As many of you know, I binge read almost all of Anna Lee Huber’s books this year. I love the Lady Darby books and I also loved her Gothic Myths book as well!
Huber rapidly became a favorite author of mine and I was eager to read her latest book series about Verity Kent. I saw a lot of this book on Twitter so I tried to procure a copy before it’s release but sadly I waited too long! So I had to resort to my local library….which I waited like 3 weeks for it to come in.
By then I had almost lost interest in reading it but when I found that I couldn’t renew it because there were other holds, I figured I better get to reading!
England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death.
Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.
Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them.
Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was.
It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception (summary from Goodreads).
This book had all the makings of a great series….I loved Verity. She was vulnerable and real and I loved that about her. She wasn’t afraid to show pain and sadness about her husband’s death and I felt that she genuinely loved her husband, at least for the initial period. I had a hard time though buying that she loved him so unconditionally by the end of the novel though.
I don’t want to give a ton away for those who haven’t read it but let’s just say that I did NOT trust a certain character who happens to come into the narrative a little too conveniently and I felt like that was a frustrating tactic by the author. I couldn’t even warm up to said character because I felt wrong and betrayed. That’s all I am going to say on that so the rest of the book was uncomfortable for me on this account.
In the beginning I thought there were too many characters for my taste and I didn’t like the use of the first names and last names interchangeably. I kept forgetting who was who. I also felt like I had either read or seen something similar in the past…..a host of strange characters all linked by a common secret come together under extraordinary circumstances and people start coming up murdered.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the mystery and the complex secret I especially loved the whole WWI war crimes elements….that alone drove the narrative for me. I love war history and crime and this was the perfect mixture.
At times I felt like the author kept reminding the reader how much the soldiers had suffered and how ‘broken’ many of them were or how many memories they had….it bordered on excessive and by the end I felt myself saying ‘ok we got it’ more times in my head…..but ironically that didn’t hinder the progress of the story for me. In fact, even though it was a lot sometimes I found it comforting if that makes sense.
I am interested to see what direction Verity goes in the future, the author pretty much left it wide open. I don’t know if she will go on to be a ‘detective’ or go work for the war department or secret service but whatever she does I am looking forward to her future and seeing how she develops. Personally I like Lady Darby better, maybe because there is more romance, but this wasn’t a bad book by any means!
This was a great start to an interesting heroine and I look forward to seeing where Huber takes her in future books!
Book: This Side of Murder (Verity Kent #1) by Anna Lee Huber
- Review copy provided by: Personal collection
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, detective novel, WWI, Downton Abbey
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