Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Secrets, Scandals, and Spies #2
Publication Date: 2/14/22
Period: Victorian London
Number of Pages: 397
Goodness! We have a story filled with spies, murderers, assassins, traitors, Ninjas, and so many twists and turns your head will be spinning. There are definitely no dull or draggy spots in this book – especially with all of the plots within plots. I loved Marcus Black; I liked (but didn’t love) Lady Kaitlyn Montrose; and I enjoyed the feuding between Lucas Devereux, the Marquis of Cantfield, and Henrietta (Etta) Merriweather who I assume will be the leads in the next book.
Lady Kaitlin Montrose certainly had an unusual upbringing and family history. She lost both parents at the age of three, but we never really learn what caused the deaths. I ASSUME they were somehow killed as part of working for the Crown, but it was not spelled out – they could have died from the flu for all I could tell. At any rate, upon their deaths, her uncle Victor became the new earl and her guardian. Victor was determined that Kat would be able to defend herself as her parents could not and instituted a rigorous daily training schedule that left little time for anything else in her life. She became skilled at knife fighting, knife throwing, shooting, and eastern martial arts – she IS a weapon. When Victor was murdered, she also became a woman on a mission of revenge. Victor had been tracking down the Chameleon, an assassin who has taken countless lives over the years. Kat is sure the Chameleon is the one who murdered Victor and she will do anything to bring them to justice. Kat’s version of justice is her putting a bullet squarely through the center of the Chameleon’s forehead.
Marcus Black, the Earl of Westwood is a much-respected earl – and agent for the Crown. He is deadly and fully determined to avenge his brother’s death. Marcus knows the Chameleon planted evidence to brand Nathaniel as a traitor and then cause his death. The Chameleon has hit too close to home too many times – first, with Marcus’s wife, then his brother, and then his mentor Victor. No, Marcus will deliver justice to the Chameleon. Marcus’s version of justice is to catch the Chameleon and then let the justice system take care of the punishment. Mmmmmm – I think I see a major conflict there. 😊
Both Marcus and Kat choose the same night (and time) to break into the Viscount of Somerville’s residence to retrieve a diary that belonged to Marcus’s dead wife, Elizabeth. That, of course, leads to an altercation between the two of them and Kat wins when she knees Marcus in the nether regions. Later, Kat realizes that they should work together since they are after the same thing. Can Marcus agree to that?
Marcus comes to learn many surprising things about Kat, yet he still feels protective of her. She hates that protectiveness and goes way, way, way out of her way to show him that she is better than he is, that she is smarter than he is, that she is more determined than he is, etc. That is the reason this is a 4-star review rather than a 5-star review. Kat is much better than most I’ve read lately, but it seems that in order for a female to be strong, intelligent, shrewd, bold, fearless, etc. she must also be a shrew and show men up at every opportunity. Why is that the perception and the way they are written? What happened to a true partnership? Why can’t Markus be protective of Kat – AND – Kat be equally protective of Marcus? Don’t get me wrong – I am fully for a strong, intelligent female – I am one – but I don’t think my strength should be at the expense of my male counterpart. I’m sure most of you won’t agree with my perception of Kat, but still, it is my opinion.
I can definitely recommend this book as an excellent read with a wonderful mystery within a mystery. It is non-stop excitement and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.