When I first read this book, it was only the third book I had read in this series. I read book 1 and then book 12 before reading this one and that was it. I went into this one feeling a little lost in the series in regards to the principle characters, but tried to keep my focus on the mystery itself.
Then back in Dec, I decided to bit the bullet as it were and read the entire series again from beginning to end as it was intended and what I have discovered is this series is positively unputdownable!
While I might not love every book in the series, I have found that I now can fully appreciate the detailed nuances of the character connections, changes, and relationships much better than when I picked this one up originally!
As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose’s ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane’s murderer to escape justice.
Untangling the secrets of Jane’s world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery where each player has his or her own unsavory agenda and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death. (summary from Goodreads).
As I said, I wasn’t fully aware of the relationships when I first read this one, but I thought the mystery was ok and enjoyable, but now that I have read the series beginning to end, I find that this wasn’t my most favorite in the series. I mean it was ok, but there were a lot of different characters and red herrings that didn’t really seem plausible but worked ok from a speculative standpoint, but for me it read a little more jumbled.
I also felt disconnected from the murder victim, in the other books theres a degree of investment in the murder victims because we are piecing together their lives and movements leading up to the murder, and we do that with this victim, but for some reason I just didn’t connect with her in the way that I had hoped.
Understanding the backstory of the characters throughout the series really helped me appreciate this one so much more though. While I didn’t love it as much as the others in the series, I enjoyed the progress in the overall narrative and there were a few little threads that will make appearances in future books that I picked up more this time around that I didn’t catch the first time.
As always I really enjoyed the historical pieces in this one, especially the Frost Fair. It was vivid and detailed as I have come to expect from Harris. While I don’t love the cover of the book, it is meant to include the atmosphere and the snow and frost that was such a part of this story. I am so excited to read the next book because it was one of my favorites in the series and I am eager to read the new one that will be out in April!
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