Miraculously spared from death, Malcolm Sinclair erases the notorious man he once was. Reinventing himself as Thomas Glendower, he strives to make amends for his past, yet he never imagines penance might come via a secretive lady he discovers living in his secluded manor. Rose has a plausible explanation for why she and her children are residing in Thomas’s house, but she quickly realises he’s far too intelligent to fool.
After the disappointment of the previous book in this series, Ms. Laurens has returned to form with this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the confusion over Thomas Glendower/Malcolm Sinclair. I gathered he had appeared as a villain in a previous Cynster book (I later discovered it was the ‘Taste of Innocence’), but as it was not one I’d read I found it a bit confusing over what he had done that was so bad. I therefore started the book feeling like I was missing half the story. It would have been useful if the book blurb had stated where we first met him, so readers could go back to that book if they chose.
Once I put that aside though, it didn’t take me long to get into the story and I really enjoyed it. The first half of the book is very much about Thomas and Rose, their developing relationship and the secrets they both hold. Rose is guarded and unwilling to trust but finds it difficult to resist Thomas, particularly with how he is with the children. Thomas is also surprised at how quickly he feels protective towards them, and seeing his younger self in Homer, he seeks to guide him as he himself never was. Once Rose trusts Thomas with her problems they move to London, and that is when Barnaby Adair and his (growing) team get involved to solve the mystery. For me this book is a perfect blend of intrigue and romance, and focuses very clearly on the protagonists whereas the previous one didn’t.
Ms. Laurens does not disappoint with her bedroom scenes – steamy as always! But at least this time they focused on the characters that matter.
Overall a great book and having prepared myself for this one to be another thriller with little romance as in The Masterful Mr Montague, I was very pleased to find that was not the case.
- Author: Stephanie Laurens
- Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (3)
Montague has devoted his life to managing the wealth of London’s elite, but at a huge cost: a family of his own. Then the enticing Miss Violet Matcham seeks his help, and in the puzzle she presents him, he finds an intriguing new challenge professionally … and personally
Montague is a character who has appeared in most of Ms. Laurens books as a Man of Business for the wealthy, so it was nice to be able to delve a little more into his character and background. This book is part of the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series and was focused much more on the mystery aspect than the romance between Montague and Violet. As you know I’m a big lover of romance and am a bit disappointed there wasn’t more of it between those two throughout the book, however, their relationship followed what I would imagine to be the socially accepted strictures of the time. Fortunately, as far as romance and steamy scenes go, we did get to see more of Barnaby Adair and Penelope.
The mystery aspect of this book is very good, there are red herrings galore and I didn’t guess who the killer was or the reason for him becoming so, until it was all revealed! This is what saved the book for me, from a lower rating. I felt like this was the Adair and Stokes show with Montague and Violet being a side story rather than the main couple. This wouldn’t have been an issue at all if it hadn’t been billed as Montague’s book, because the story is good.
Anyway enough of that, Montague is a character who has always seemed a bit ‘nerdy’ and unassuming but, as with all the author’s heroes, he has hidden depths and his masterful side does come out towards the end. Violet is no mild miss and throws herself into helping with the investigation along with the wives of Stokes and Adair, much to the consternation of Montague. As characters I liked them, neither of them are in the first flush of youth (Violet is 34, a veritable old maid!) and therefore both of them know their own minds and who they are.
Overall a good story, if you like Ms. Laurens writing and go into this accepting that it’s primarily a mystery with a side order of romance, rather than romance with a side order of mystery (as with most of the Cynster novels), you will enjoy it. I look forward to the next Casebook of Barnaby Adair story with that in mind.
- Author: Stephanie Laurens
- Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (2)