Series: Cynster Next Generation #8
Publication Date: 3/19/20
Number of Pages: 460
Vane and Patience Cynster (A Rake’s Vow) are traveling in the America’s and have left their oldest son, Christopher, in charge of their estate, Walkhurst Manor in Kent. Christopher knows that his plotting parents have their own motives for that – his father wants to assure that Christopher is ready to take over and his mother wants to prove to him that he needs a helpmate – namely a wife. Once that happens, Christopher is sure that his parents will move to London and live with their best friends, Sylvester (Devil’s Bride) and Honoria, who are the Duke and Duchess of St. Ives and head of the Cynster family. Believe it or not, Christopher has come to that same realization about a wife, he just doesn’t know when/where/how he’ll find that wife. Well, batten down the hatches Christopher – here she comes!
Ellen Martingale is London born and bred and had no idea she’d love living in the country until she, her brother, Robert, and her aunt Emma sell their townhouse in London and move to her beloved uncle’s country home, Bigfield House. Her uncle, Sir Humphrey, is in declining mental health and as the heir, her brother needs to take over the estate – but since he is underage, they have to try to keep their uncle’s decline a secret. To say that Ellen and Robert are ill-prepared to manage a country estate is putting it lightly, but both are trying very hard to learn. Ellen’s first encounter with her neighbor is an eventful one – Ellen’s uncle’s herd of pet goats got out of their pen and got into the Cynster’s crop. So, imagine hungry goats munching happily away on a robust cash crop.
Ellen quickly learns that Christopher isn’t the enemy and can help – but – then they learn that some strange things are happening at Goffard Hall. Christopher has been enlisted by his cousin Louisa’s husband, spymaster Drake Varisey (The Greatest Challenge of Them All), to investigate.
There is smuggling, counterfeiting, murder and lots of mayhem involved in the investigation and resolution. Not to mention all the visits by various Cynster cousins – and, of course, a lovely, lovely epilogue. I loved that Christopher quickly learned that appearances could be deceiving and that behind all of those fripperies was a lovely, intelligent, confident person.
I thoroughly enjoyed both the romance and the mystery portion of this book. It is written in typical Stephanie Laurens style – which I enjoy. There is a nice set-up for the next book, and the pairing might surprise you. I loved Sir Humphrey, Robbie and aunt Emma – they were nice additions to the story without being featured characters.
I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.