOVED this book!! The author got to come to a book club meeting of mine and discuss her process behind the book and made it all the more fascinating! Truly, the book had a plot twist you couldn’t see coming and the way the little details created a fluid narrative to explain the twists and turns made it addicting. The characters were all dynamic and interesting and real; the book made it feel like you were on this journey through Gilded Era New York with them. There were some parts in the book that just made my heart stop with emotion and I absolutely loved how the author worded those emotional moments so that I could really empathize with the beloved characters. With an utterly addicting premise and character bunch (and representation!) I totally totally TOTALLY recommend reading this book; you won’t see the end coming and the plot is one hell of a ride!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sullivle

    Stacie Murphy's debut novel, A DEADLY FORTUNE, is an engrossing, meticulously researched novel that sucks the reader fully into Gilded Age New York City. The city itself is almost as much a character in the novel as Amelia, Jonas, and Andrew--and you'll fall in love with all of them. The writing is clear and vivid, the plot is fast-paced and thrilling, and the answer to the mystery is far from obvious--it kept me guessing all the way through the end. I particularly liked how the author wove the Stacie Murphy's debut novel, A DEADLY FORTUNE, is an engrossing, meticulously researched novel that sucks the reader fully into Gilded Age New York City. The city itself is almost as much a character in the novel as Amelia, Jonas, and Andrew--and you'll fall in love with all of them. The writing is clear and vivid, the plot is fast-paced and thrilling, and the answer to the mystery is far from obvious--it kept me guessing all the way through the end. I particularly liked how the author wove the magic of Amelia's gifts into the broader mystery the book is centered around. I had some small quibbles about Amelia's role in the asylum--it seemed that her activities with Jonas and Andrew should have sparked more questions from the other people in the asylum. But that in no way detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book. A very impressive debut!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katelynne

    What a great read. While I found the beginning to be a little slow, but once I was halfway through, I could not put this book down. The characters were great, and the plot was so layered and twisted. While I figured some things out easily, other aspects were such a puzzle. I did want a little more detail in some of the settings, though the asylum itself is described expertly. I loved that this was a solid gothic historical fiction mystery with an excellent paranormal tie-in that lent itself well What a great read. While I found the beginning to be a little slow, but once I was halfway through, I could not put this book down. The characters were great, and the plot was so layered and twisted. While I figured some things out easily, other aspects were such a puzzle. I did want a little more detail in some of the settings, though the asylum itself is described expertly. I loved that this was a solid gothic historical fiction mystery with an excellent paranormal tie-in that lent itself well to the plot. My thanks to the author, publisher, and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for giving me a copy in exchange for my honest review. Look out for my full review at https://bitchbookshelf.com on January 26.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This was darker than I thought it would be but it was still very good. Amelia, a young woman who must make her own way in the New York City of the gilded age, has real psychic powers and earns her living working as a medium in a nightclub. When Amelia falls unconscious out of doors, she is taken to an insane asylum for women, which is on an island. Andrew Cavanaugh, a young doctor who has just started working at the asylum, is trying without much success to make things better for the inmates the This was darker than I thought it would be but it was still very good. Amelia, a young woman who must make her own way in the New York City of the gilded age, has real psychic powers and earns her living working as a medium in a nightclub. When Amelia falls unconscious out of doors, she is taken to an insane asylum for women, which is on an island. Andrew Cavanaugh, a young doctor who has just started working at the asylum, is trying without much success to make things better for the inmates there. When a friend asks him to track down his missing sister, Andrew and Amelia find darker secrets than they suspected within the asylum walls. The pacing is good and the writing is atmospheric. This was almost too dark for me, but I enjoyed the twists of the plot and it is certainly a good story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Enjoyed this. How could I not be drawn to a story about a fortune teller in gilded age New York who gets thrown into the asylum in Blackwell island. Amelia finds herself surrounded by enough women like herself, who are not insane but have been out there by husbands or family members for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile her clairvoyance has increased and she is seeing deaths, which is an unknown phenomenon at the time, and she is trying desperately to get out of an asylum. Meanwhile a new doctor s Enjoyed this. How could I not be drawn to a story about a fortune teller in gilded age New York who gets thrown into the asylum in Blackwell island. Amelia finds herself surrounded by enough women like herself, who are not insane but have been out there by husbands or family members for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile her clairvoyance has increased and she is seeing deaths, which is an unknown phenomenon at the time, and she is trying desperately to get out of an asylum. Meanwhile a new doctor starts to see thru some of the harsh treatments and crude ways. He suspects something more is going on. Amelia and her foster brother join with the the doc and try to solve the mystery and the murder(s) all of which was a page turning read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    A friend sent me this book because she enjoyed it so much. I devoured it in two days. It’s hard to believe this is Murphy’s first novel. She expertly created characters that are real and relatable - something I don’t always find to be true in historical fiction. As a feminist, I appreciate the strong women and as an advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community I applaud the perfect portrayal of the gay men. There’s just enough of the supernatural to be interesting but the whole story didn’t A friend sent me this book because she enjoyed it so much. I devoured it in two days. It’s hard to believe this is Murphy’s first novel. She expertly created characters that are real and relatable - something I don’t always find to be true in historical fiction. As a feminist, I appreciate the strong women and as an advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community I applaud the perfect portrayal of the gay men. There’s just enough of the supernatural to be interesting but the whole story didn’t revolve around it. She introduced me to characters that I truly like so I didn’t want the book to end - I want to know what happens to them next. This book just screams for a sequel!

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