Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord by Celeste Connally

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Book Review of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord by Celeste Connally

I am very thankful to live in the United States of America in 2024! Sometimes I think it would be fun to spend a week in Victorian England and go to balls and wear fancy dresses. Then I remember how women didn’t have as many opportunities as men did at that time. Very few women could own property or survive on their own—basically, they relied on men to provide for them. I know things today may not be perfect here, but they are a million times better than they were. Reading Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord by Celeste Connally reminded me of how far we’ve come and how wonderful my life is. 


Bridgerton meets Agatha Christie in Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord, a dazzling first entry in a captivating new Regency-era mystery series with a feminist spin from Celeste Connally. 
London, 1815. Lady Petra Forsyth, daughter of the Earl of Holbrook, has made a shocking proclamation. After losing her beloved fiancé in an accident three years earlier, she announces in front of London’s loosest lips that she will never marry. A woman of independent means—and rather independent ways—Petra sees no reason to cede her wealth and freedom to any man now that the love of her life is gone. Instead, she plans to continue enjoying the best of society without any expectations. 
But when ballroom gossip suggests that a longtime friend has died of a fit due to her “melancholia” while in the care of a questionable physician, Petra vows to use her status to dig deeper. Just as Petra has reason to believe her friend is alive, a shocking murder proves more danger is afoot than she thought. And the more determined Lady Petra becomes in uncovering the truth, the more her own headstrong actions and desire for independence are used against her, putting her own freedom—and possibly her life—in jeopardy. 

My Book Review:

I feel I’m at a weird place with this book. I’m part speechless and part very opinionated. It’s a unique place for me! I’ll start off by saying that I have been in a bit of a reading slump. I have been reading and reviewing books since 2009. I’ve been reading since I was a small child, and I’ve read soooooo many books! I usually finish a book and start another one right away. For years I’d read two books per week, at least. I’ve read two books this year so far. Yep. That’s where I’m at. This has NEVER happened to me so I’m not quite sure what to do with it.  

I started this book in January and finished it today, April 3rd. Part of it was the reading slump, but the other part was the book; I could not get into it. Petra Forsyth is the main character. For some reason, I didn’t really like her. I didn’t find her relatable, and I thought her character was a bit confusing. Half of her is smart in noticing something awry, but the other half of her is not smart and makes a very poor decision (I won’t give anything away, but it’s obviously not smart).  

She wants to be very proper and ladylike and genteel, but she also wants to be free of societal rules and wants to go against the grain with almost everything she does. In many instances she can’t be both of these things simultaneously. She doesn’t want to love, but she does want to love. Petra wants to figure out what’s going on but puts herself into situations that could make her a part of the situation instead of a solver of it. I’m being vague so I don’t give too much away, but her behavior and attitudes drove me crazy! 

I wanted to like Duncan, I really did. Theoretically, it seemed like it could be such a great part of the story. In reality, though, I didn’t feel like I knew Duncan at all. I didn’t care for him, and thought his personality was quite flat. I felt that about most of the other supporting characters; I didn’t care about them and found them uninteresting. 

The plot. Oh, the plot. The beginning of the story was so slow. Nothing happens except for SO MUCH gossip and petty talk. I didn’t get interested at all until I found out there was some kind of mystery. Then, I felt a little more interest. I wanted to be intrigued, but I really wasn’t. It wasn’t until the last one hundred or so pages where things picked up and I made a point to push through and finish the book.  

What I found when I pushed through to the end is what made me speechless/opinionated. Wow. It’s a lot. A bit overwhelming, honestly, and not in a good way. I welcome the topic being discussed, but it was a bit much. There were several coincidences that were not particularly plausible, and it was too much for me. Petra did not handle herself well, either. The very end, after the mystery was solved, was cringe worthy. Petra acted like a seven-year-old boy, and it wasn’t proper, genteel, or believable.  

Overall, this book was not for me. It kind of felt like the author had an agenda and wanted to fit in as many social issues as possible. Each of them is a good topic to discuss (racism, LGBTQ issues, gender equality, mental health, feminism, classism, domestic abuse, etc.), but they don’t all need to be in one fictional book. I had a difficult time relating to the characters, and the plot dragged on until it exploded at the end.  

PG-13+ Rating

Content Rating: PG-13+

  • Profanity: Moderate 
  • Intimacy: Moderate 
    • There are a few scenes where you know they’re in bed together, but it doesn’t give any details. There is quite a lengthy discussion of being naked together, and there are several innuendoes. There’s also a scene where a man goes a little too far and makes the woman uncomfortable—unwanted advances. 
  • Violence: Moderate 
    • A character is murdered; women are drugged, tortured, and experimented on; and a man has his head bashed against the wall. 

Age Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 2.5/5

2.5 Star Rating

Click HERE if you would like to purchase Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord



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Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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