Review: Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens (Wrexford & Sloane #5) by Andrea Penrose

When I randomly picked up the first book in this series a few years ago, I knew I was reading something special. While not necessarily and earth shattering read or even something ‘new and different’ in the saturated genre of historical mysteries, there is something about Lord Wrexford that just makes me swoon and I just love him!

Charlotte and Wrex have been solving murders and falling in love for the last five books and finally here we are just as they are planning their nuptials and Charlotte’s reentrance into society when another body pops up! This time Charlotte and Wrex don’t really have a reason to investigate this murder but some how they end up getting pulled into the investigation and as expected, readers are treated to another fun filled mystery!

This book is the fifth in the series and while not 100% necessary with some of the books in the series, for this one I recommend reading at least the book before this one as there is some carry over from the previous book. And to be honest, these books are so fun and it would be silly to miss out on all the wonderful sleuthing in this series by starting here so do yourself a favor and go back and read the other books because it will help you to fully appreciate all these characters.


The upcoming marriage of the Earl of Wrexford and Lady Charlotte Sloane promises to be a highlight of the season, if they can first untangle–and survive–a web of intrigue and murder involving the most brilliant scientific minds in Regency London… 

One advantage of being caught up in a whirl of dress fittings and decisions about flower arrangements and breakfast menus is that Charlotte Sloane has little time for any pre-wedding qualms. Her love for Wrexford isn’t in question. But will being a wife–and a Countess–make it difficult for her to maintain her independence–not to mention, her secret identity as famed satirical artist A.J. Quill?

Despite those concerns, there are soon even more urgent matters to attend to during Charlotte and Wrexford’s first public outing as an engaged couple. At a symposium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, a visiting botanist suffers a fatal collapse. The traces of white powder near his mouth reveal the dark truth–he was murdered. Drawn into the investigation, Charlotte and the Earl learn of the victim’s involvement in a momentous medical discovery. With fame and immense fortune at stake, there’s no shortage of suspects, including some whose ruthlessness is already known. But neither Charlotte nor her husband-to-be can realize how close the danger is about to get–or to what lengths this villain is prepared to go…(summary from Goodreads)


While I love the series overall, this book was just ok for me. I think readers were primed for more to happen between Wrex and Charlotte. This reentrance into society is a big step in their relationship and the books but in this one, it felt like it lost some of its significance. Wrex and Charlotte didn’t really grow much in this one—as a couple or independently. Charlotte spent a lot of time perseverating on her future but she never really included Wrex in her confidence which I found surprising. One of the biggest things I love about their characters was how well they communicate and their time discussing and listening to one another but in this book it felt like Charlotte was alone in her fears.

The murder mystery was well done, but nothing special. I had hoped that the carry over plot from the previous book (no spoilers!) would be more impactful. I was hoping that the character making a reappearance would take on a bigger role in this book and frankly the overall series. He was a great menacing villain and to not have him play a larger role in this book and the larger series felt a little disappointing to me. But the murder mystery itself was interesting and thought out and as always fun to read I just had hoped for the potential for something more sinister to come in later books.

This book was good, not great but good. I wouldn’t call it my fav in the series but it was a good read and I enjoyed the familiar characters and getting a little more of the larger story but frankly I hoped for more. I wanted more character growth and a little more chemistry between Wrex and Charlotte. In many ways they felt like strangers to one another and up until this point, they were anything but! I don’t really know what happened with this one. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great either. I love this series and am happy to continue reading the series but I am hoping that the next book has more of the old Wrex and Charlotte and less worrying about things that haven’t happened. Also I need more McClellan and Tyler—especially more Tyler! I really like his character and I need to know more!

Book Info and Rating

Format304 pages, Hardcover

Expected publicationSeptember 28, 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

ISBN9781496732507 (ISBN10: 1496732502)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Kensington, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery


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