I have really enjoyed this series from the very beginning. It has great characters that while perhaps not unique in their description (wealthy titled man turned detective), when you get right down to their characters they distinguish themselves for readers. Charlotte is the character who has changed the most throughout the series. Wrexford has remained fairly constant in his persona, but Charlotte’s changes have been exciting to watch.
Naturally when this come came up for review, I couldn’t pass it up. I am fully invested in watching the series continue to grow and am excited to see that more books will be forthcoming! If you are a fan of historical fiction novels, no doubt this series is on your radar and you have seen this stunning cover around the blog-o-verse or social media. The cover is truly stunning and the story inside is pretty good too!
This is a great series for fans of Anna Lee Huber, Deanna Raybourn, and Tasha Alexander. Smart heroine, broody male love interest, and of course a solid cozy historical mystery. While there was lots to love about this one, I am going to be curious to see how some of the plot lines are going to be addressed going forward. This book adds in an unexpected character that I am wondering how he will figure into the larger narrative down the road.
For fans of Bridgerton looking for a mysterious twist on the glittering ballrooms of the Regency—a masterfully plotted story from a USA Today bestselling author that combines engaging protagonists with rich historical detail and international intrigue, plus a touch of romance that readers of Amanda Quick and Deanna Raybourn will savor.
Charlotte, now the Countess of Wrexford, would like nothing more than a summer of peace and quiet with her new husband and their unconventional family and friends. Still, some social obligations must be honored, especially with the grand Peace Celebrations unfolding throughout London to honor victory over Napoleon.
But when Wrexford and their two young wards, Raven and Hawk, discover a body floating in Hyde Park’s famous lake, that newfound peace looks to be at risk. The late Jeremiah Willis was the engineering genius behind a new design for a top-secret weapon, and the prototype is missing from the Royal Armory’s laboratory. Wrexford is tasked with retrieving it before it falls into the wrong hands. But there are unsettling complications to the case—including a family connection.
Soon, old secrets are tangling with new betrayals, and as Charlotte and Wrexford spin through a web of international intrigue and sumptuous parties, they must race against time to save their loved ones from harm—and keep the weapon from igniting a new war . . .(summary from Goodreads)
Without giving away too many spoilers, fans of the series will know that Raven and Hawk have been Charlotte’s wards for much of the series. Early on they are much younger and needed a mother figure but now that they are getting older they need her less and less. Now that Charlotte and Wrexford are married it’s only a matter of time before we readers Charlotte finds herself ‘in the family way’. I am wondering how that is going to impact Raven and Hawk and their relationship with Charlotte and Wrexford. Will it change? Does it need to? And now that the new character introduced in this series, Falcon, is growing closer to the unconventional family, I will be curious to see what that means for some of those plot lines and if it will impact anything for the main characters.
For me personally I could have done without the addition of Falcon. The Wrexford family dynamics are already complex enough and I don’t know what his character is going to add to the larger narrative. I think there is plenty to mine from Rave and Hawk’s characters without complicating things. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t like his character—-I did—-I just don’t know how or what purpose his addition served in the series but perhaps we will see in future books. As a secondary character in this book it worked but as it seems like he will play a larger role in the upcoming books, I did have to wonder what that’s going to look like.
Overall though, this was another fun installment. I liked the exploration and historical background on the use of weaponry within the story and I think history fans will find a lot of historical bits to enjoy. The mystery had some twists and turns and each clue left me wondering who the villain could be and what motives they might have. Penrose always crafts a well researched and thought out mystery with interesting characters! I have loved watching Charlotte and Wrexford evolve throughout the series and see how their relationship has changed. It’s been a slow burn but one I have enjoyed so much. I am certainly looking forward to future books!
Book Info and Rating
Format: 304 pages, hardcover
Publication: September 27 2022 by Kensington Books
Free review copy provided by publisher, Kensington Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, cozy mystery