AN HEIRESS’S GUIDE TO DECEPTION AND DESIRE by Manda Collins
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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.
After the disastrous end of their betrothal, Caroline was very much looking forward to never seeing Lord Valentine again–and once he stopped working at the newspaper where she wrote her weekly crime column, she thought she might actually manage to avoid him. But when her dear friend Effie is kidnapped, Caro rushes to launch an investigation, only to learn that Effie’s betrothed is actually Val’s cousin. Val isn’t about to sit back while Caro does all the investigating–especially since he fears she might suspect his cousin of being involved in the abduction. Unfortunately, a bit of joint detective work throws them into a compromising position, and with danger mounting and a marriage of convenience on the horizon, Caro and Val may have to finally face their feelings for one another if they are going to survive.
This Victorian romance hits all the necessary notes for the historical romance genre while having a strong thread of mystery and suspense–plus a welcome does of feminism. Characters and events from the previous book feature more prominently in this book than is often the case in historical romance series, therefore I highly recommend reading A LADY’S GUIDE TO MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM first, in order to avoid becoming bogged down in (and confused by) the explication at the start. Although the romance elements are occasionally overpowered by the mystery plot, overall, I believe this book will satisfy most historical mystery readers, especially fans of Amanda Quick.