A Deadly Fortune by Stacie Murphy is a gothic Victorian mystery with a dash of romance and a high dose of the paranormal. What an exciting story, full of twists and turns! I loved Stacie Murphy’s characters and her rich description of an asylum in New York City in the 1800s.

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The summary:

A Deadly Fortune
by Stacie Murphy

Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Pegasus Crime

Genre: Historical Mystery



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 Blackwellís 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 careeróand his place in Philadelphia societyóto devote himself to the study and treatment of mental disease. Miss Amelia Matthew is just another patientóuntil 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 daughteróa daughter she believes is being hidden at the asylumóhe turns to Amelia. Together, they uncover evidence of a deadly conspiracy, and then itís no longer just Ameliaís sanity and freedom at stake. Amelia must master her gift and use it to catch a killeróor risk becoming the next victim.

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Advance Praise for A Deadly Fortune

The 1893 world of the infamous lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s Island comes alive in frightening and horrific detail as a string of murders for profit is discovered when a young woman with a gift for contacting the dead becomes an accidental patient. She must fight for her life as well as her freedom in this engrossing mystery that reveals that all was not golden in Gilded Age New York. – Rosemary Simpson, author of Death Brings a Shadow: A Gilded Age Mystery

This engrossing mystery, rich in period detail, probes the dark side of Gilded Age New York and the even darker side of life at the insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Plucky Amelia Matthew rises to the considerable challenges that surround her, uncovering increasingly dangerous secrets that point to the presence of a murderer in the asylum. Amelia has a special gift that both helps and complicates her search for the truth, making her a unique heroine. A Deadly Fortune builds to a satisfying conclusion that will whet the reader’s appetite for more of Amelia’s adventures!  Clarissa Harwood, author of Impossible Saints and Bear No Malice

Stacie Murphy proves herself to be a masterful storyteller with A Deadly Fortune, an elegantly written, fast-paced mystery that blends the dark side of the Gilded Age, great characters, and a paranormal twist. Impossible to put down. – Julie McElwain, author of the Kendra Donovan Mystery Series

Murphy serves up a dark side of the Gilded Age with intrigue, historical detail, and captivating characters. This is a mystery to savor! Dianne Freeman, award winning author of the Countess of Harleigh mysteries.

Buy A Deadly Fortune here.

What an adventure! A Deadly Fortune isn’t necessarily a fun book, because it deals with dark subject matter, but it kept me hooked. I found the beginning to be a little slow, but around the halfway point, I was unable to put my ereader down!

A Deadly Fortune explores three points of view. There’s Amelia, a young woman with limited psychic powers that are fully awakened when she is injured. Afterwards, Amelia finds herself able to commune with the dead, but the intensity causes her to have an episode that sends her to an asylum. Next is Jonas, Amelia’s lifelong companion and brother in all but blood. He is determined to find out where Amelia is, and once he does, to break her out of the asylum. Finally there’s Andrew, a new doctor at the asylum. He does not like some of the methods used on the women there, and after Amelia communes with his dead sister, he believes in her powers and agrees to help her escape if she can help him uncover his friend’s missing sister who he believes is a patient at the asylum. The three work together and uncover a terrible plot in the process.

The twists and turns in this novel were so exciting. At times, they were easy to predict, which made it even more shocking when the author threw me off completely or put a slight spin on what I already saw coming. Towards the last quarter of the novel, there are some truly intense scenes. I often put my Kindle down between chapters to respond to texts and emails (or refill my wine glass or tea cup) and I was unable to do so, completely riveted and desperate to find out what happened next and how the main characters would get out of their situations.

The asylum on Blackwell Island was described in great detail, from the cells to the main rooms, from offices to doctor’s apartments. However, I did wish the city scenes were painted a bit better. There wasn’t much to distinguish Manhattan from any other city. Also, Andrew hails from Philadelphia originally, and reflects on a convalescent home in the eastern part of the city. While I guess there’s an eastern part if you’re looking on the map, real Philadelphians would say otherwise. East Philly is the Delaware River. 😉 (Sorry, I live in NYC now and grew up 30 minutes outside of Philly. I’m gonna have my gripes.)

Overall, this was a really enchanting read the really pulled me in. I thought the paranormal aspect lent itself well to the plot. This was a 4 star book for me. My thanks to the author, publisher, and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Stacie Murphy grew up near Nashville, TN. She began writing A Deadly Fortune in 2017 as a way to force herself to stay off Twitter in the evenings. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and the worst cat in the world.

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Find out more about how I rate books here.

A Deadly Fortune: A NovelA Deadly Fortune: A Novel by Stacie Murphy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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Book Club Questions

  1. How would the story have worked out if Amelia did not have her ability? Would the plot have been uncovered? Would she have made it out of the asylum?
  2. What do you think happened to the characters after this novel? In particular, would Jonas and Sidney keep doing what they could to find justice for the families? Would Amelia and Andrew be able to start a life together?
  3. Do you think Sidney was right in describing Amelia as selfish? Discuss her relationship with Jonas.
  4. How has the way we approach mental health, particularly women’s mental health, changed since this time? How has it remained the same?


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 11
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, January 12
Excerpt at Probably at the Library

Wednesday, January 13
Review at McCombs on Main
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, January 14
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Friday, January 15
Review at A Darn Good Read

Monday, January 18
Review at Novels Alive

Tuesday, January 19
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Wednesday, January 20
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Thursday, January 21
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 22
Review & Excerpt at Books & Benches

Monday, January 25
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Tuesday, January 26
Review at Bitch Bookshelf

Wednesday, January 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, January 28
Excerpt at Always With a Book

Friday, January 29
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Interview at Madwoman in the Attic

Monday, February 1
Review at Book Bustle

Tuesday, February 2
Review at Tangents and Tissues

Wednesday, February 3
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Review & Excerpt at The Book Review Crew

Friday, February 5
Review at Passages to the Past


Enter to win a copy of A Deadly Fortune by Stacie Murphy & a $50 Gift Card to Amazon or your favorite Indie store. Winner’s choice.

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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Interested? Buy A Deadly Fortune.
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