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Monday, March 27, 2023

Review: A Most Intriguing Lady

Title: A Most Intriguing Lady
Author: Sarah Ferguson - Duchess of York

Publisher: 30th March 2023 by HarperCollins Australia & Mills and Boon

Pages: 350 pages

Genre: historical fiction, romance, mystery

Rating: 4 cups


From Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, a sweeping, romantic compulsively readable historical saga about a Duke's daughter--the perfect Victorian lady--who secretly moonlights as an amateur sleuth for high society's inner circle. 

Victorian London was notorious for its pickpockets. But in the country houses of the elite, gentleman burglars, art thieves and con men preyed on the rich and titled. Wealthy victims--with their pride and reputation at stake--would never go to the police. What they needed was a society insider, one of their own, a person of discretion and finely tuned powers of observation.

That person was Lady Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, the youngest child of Queen Victoria's close friends the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Bookish, fiercely intelligent, and a keen observer, Mary has deliberately cultivated a mousey persona that allows her to remain overlooked and significantly underestimated by all. It's the perfect cover for a sleuth, a role she stumbles into when trying to assist a close friend during a house party hosted by her parents at their stately Scottish home, Drumlanrig Castle.

It is at this party where Lady Mary also meets Colonel Walter Trefusis, a distinguished and extremely handsome war veteran. Tortured by memories of combat, Walter, like Mary, lives a double life, with a desk job in Whitehall providing a front for his role in the British Intelligence Service. The two form an unlikely alliance to solve a series of audacious crimes--and indulge in a highly charged on-off romance.

Pacy, romantic, and fun, A Most Intriguing Lady documents one remarkable woman's ability to be both the perfect lady, and a perfectly talented detective...and, of course, to find love too.

My Thoughts

Having previously read and enjoyed Sarah Ferguson’s first book, Her Heart for a Compass, I was eager to see how she would follow up from that success. In the first book we read the story of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, daughter of the Duke Of Buccleuch, who lived during the Victorian era. She is an ancestor of the current Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. This new book tells the story of her sister Lady Mary who, in contrast to her sister, is a quiet yet a keen observer - someone who would make an excellent sleuth and uses her detective skills to uncover some cases.

‘Her life hadn't changed, but she had. Louisa had taught her the value of cherishing her own time, and of spending it wisely. Such a cliche, that little phrase, though it was surprisingly difficult not to allow other people to drain her of every spare moment, to take arbitrary possession of her days.’

Lady Mary, like her sister, searches for her place in the world, coming up against the customs and conventions of the day. Sarah Ferguson - in liaison with Marguerite Kaye, a Mills & Boon historical author - have once again come together to produce an engaging fictional account of events based on real people from the period. Mary makes for a wonderful heroine with drive and determination, demonstrating a resilience to pursue her purpose in the face of resistance. 

‘She had wasted another year of her life, and if she didn't do something, take some sort of action, then she would waste another, and another. Inertia didn't suit her. There was far too much time, living this sedentary life, to reflect. It was bad for her…’

This is another worthy entry into historical romance and drama with both atmosphere and plot providing the reader with compassion and empathy for Mary’s plight. I recommend reading the tale of Lady Mary as it follows a solid and satisfying journey for women of the day. An all up excellent second book in the series, by Sarah Ferguson and Marguerite Kaye and can definitely be read as a standalone.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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