Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Reads: A Deadly Waltz by Sophia Queen

Yes, I did it again. I decided a while back to try something in a genre that was completely new for me. It’s a Victorian gothic romance. I had no experience with these when I started this book, and for a minute I thought I’d made a grave mistake. But I’m glad I hung in there, because I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It’s called A Deadly Waltz, written by Sophia Queen.

After her parents died, Karina’s uncle promises her hand in marriage to a man she doesn’t love just so he can get his hands on her inheritance. But Karina has other plans. She slips away in the night after clopping her intended upside the head with a huge, heavy science book. My kinda girl.

Karina winds up at the Garrott Agency, where she trains rigorously for the position of an undercover investigator. Her first assignment? A position as governess at Westford Castle where the owner, Lord Sebastien Blackwell, has been accused of the murder of his wife, Isabel. And here’s where things get interesting.

But you know me – no spoilers. So let me tell you what I really, really liked about this book.

She has a knife in her glove. Her parasol is really a gun. I got really excited at this point because, with kids who grew up in the 80s, you know what I’m thinking . . . Inspector Gadget. Yeah. I always thought he was cool, and Karina is no exception. It’s like something right out of “Wild Wild West” with Will Smith and Kevin Kline, and I found the whole thing incredibly appealing. What I found most appealing was that the setting was a time when, as the greedy lothario to whom she was betrothed said, “Don’t think for a second I will allow any wife of mine to dabble in scientific experiments. They are much too complicated for the female mind. Dangerous, in fact.” In that time period, a young woman being trained as an undercover investigator would’ve been more than forbidden, it would’ve been scandalous. And that’s exactly why I loved this book.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, in the course of time Karina comes to know and appreciate Lord Blackwell, and she’s pretty sure someone else killed his wife, even though all the evidence points to him. She and Sebastien share the story with a great many characters, some of which are grand and some of which are gross. I’m not going to tell you how it ends – I’m sure you can probably guess – but I was surprised at the solving of the crime. I had some inkling, but I still wasn’t sure. So bravo to Sophia for making me wait right up until the end!

If you’ve never tried a Victorian gothic romance, this might be one to experience. Karina is smart and personable, and Sebastien is just angst-ridden enough to steal your heart. I’m waiting to see if there’s a sequel. I’m hoping so. She’ll draw me back to Victorian gothic romance, I just know it.

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