Barbara’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: Agents of the Home Office #2
Publication Date: 11/5/19
Number of Pages: 271
** 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4
We finally meet the mysterious head of the Home Office. We also learn of his secret duties that are even more important. He’s a PORF – and I’ll leave it at that – you can read the book to learn what it is – but it is a very important task.
Graham Drummond, Earl of Archbroke, has been head of the Home Office since he was six and twenty. He’s the youngest ever to hold the position and he’s also the best to ever hold it. He’s a brilliant tactician and a natural leader – everyone respects him. He’s now nine and twenty and the long hours and stress of his job have taken their toll on his body, but he’s shocked when the young lady with whom he is dancing guesses his age to be forty. He realizes it is definitely time to make some life changes. (Actually, I loved this part – where he wasn’t a perfect physical specimen.)
Lady Theodora (Theo) Neale, daughter to the Earl of Hadfield, has had too much recent loss in her life. First, she lost her much-loved brother, Baldwin, then, her beloved papa. On his death-bed, her papa told her about the meaning of the mark on her foot and he told her she was to take over the family’s duty to the crown. He wasn’t turning that task over to her cousin who would inherit the Earldom – he wanted Theo in that role and he made her promise to fulfill it. (Note that we never really learned why her father made that decision since he liked his heir, trusted him and respected him.) Her papa made her understand that she could never, ever, let anyone see her mark or discuss anything with anyone else – unless they also had the mark.
Theo’s cousin, Landon, the new earl of Hadfield wants only the best for Theo. He gives her time to mourn and then insists that they spend the season in London. He doesn’t expect her to marry – or even to court – unless she wants to do so. He just wants her to enjoy her time. Theo doesn’t want to go, but she does need to find the man her papa told her to see. She’ll also get to see her good friend Lucy (from Secrets of Lady Lucy) and that worries her because she’ll have to keep her new role a secret from Lucy.
The mystery surrounds the book that Theo and some maps. Theo and Graham begin to work together to sort out the clues and identify a suspect. In order to work together and help Theo with her training, they begin a pseudo-courtship. Of course – that courtship easily becomes real.
I have to say that I finished this book with many more questions than when I started. It almost felt like a ‘filler’ book to introduce Landon (and a couple of others) into the series. I think that is a shame because both Theo and Graham are exceptional characters and this could have been a really exciting read. The mystery was pretty lackluster and it seemed Lucy – from the last book – was more involved than Theo.
At the moment, this new author seems to be trying to find her sea legs. The first book – a novella – Desires Of Lady Elise – was a bit on the lackluster side, then Secrets of Lady Lucy came along and it was really interesting and fast-paced, now, we are back to slower-paced and more lackluster. Hopefully, the next book will be back to being exciting and fast-paced. They should hurry and solve the overarching mystery or they’ll run out of agents – Matthew left for the continent in the last book and Landon left in this one. Both taking off on their own.
Anyway, it is a nice read and I really liked both Theo and Graham. Maybe we’ll see them again in the next books and we’ll get to know them better then.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.