Review: Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man by Ciar Cullen

Today we have a review of Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man by Ciar Cullen as part of her blog tour. There is also a giveaway, so be sure to scroll down after the review to learn more.



About the Book

At the cusp of the twentieth century, an heiress turned detective enters a world of deception and danger and must learn to trust her nemesis with both her life and her love.

Tormented by a tragic past, Miss Lillian Holmes nonetheless found the strength to go on, to become the greatest female detective of her time. To make her uncle proud. Except…he was not truly her uncle. Sherlock was a fictional character, and Lil was less a true detective than a sheltered twenty-six year old heiress with taste for mystery…and morphine. But then she saw him. Leaping from her neighbor’s second-story window, a beautiful stranger. With the recent murders plaguing Baltimore, here was a chance to reveal the truth.
Except, the Leaping Man was far more than he seemed. A wanton creature of darkness, an entry point to a realm of deception and evil, and to a Truth she had waited countless years to uncover, he would threaten far more than Lillian’s life. He would take both her heart and soul. And she would rejoice in it.


The Review

Right off the bat, that is a spectacular title. And a spectacular author name.

Why is it spectacular? Because I already know it has something to do with Sherlock Holmes and it’s gonna be odd. And boy do  I love Ood. I mean odd.

Lillian Holmes has mysterious unknown past, All we know of Lillian is that she’s a proper lady with a huge bank  account, she envisions herself related to the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes, and she has regular meetings with her psychiatrist.

One hot night, Lillian stands naked before her open window and spies a man jumping out of a two story window nimbly to the ground.  Whoa…whoa…this is too many levels of bad ass. I need to reflect on this for a moment. What is the percentage of women willing to stand naked in front of their open window? Granted it was dark but I know most women have this subconscious feeling of modesty even if it was pitch black. This was brazen and cool. And even cooler is that the man saw her looking and she didn’t even budge.  Lillian Holmes is a badass. She’s unstable but she has bad ass all wrapped up.

Determined to live up to Uncle Sherlock Holmes, Lillian sets herself on a determined path to figured out who this man is. A man that may have been killing people.

This is not a book that I expected. I expected odd. I didn’t expect this level of odd. And of what a refreshing feeling. Usually when I enjoy a Regency/Victorian story, I already have several prototypes of what the heroine will be. From my selections of stories, these are the prototypes for your enjoyment:

  • Quiet, determined woman who holds fast to her ideals and morals, Until the hero comes to challenge them all
  • Spunky/Odd woman who is determined not to let any man/society take away her freedom.  Until society/hero+ plot point ends up with her being married
  • Lonely, intelligent woman feels that she doomed to live a quiet,solitary life so she immerses herself in some noble cause. Then the hero comes along to laugh away her sorrows and whisks her off to adventure.

Eh, this is only a few. The grape juice can only power off so many memories,

Lillian Holmes is different in that she ignores everyone, including the Leaping Man (the identity of whom is solved within a couple of pages). She is steadfast in her ideas and feelings even when they’re wrong. And she is completely flawed, not even realizing that she’s a morphine addict. Hell she ignores her own reasoning. I adore Lillian Holmes. I would be her Watson-like character. She is type of person that will plunge steadfastly into darkness. No matter how much she reasons it right or wrong, it is her decision. It is her choice. I need more female characters in my romance books. I’m not saying rebels. I’m saying ones that are comfortable with their own ideas and taking responsibility for them.

With that said, I am wholly disappointed in the romance build up. There wasn’t any. Like one second they meet and then there’s intimacy (not what your thinking…it’s intimate. Just different). I guess all the steam went into building Lillian Holmes. I am not feeling the hero at all. He’s not even thrilling to me as a “bad boy” type. He’s too bland for Lillian.

I am deliberately not telling you the hero’s name. I won’t spoil the fun.

I do detest the instant attraction between characters. I understand lust, not love as being the speedy connection. I know no one, not even myself who has frozen in mid-step and knew I was in love. I will falter my steps for a hot guy down the street but its not because I’m thinking we’re going to be together forever. I’m thinking his arms look gooood.

Love for me is the jewel at the end of a struggle. It’s reading what the characters had to live through together to cement their bonds.  When they struggle, I struggle. When they start to feel that inkling, I feel the tingly feelings too. When the first kiss is a surprise/a joy oh you can bet I’m rolling around squealing. So when I’m cheated of that build up with an awesome character I adore, major shoulder slump.

The naughtiness is more of the brazen type. As in standing naked in front of an open window. Or when the hero  —-s her then t—-es her and then —-.

Haaaaaaa! Thought I would give away the fun stuff huh?

The book is definitely a delight to read. The hero/heroine do get together in a meh way but the story/suspense/action does make it up to me. I will be keeping an eye on this series and look forward to reading future installments.

I dare anyone to stand at an open window and not try to cover themselves up. I’m still not over that.

Length: Novel

Genre: Paranormal Romance (ish)

Primary Book Format: e-format

Publisher/Imprint: Boroughs Publishing Group

Blush Quotient: Cold Nipples

Smart Girls Rating:  4.5 stars

Can order it here: Amazon

(Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.)


The Tour Giveaway

Ciar and her publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group, will be awarding a 10-book subscription to their Lunchbox Romance line, which will include The Shopgirl and the Vampire, Ciar’s precursor to Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Ciar Cullen 

Ciar Cullen hails from Baltimore, Maryland. She started her academic life as a theater major, but when she learned she couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag she turned to archaeology, another love. She earned her degree at Indiana University, summered on digs in Greece and England, landed a gig in New Jersey, and eventually went into nonfiction publishing. Her third career is as a bureaucrat at a university. She is married to a photographer and has two cats. Eventually she hopes to retire to a small cabin, with the same husband and more cats.
Ciar is not one of those authors who dreamt of writing since childhood. She took up virtual pen on a dare in mid-life and forgot to stop. She loves reading just about anything, but especially nonfiction. Some of her favorite novelists are Mark Twain, E.L. Doctorow, Roger Zelazney, and yes, Nora Roberts. When she¹s not reading or writing, she loves to knit, to study all things Major League Baseball, and to jog.


7 thoughts on “Review: Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man by Ciar Cullen

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful review!!! I do love Lillian as well, and glad you did. And I love the feedback on the romance. Hmnn; will ponder seriously. Writing the sequel now.

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