Barbara’s rating: 3.7 of 5 Stars
Series: The Phoenix Club #6
Publication Date: 7/26/22
Number of Pages: 344
Lord Dougal MacNair has spent his adulthood in service to his country. First, as a member of the Black Watch during the wars with Napoleon, then as an agent of the Home Office. Now, his life has been turned upside down with the death of his older brother Alistair. Dougal had played so many roles that he didn’t know who he was any longer. He didn’t deal with emotions, he just pushed them down deep and assumed whatever role he was playing at the moment. With Alistair’s passing, Dougal has to assume yet another role – that of Viscount Fallin, heir to the Earl of Stirling.
Jessamine Goodfellow has spent the last six seasons avoiding marriage. She’s happily looking forward to becoming an independent spinster. Not only is Jessamine lovely, but she is also an amazing cryptographer and the Home Office wants to use her skills. However, as a young, genteel, lady, she can’t just flit around the country to decrypt messages. Working from home works well – until they need her to go on a very important mission. As an inexperienced agent, she needed a partner – and not only that – the partner agent was a male whom she also had to investigate. Oh! What tangled webs we weave.
Dougal has never worked with a partner before and he doesn’t want one now – not for what will most likely be his last mission. He also doesn’t want to leave London at the moment because he wants to finish his investigation into what went wrong with his last two missions.
I liked Dougal and Jessamine, but the supporting characters were my favorites – especially Gil and Mary who are definitely originals. I thought the author did a nice job of presenting a story where a mixed-race (black/white) man would become an Earl during the Regency period.
This story was slower-paced than some in the series – definitely no exciting chases across the countryside. However, while it drags a bit in spots, it was a nice steamy read.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.