Review: A Certain Darkness (Verity Kent #6) by Anna Lee Huber

Anna Lee Huber is one of my most favorite historical mystery writers! I have read all of her books and called in love with her different characters and series. I cannot tell you how comforting it is to pick up a book and know that you are going to enjoy it. Perhaps some books more than others but overall, each of the books she has written have been entertaining, engaging and I have no problem escaping into them each time a new Huber book is released.

The Verity Kent series has been an interesting series for me. It’s a bit of a break in her usual style of heroine and historical setting. Her Lady Darby books are set in a different time period with the heroine being strong and independent but she still fits the traditional gender norms of the period that the book is set in. Her other series is a Gothic mystery series, also set in a similar period as the Lady Darby books. So reading the Verity Kent books takes us to a new time period, again with a heroine who fits the gender norms of the period but also stands out as brave and complex.

When series’ are in their early stages, it’s easier for readers to jump in without having to read the other books. But eventually, you reach a certain point where new readers miss larger parts of the story. For me, this is the book where this happened. This book opens with a back story already established from an earlier book and I would say if you are a new to the series, I would pause and go back to read the others first and then enjoy this one! If you are interested in the series, be sure to check my Instagram later today for a chance to win the entire set of this series!

Summary

Set in Downton Abbey-era post-World War I England, this action-packed series from the USA Todaybestselling author of the Lady Darby Mysteries is a treat for fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Susan Ella MacNeal.

March 1920: Life has turned unsettlingly quiet for former British Intelligence agent Verity Kent and her husband, Sidney. But even that false calm is about to end. As threats remain, the French authorities soon request Sidney’s help with a suspect who claims to have proof of treason—shortly before she is assassinated. And Verity, too, is called to investigate a mystery.

The murder of a Belgian lawyer aboard a train seems at first to be a simple case of revenge. But the victim was connected to British Intelligence, and possessed papers detailing the sinking of a gold-laden German ship during the war.

As Verity and Sidney dig deeper, they discover their cases are intertwined—and a lethal adversary persists. Officially, the Great War may be over, but this is a battle of nerves and wits they cannot afford to lose… (summary from Goodreads)

Review

Throughout the series, I personally have not warmed up to Sidney. Ever since the first book and his disappearance, I just can’t get past it and I kept hoping that throughout the series I would warm up to him but I just can’t. Even still with this book, where the author does a great job giving us more to think about and unpack when it comes to his character, I just can’t get past Sidney’s deception from book one. But at least with this book, I feel like I have more insight into his character and even if I cannot get past his backstory, I feel like I understand him a bit better as a character and I love how the author gives the characters space to explore their feelings, hurt, and pasts without crowding them or forcing it.

I really appreciated the history in this book. There was a lot of history about various countries coming out of Post WWI and how that massive event shaped the countries in many ways. This book focuses a lot on the Dutch and Belgian experience and I thought that was an interesting angle to take as it wasn’t an experience that I knew much about. While the historian in me loved reading about the historical impact and significance of the Dutch and Belgian people, other readers who might not be as interested in the history parts might find it a little heavy handed. Generally, I think historical fiction readers don’t mind the history parts—-I mean you have to know you are going to get history when you read a history book!

This book really pulled in some of the other characters from previous books which I found fun and exciting. I loved the mystery in this one and that Verity and Sidney’s arch-nemesis, Lord Ardmore, continues to be an ominous presence. I just love murder mysteries that also have a spy element to it and I did get my fix with this book. I love this series and it just continues to keep me entertained and engaged. I have loved watching the characters grow in this one and I am eager too see where Verity and Sidney end up next. Even if I don’t care for Sidney, I am invested enough in the series and them as a couple that I continue to keep reading and hope that eventually someday I will warm up to him. I know that for many readers of this series, you are either Team Sidney or Team Max—-I am fully Team Max!

Book Info and Rating

Format: 346 pages, paperback

Publication: August 30th 2022 by Kensington

ISBN: 9781496728517

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

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: historical fiction, cozy mystery

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