This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Diversion Books
Released on February 11, 2014
Queen Victoria’s oldest daughter helping to solve the case of Jack the Ripper and romancing with the detective inspector leading the investigation? Most definitely! It’s like a fairytale romance for the murder mystery lover. I had such a good time reading this one.
Vicky has been merely existing since her husband, Emperor Frederick III of Germany passed and her volatile son, Willy succeeded him. She notices little going on around her until her brother Bertie the Prince of Wale’s daughter, Maud, bursts in and insists that her brother is in trouble. A vicious murderer is loose in Whitechapel and Eddy has been questioned as one of the suspects.
Vicky returns to her home country accompanied by Maud and daughter Sophie prepared to do what she can to assist her family. The Queen is concerned about Eddy’s possible part in things, but more so about her inability to aid her distressed people who are in danger from a fiend. She leaves for Balmoral while charging Vicky to do what she can for their people.
Thomas Edmondson feels the increasing pressure to do what he can to end the violence against the prostitutes. He and his men have followed every lead and patrol the streets to keep people safe. The press prints all sorts of speculative news including letters from the person stylizing themselves as ‘Jack the Ripper’. Now he has a royal insisting on being involved in the investigation because a member of her family is under investigation. At first, he is resentful because he thinks the Empress seeks to bribe him or to suppress anything incriminating about Prince Eddy, but then he realizes that she really wants to help in her own way. Meanwhile, he starts having thoughts about the beautiful woman that he shouldn’t knowing she is way out of his class.
Vicky hasn’t felt so alive in ages. Working with Thomas Edmondson has woken up all her senses including that of desire. Keeping her adventuresome daughter and niece reined in, pursuing a killer through the dark streets of London and engaging in passion-filled trysts with Thomas make her feel young and useful again. The time with Thomas is bittersweet knowing they have no future together, but if they don’t stop the killer it might be that her future may be cut short.
The author did a fine job making me believe I was really reading from the Empress Vicky’s perspective and that of the commoner policeman, Thomas Edmondson. She blended the known facts of the Ripper case and situation in the royal family at the time into a plausible and exciting plot. And the romance? That too had that ‘could have happened’ feel to it.
The story swaps back and forth mostly between Vicky and Thomas’ perspectives, but also Sophie and the killer’s points of view too. Vicky starts out very autocratic with Thomas and slowly warms to him just as he starts out suspicious and then opens up to trust her. As the murder case progresses, the desperation starts to come through and the tension tightens for all the players.
The attraction between Vicky and Thomas was instantaneous, but it developed along a nice pace. These two were at mature ages and once they got around the class difference that worried Thomas and the natural temerity on the sheltered Vicky’s part, they weren’t afraid of some passion heating up between them. I felt sorrow with them when they pulled back knowing there was an expiration date on their time together and a worry for their different reputations and responsibilities.
I have to mention the attention to description and accuracy for the times. Without letting it overpower the story, the author still made me see in my imagination the people, activities and places like dark destitute East End of London and the luxury of Kensington Palace of the Victorian era.
So all in all, I found this one engaging on so many levels and I want to read more by the author. Those who enjoy historical romantic suspense with a touch of spice should give this one a try. This one is written as a standalone, but I noticed that the author has tackled the stories of two other daughters of Queen Victoria.
My thanks to Diversion Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.