Mina is the second in the Maidens and Monsters series by Marie Piper. I’m ashamed to say, I was all *grabby hands* over this one and it took me far too many months to get to around to it because so many things got in the way of my reading time.
When we last saw the Maidens and Monsters, Christine had just married Eric Garrison, the patron of Opal Hall and they were heading to San Francisco. This left Mina, Elizabeth, Lucy, and Esme back in Mapleton, Kansas trying to unravel the mystery behind the truth of the Mapleton Massacre.
There’s been a lot that happened in between Christine and Mina, because we find out that Lucy is on the outs with the Maidens, and Mina is actually engaged to Jonathan Harker. I’m a bit bummed we didn’t get to see that relationship blossom. (Though you do get to see his devotion to her in this book, so that helps ease that pain.)
The story opens on the schoolteacher losing her marbles (or did she?) and Mina’s mother and the mayor decided to have her admitted to the asylum.
After that, the story is a little bit boring for a bit as you get to know Mina’s character a bit more, as you watch her go through a typical day reporting for The Gazette, which her mom runs.
Once Jonathan and Count Dalca show up, things start to pick up.
Lucy is traded around to all the eligible bachelors in the town like a prize cow, and it’s enough to really make you want to shake Lucy and ask her why she’s not standing up for herself. (Then again, this is the 1880s, women weren’t allowed to do that.)
Mina’s trying to unravel the mystery of the count and his eccentric ways, why her fiancé is ignoring her, just what’s going on with Lucy, and the schoolteacher’s insanity.
It’s a roller coaster ride, for sure. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, there’s a new twist that comes. Some I saw coming, some I didn’t.
This one doesn’t give you all the answers either, which is the nature of a series. There are still three more books to come after this one, so of course the answers won’t be here. But you do definitely get a few more answers than there were at the end of Christine… then again, there are now a lot more questions now than at the end of Christine.
I think my biggest problem, really, is that I’m *really, really* vested in Marie’s other series (The Fires of Cricket Bend) and I found myself stopping more than once to gather my thoughts and make sure I had my characters straight. Because, like, when she started mentioning the tavern, I was like, “Where the hell did Callie go?” Yeah, Callie’s not in this one. This is totally not Marie’s fault. It’s mine. But I think the fact I constantly had to pull myself back and think about where I was kind of pulled me out of the story just a little bit. Again, totally my fault, not the author’s.
Just like with Christine, once I finally had the time to sit down and read it I finished it in a day, which is usually the best form of praise I can give a book. Because I wasn’t putting it down till I had answers. In fact, once I finished, I immediately opened my copy of Lucy and stayed in Mapleton a little while longer before I finally had to give in and go to bed. (Alas, I had work in the morning!)