After that throwaway line in the last book about Emily’s best friend, Jeremy, the Duke of Bainbridge, confirmed bachelor, getting engaged, I was chomping at the bit to find out how that came about. The author didn’t keep me in suspense and even provided the lovely French Riviera as the backdrop. Because it’s an engagement party, what could possibly go wrong?
This is the tenth book in the Lady Emily series and I loved how the author brought things around to something that has been brewing since book two. Emily chose Colin Hargreaves and they have been happily married for some time, but there was always definitely something with her childhood friend, Jeremy. The reader could jump into the story and do alright if they are perceptive, but there will be a feeling that this story is attached to those before it. I advise getting them in order so some of the undercurrents, backgrounds, and personalities make sense.
Emily and Colin travel to Cannes for the engagement party of Em’s longtime friend, Jeremy, and the American heiress, Amity Wells. They are no sooner settled then one of Jeremy’s school chums, Neville Chambers, commits suicide and does it in Jeremy’s room in the wee hours with Jeremy’s whiskey with Jeremy nowhere in sight. Emily finds that she is the only one suspicious about things that don’t add up, but doesn’t want to further ruin the engagement party.
She already feels unsettled about Amity and something not quite being right about her as she tries so hard to be all things to all people even while showing a willful side of abandonment to society’s rules. Emily falls under the groups’ scrutiny as odd mishaps make her look like she is inflicting petty tortures on Amity. Emily searches her own motives not because she has done these things, but to know if her suspicions and uneasiness are from an interest in finding the truth for the right reasons. Things escalate and danger lurks.
I enjoyed this one that brought things back to the tone of some of the early books. The author creates a certain atmosphere of doubt and suspicion early on, but doesn’t give it substance for some time. Emily is uneasy and off balance and she is meant to be. Someone is pulling strings and contriving situations, but to what end? It was perfect.
And like the last few books in the series, the author adds a secondary storyline that tucks into the first one that dips into the past from other perspectives. The woman set up to be Emily’s rival, Amity Wells is the main narrator of this second story line. It was interesting and definitely gave a deeper layer and background to what is going on in the present.
Now, I have to admit that I figured out the ‘who’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ quite early. I’m pretty sure it was because it’s not that difficult, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment or interest. I wanted to follow along and see Emily and her friends figure it out and I felt emotionally connected because this explored Em’s connection to Jeremy as she worked to come to terms with his marriage. Never fear, there is no love triangle here or cheating, but there is the need for the adjustment to something new with the addition of Amity in the mix. There is also the fact that someone wants to turn Em’s husband and friends against her. It was all so evil and calculated, if bloodless. I really wanted Em to hunt this one down and end the problem.
On a side note, I enjoyed the strong nod to Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series another favorite historical romantic suspense series, when a secondary character with her own love interest meet up in Egypt and there is mention to her catching up with her relations excavating there in Egypt.
In summary, I found this riveting and I hesitated to put it down each time I was forced to and that hasn’t been the case for the last few in the series. I would recommend these for those who like the blend of Victorian Era history with suspense and a little romance.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #348 RS
Cliché Klatch #210 ‘Raise Hell’
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Historical Romance #108
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