A Most Intriguing Lady is Victorian romance and is the second book in the collaboration between Sarah Ferguson (the Duchess Of York) and Marguerite Kaye. Although this tale is easily a stand-alone story, it also loosely follows on from their first book.
Lady Mary is the youngest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch (pronounced ‘Buck-Loo’). Beneath her quiet, well-behaved demeanour is a young woman who resists the demands of society. She’s daring and inquisitive and has qualities that make her an ideal amateur sleuth.
Colonel Trefusis is a guest of the Duke and Duchess, but when one of the other guests loses a valuable brooch he offers to help Mary solve the crime. They form a friendship, but Trefusis pushes Mary away when he suffers one of his debilitating headaches.
Their paths cross a few years later and once again they join forces to solve a different crime.
This is a gentle romance with a sub-theme of sleuthing to add interest to the tale. I liked both Mary and Trefusis from the start and I was rooting for them until the very end. There are some interesting secondary characters and the historical notes at the back of the book inform us about which of them were real as well as a few other interesting historical facts.
Although I quite liked the first book written by this duo I much preferred this one. The novel reflects the improving strength of the writing team which brings to the table Marguerite’s vast writing experience in the historical romance genre, with almost sixty books in her portfolio, and the Duchess’s lifelong experience of the aristocracy.
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From Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, a sweeping, romantic compulsively readable historical saga about a Duke’s daughter–the perfect Victorian lady–who secretly moonlights as an amateur sleuth for high society’s inner circle.
Victorian London was notorious for its pickpockets. But in the country houses of the elite, gentleman burglars, art thieves and con men preyed on the rich and titled. Wealthy victims–with their pride and reputation at stake–would never go to the police. What they needed was a society insider, one of their own, a person of discretion and finely tuned powers of observation, adept at navigating intrigue.
That person was Lady Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, the youngest child of Queen Victoria’s close friends the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Bookish, fiercely intelligent, and a keen observer, Mary has deliberately cultivated a mousey persona that allows her to remain overlooked and significantly underestimated by all. It’s the perfect cover for a sleuth, a role she stumbles into when trying to assist a close friend during a house party hosted by her parents at their stately Scottish home, Drumlanrig Castle.
It is at this party where Lady Mary also meets Colonel Walter Trefusis, a distinguished and extremely handsome war veteran. Tortured by memories of combat, Walter, like Mary, lives a double life, with a desk job in Whitehall providing a front for his role in the British Intelligence Service. The two form an unlikely alliance to solve a series of audacious crimes–and indulge in a highly charged on-off romance.
Pacy, romantic, and fun, A Most Intriguing Lady documents one remarkable woman’s ability to be both the perfect lady, and a perfectly talented detective…and, of course, to find love too.