Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan

About the Book

Book: Murder in the City of Liberty  
Author: Rachel McMillan  
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical  
Release Date: May 21, 2019

Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case—and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home. 

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina “Reggie” Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca. 

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish’s hometown of Toronto. 

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.  

Click here to purchase your copy.  

My thoughts

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan is a wonderfully atmospheric novel filled with romance, historical detail, witty dialogue, and adventure. There’s a freshness to McMillan’s writing that I like, and I’ve never seen lead characters quite like Hamish and Reggie. In fact, it’s only in reflecting back that I realize how complex this story really is.

First, there’s the setting, Boston of 1940. My favorite historical era is the American Revolution, and Boston reflects much of our country’s fight for independence to this day. In McMillan’s hands, Boston comes alive so much so that it literally becomes a major character. But there’s also a realism as she shows its darker side, such as the criminal underworld. And some themes are just as prevalent today as they were then – racial tensions, corruption, and antisemitism.

Another strength is the characters of Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren – who, when it comes to historical mysteries, are in a class all by themselves. In spite of her high society background, or maybe because of it, the determined Reggie is striving for independence and making it on her own, yet is still drawn to certain elements of the society world. Hamish is an incredible, but flawed, leading man. How often does a hero wear glasses? Or suffer from mental illness? With Hamish, it’s panic attacks caused by an anxiety disorder – realistically portrayed because this is something with which McMillan has first-hand experience. What I like most is that Hamish is not defined by his disability, rather turning his weaknesses into strengths. I also loved the chemistry between Hamish and Reggie as their romance takes a step forward beyond the friend and coworker stage.

Two extremely strong secondary characters really stand out. Nate, Hamish’s best friend, is a patient encourager who I liked and want to see more of. And then there’s Hamish’s cousin, Luca Valari. Is he good or bad, or maybe a little of both? I don’t know yet, but I’m intrigued. “Much of Luca’s life existed behind a kind of filter where shapes were blurred and lines were fuzzy and nothing ever quite added up.”

Murder in the City of Liberty is the second book in this series, and while the author provides some background, I felt lost at times. Mob characters were difficult to keep up with. I highly recommend reading Murder at the Flamingo first, as I believe that would have given me a much better understanding. Another little thing is that I found the opening scene where Reggie almost drowned a little confusing when it came to location, where she and Hamish actually were in the building, how they got to one another, etc. However, I attribute that to the fact that I was reading an ARC.

There’s lots to enjoy in Murder in the City of Liberty and I look forward to much more from Rachel McMillan.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. 

Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.  

Read the excerpt

April 1940 

      There really never was a good time to drown. But this particular April had been unseasonably cold and promised spring long in coming. The slosh of the Charles River warmed by ribbons of June sun would have been preferable to the crusted sludge of leftover ice rimming the harbor, or so thought Reggie Van Buren as she bobbed up and down like a buoy. 
      A New Haven Van Buren ought to have perished an old, wealthy woman, tendrils of snow-white hair falling around a satin pillow, comforted in the knowledge that she would be interred in the family plot, her soul destined for paradise—not with water up to her nose, choking as it lapped in and out like a tide over her chattering teeth. But a New Haven Van Buren also might have had the propriety to insist upon the use of her given name and not the “Reggie” she so preferred. The Reggie she was just hearing now in a rather frantic yet familiar voice. 
      “Reggie!” Hamish DeLuca’s panicked voice reached into the hollow dome of her cement cave. “Reggie!” 
      “I was st-stupid. I s-slipped.” 
      She treaded poorly, her arms feeling like gelatin, her form rather lacking the swimming skills she had learned informally alongside her family’s schooner on Regatta Day. Reggie strained to rise above the lapping water. She took turns treading and raising herself as high up on her toes as she could. Rotating and wondering why she failed to complete the ballet classes her parents enrolled her in as a child. Standing on tiptoe might have added inches to her height and allowed her to clear her mouth of the water. As it was, her calf muscles strained. She said something that came out in a series of bubbles before glugging, rising upward, and noticing for the first time how the fog from her icy breath rippled over the water. If she couldn’t understand herself, how would he? 
      “S-slipped,” she said again, trying to make him out in shadow. “H-Hamish.” She tried again. Funny, usually he was the one with the stutter. Hamish DeLuca with the stutter and the bit of a handshake and that one pesky dimple and those big blue eyes. Her own eyes fluttered. Maybe she would never see him again. She would just slip under the water and rest her heavy eyelids. She blinked until a stream of torchlight buttered the dark walls, crystallizing the percolating water drips around her, and then the figure of her rescuer, whose blue eyes looked even more brilliant than usual in the eerie glow of the flashlight. 
      Hamish dropped to his knees. “Take my hand.” 
      “This didn’t turn out as I expected,” she chattered. 
      “Reggie, we don’t have much time.” His voice rippled as he looked frantically at her and then over to the grille she had stared at since she got into the mess, watching the water level rise and fall and rise and fall until it made her dizzy. She clung to his hand a moment. “We should have gone with plan B.”  
      Hamish growled. “We didn’t even have a plan A.” 
      “You’re my hero, Hamish.” She patted his hand with her icy one. “It was so nice of you to come.” 
      “Reggie, just take my hand.” 
      “I’m stuck!” 
      “M-my shoe.” Hamish said something she was altogether certain she had imagined in her half-frozen and very soggy state. And then, of course, he recklessly jumped in to get her.


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of both book in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Blog Stops


  1. Thank you for sharing. Enjoyed your review.

  2. I always love a good mystery. These sound like ones I'd enjoy.

  3. I enjoy reading historical mysteries and this series sounds like a great read.

  4. Wonderful review, Carole! This series sounds delightful!