2021 Vivian Award Finalist, Book Review, Forbidden, Historical, Romance, Suspense

Lovely Digits by Jeanine Englert


When two murders strike the sleepy Victorian town of Clun, England, an unlikely partnership forms. But can the killer be found before there is a third?

Lovely Digits is the town oddity . . .
Quirky spinster Lucy Wycliffe prefers to ignore gossip and embrace her position as the town’s layer out of the dead, despite how her parents’ deaths thrust her into such unlikely work. Lovely Digits, as she’s known to the local townspeople, no longer dreams of marriage, but takes pride in providing dignity to the dead. Desperate to hold on to her family’s cottage and support her widowed sister and young niece, an unexpected offer of employment as assistant to the constable arrives at the perfect time.

Former sailor John Brodie is the mysterious new constable . . .
John Brodie is far from a stranger to Clun or the events of its past. Accepting the position as constable in the small town is a double-edged sword meant to heal his past and redeem his future. Falling for the beautiful and intelligent Lucy Wycliffe was never part of his plan.

As the killer closes in, will John reveal his secret and risk losing everything to save Lucy’s life?


Yes, I do read clean, wholesome romances and Lovely Digits has a great plot as well. Set in the mid-1800s, the story takes on a mission of redemption and forgiveness for the coverup of a past murder while trying to solve a string of new ones.

Miss Lucy Wycliffe is a spinster with an unusual job as a layer out of the dead. As one can guess it’s not the kind of job young women have so she is considered odd and nicknamed Lovely Digits. With her slimly landlord breathing down her neck to pay off her murdered parents’ loan and her responsibility to take care of her widowed sister and her niece, Constable John Brodie’s offer of a paid job to assist him in a murder investigation is something she cannot turn down. Let alone turn down such a handsome man who has confidence and trust in her as a woman to do the job.  Sadly, the victim is Lucy’s close friend and the second murder in her small town of Clun, England.  The first murder is on her table being prepped for a funeral and is another close friend.  Can they find the killer before he strikes again?

Constable John Brodie is hiding a damaging secret that involves the murder of Lucy’s parents. Fate has returned him to Clun to atone for his sins and to solve a case with multiple victims. When the murders become entwined with his past, time is running out on keeping everything a secret. His job is to find the killer while protecting the woman he cares for, but when she finds out about his duplicity, he will lose her for sure.

John and Lucy have instant chemistry with the ability to read each other’s expressions. Important traits to have when bouncing ideas off of each other while working a murder case. The collection of clues and evidence is interesting considering the era they are in. John is a very smart detective with great attention to detail and Lucy’s knowledge of the victims is a great help to the investigation. I loved both Lucy and John. They are both kind and caring people who think they don’t deserve the happiness they want. Lucy’s profession is one of the things that made me pick up this book because it is so unique in that time period. John’s self-flagellation and love for Lucy are so sad to watch. When he finally tells her his shameful past, it goes as I expected, but the thrilling self-sacrifice at the end leads to forgiveness and a HEA ending.

The slow build of this intriguing mystery is engaging. Add to it a lovely forbidden romance and you get an enthralling story that you can’t put down. The unknowns are many in this tale with a compelling plot and strong, yet vulnerable, characters who desperately want peace and acceptance in their lives.  Recommend highly.


Lovely Digits

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Jeanine EnglertJeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a Golden Heart ® Finalist, Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.

Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers.

Follow Jeanine on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.