Type: Historical Romantic Suspense
My Copy: Sent
Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.
Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve. But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…
I have always enjoyed Ms. Quick’s writing and was very excited to read this historical romance that has aspects of suspense and mystery. She creates intriguing characters and a well-defined plot that had me guessing until the end.
Calista Langley owns her own business, an introductory agency in Victorian London where she matches proper ladies and gentlemen for friendship or more. Lately there have been some disturbing incidences, not only has she received several morbid gifts left in very strange places; one was left on her pillow, but an unwanted suitor is interested in her again, a man who rejected her when he found she had no money and she had been counting her blessings ever since. When other strange things happen she looks to the perfect person to help her with her investigations, the brother of a client who is not so certain about her.
Trent Hastings is very protective of his sister Eudora, she is a client of Calista’s agency and he wants to know more about this introductory business. He is a famous writer of crime novels but is a bit reclusive because he was scarred by an incident several years ago. He finds he is immediately attracted to Calista but is cautious because of his looks and the rejection he experienced from an old love. But when he finds out what Calista has been dealing with, he is more than willing to help.
As they investigate the gift giver and her unwanted suitor, they uncover several suspicious deaths that are coincidentally connected. Eudora and Calista’s brother Andrew help in exploring the various clues and are all subject to the dangers that follow them the closer they get.
What an enjoyable mystery, this has all the twists and turns along with different possible bad guys and a romance to capture reader’s imagination.
I love Calista; she is independent, sassy and fun. She is making a living on her own in a world where being female is difficult. She and her brother Andrew have been alone since her grandparents passed away, leaving them a huge house. But she worries about Andrew, as he is younger and more impulsive; she is almost as protective as Trent is over his sister.
Trent is very appealing as a hero; he is reclusive because of an injury and a rejection after the accident, but is immediately attracted to Calista and agrees to help her. The romance between the two is quiet and overshadowed as they are more involved in the mystery than their relationship but they are clearly enamored with each other and their chemistry is apparent.
There are several important secondary characters that round out the cast, Andrew is very likeable and although helps with Calista’s business he really is excited to step up and help with the murder/mystery investigation and he is a great help, and if there is a sequel to this book he would make a great lead character. I also like Eudora she is also very helpful with the investigation and I enjoyed her side story that included a budding romance with a client of Calista’s.
The pace is fast, it starts out when the mystery is revealed and does not let up as the group follows many leads and finds danger as they try to find the real culprits. There is a gothic feel to this tale as London is dark and dreary, and she lives in a monstrosity of a mansion she shares with her brother. I was surprised at the ending because there were actually several people I could have picked as the murderer, and the stakes rise, as each time they think they find something important someone else ends up dead to cover the tracks. All in all a well done mystery and romance for all to enjoy.
I give ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick 4 stars!