This is the third installment in a genuinely delightful series by Kate Moore; you don’t need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one, however, as previous characters appear very little and there aren’t really any ongoing plot threads you can’t easily pick up.
‘On the shelf’ at twenty-eight, Emily is being pressured to marry by her mother, and jokingly threatens to her sister that she’ll marry the first imbecile she meets. Unknown to Emily, there’s a man asleep on her sister’s sofa, and spy Ajax Lynley is far from an imbecile - but he is in need of a good excuse to move in London society, and what better reason than his engagement to a lady as popular as Emily?
Emily’s far too astute to miss Lynley’s sneaking about whenever they’re in the company of certain people, and the two of them are soon working together to recover stolen papers and thwart a dangerous plot.
The romance between these two is so believable, growing as it does from a position of wariness at a complete unknown, through acceptance they can be useful to each other, to mutual respect and finally love. And although Emily was uncertain of Lynley’s affections, she never let other people influence her opinion of him, but made up her own mind and took the initiative when it was time to do so, leading to their eventual triumph in their mission and Lynley realizing he’s much stronger with her by his side.
I love the little ‘book extracts’ that begin each chapter in this series, as they feel so true to the time period, and I also love that Moore doesn’t insert gratuitous sex scenes; there’s one brief one in the book in a place where it makes perfect sense - after the wedding!
Five stars for a great read, and I look forward to more in this series!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.