Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Atlas Catesby #2
Publication Date: 2/13/18
Excellent! What a great read. Well written, well plotted, interesting and well developed main characters – and a very believable plot. Actually, the plot is based on a very real case that took place in Scotland in about the same time period. I’m loving this series and highly recommend that you read the first book in the series before this one. You don’t have to, you can begin with this one, but the first one is great and shows the development of the relationships between many of the main characters. I read this book from beginning to end – in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. I say that as I sit here bleary-eyed – with toothpicks holding my eyes open. One thing I do have to say though – for some reason, this book (and the first) often made me think of the Victorian era rather than the Regency.
Atlas Catesby is, by his own description and thinking, not quite a gentleman. That isn’t meant to describe his behavior – because, in that, he is every inch a gentleman – even a bit of a prig. No, it means that he is more on the edge of society – the fourth child of a baron – no title and only a modest fortune. Imagine his dismay when he found himself very much in love with the sister of a very powerful duke in the last book. He knew nothing could come of the relationship, so being the traveler and adventurer he is, he left on a voyage. This book begins nine months after the last book ended and Atlas has just returned from Jamaica.
Atlas is rudely awakened by his valet, Jamie, after a night where he’d gotten very, very drunk. That is something he just doesn’t do – but it was a night filled with things he just doesn’t do. The valet excitedly tells him that there is a liveried servant with an urgent message. Atlas groans, but when Jamie tells him that the livery is black and gold, he quickly goes on alert because he recognizes it as the Duke of Somerville’s livery – Lilliana’s brother. Panic – something must have happened to Lilliana.
Thus began an intriguing mystery. It turns out that Lilliana’s maid, Tracy, doesn’t believe her brother died naturally. She’s convinced that he was murdered and is very distraught. The authorities have ruled it an accident, but the maid is sure that isn’t the case. Atlas can’t pass up any puzzle – and he also can’t pass up the opportunity to spend more time with Lilliana, so he takes on the task of investigating.
As Atlas and Lilliana discover more and more about the deceased, they can definitely believe that he might have been murdered – and there are suspects aplenty. What a nasty, nasty man he was. He ruined so many young lives and tried to keep ruining them even after death. What an interesting case filled with twists and turns and some nasty people. The solution isn’t as simple as it appears to be and Atlas is puzzled almost to the very end.
While the investigation is continuing, Atlas is struggling with his feelings for Lilliana. He has long known that he loves her and was even going to offer for her until he found she was the sister of a Duke (book 1). He left after that because he knew he wasn’t good enough for her – she deserved better than him – someone of title and fortune. Now, she’s being courted by a Marquess. Can Atlas walk away a second time? Will Atlas turn away and find another love? You won’t know until the last page.
The returning characters are great and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to visit with them again – Jamie, of course, because it is great to see how he’s changed and grown. Then, the Earl of Charlton is always a delightful character. Watching his infatuation with Atlas’ sister, Thea, is endearing and funny – and her reactions to him are priceless. Then, there is a new character, Atlas’ nephew, who makes an appearance and it will be interesting to watch and see what happens with him. You just know there is going to be quite a story there!
Just one question her though — why do authors sometimes get hung up on characters with similar names? I hate to try to keep them straight. In this book, we have Lavinia and Lilliana. Why couldn’t Lavinia be Barbara (a perfectly acceptable Regency name) or Mary or . . . Well — just something else.
I highly recommend the book, the author, and the series! See my review for the first book in the series, Murder in Mayfair.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”