Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a fun historical fiction mystery/romance set during the Victorian era. Lady Mary Montagu Douglas Scott has spent years creating a mousy persona that allows her to go overlooked and underestimated. This allows her to use her keen intellect and power of observation to discreetly assist her peers with matters they want to keep secret. During a dinner party in her family’s Scottish home she quietly works to help a friend, but runs into trouble when the handsome war veteran Colonel Walter Trefusis (Tre) sees her partaking in a dangerous adventure during dinner. Mary tries to do damage control and finds herself drawn to the Colonel. As the duo get to know each other they find their purposes intertwined and help each other out.

I loved Mary and Tre and despite miscommunication issues that keep them apart, they compliment each other so well. Mary is smart, determined and knows what she wants out of life. She doesn’t want to settle or be tied down with no independence. She equates marriage with forgoing all of those things, so fights her feelings for Tre and tries to convince herself that she’s just fine without him, thank you very much. For his part, Tre is mortified by his bouts of PTSD and considers himself unworthy of having a wife and family. This causes him to push Mary away, despite his growing feelings.

The settings in the book are gorgeous and I loved learning more about the Victorian time period, landmarks and society life. The attention to even the smallest details made me feel like I was right there with Mary. Her strained relationship with her mother was so relatable and it was lovely to see it evolve during the story. Tre’s aunt was a hoot and added much levity to the book. The character growth of each person during the story felt natural and believable.

I would never have survived living then. I just would not have been able to sit demurely, holding my tongue, while silly men pontificated about stuff they didn’t know anything about. We don’t give women of that that time period enough credit for that. Even thinking about it now makes me disgusted on their behalf.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick and easy read that I read in less than two days. It’s utterly entertaining and I look forward to reading more of the author’s books. I was provided a complimentary copy of the book by Bibliolifestyle and Avon Book. All opinions are my own.