I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I read about this book recently here on BookLikes and the combination of the review and the title grabbed my attention enough that I went right out and ordered the book. I received it this week, and it became my Friday-after-Thanksgiving-and-I'm-not-moving read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - at least, I enjoyed it as much as I could considering the murder (this murder isn't for the feint of heart or those that like their murders cozy - this was gruesome). This is an example of the type of historical mysteries that hook me; I can get behind these characters and care deeply about what happens to them.
The main character is Kiera, Lady Darby. She's the widow with a scandalous, somewhat tragic past. But not in the typical, clichéd way; I like what the author has done to create this character and to me, it's very unique. There's a bit of wounded bird to her personality, justifiably so, but there are moments where she gives as good as she gets and those moments are gold. Her sister Alana is fantastically likeable and it's a breath of fresh air to read a book about sisters who like each other; I've rather been on a run of books with nasty-shrew sisters recently.
Gage, the inquiry agent is perfect for a series worth of fun sexual tension and witty banter. Blond/blue eyed, gorgeous, intelligent and a rogue. The scenes with Gage and Keira are sometimes fun, oftentimes sweet and always leaving me wanting to read more. I love that Keira is a widow; we get to skip all that innocent-lamb-must-be-chaperoned stuff that comes with women who've not yet been married.
The rest of the characters are all vividly written and easy to distinguish, although I'll admit at first to being worried about keeping all the Lords, Marquis, and Earls straight. Luckily, in such a large house party, only a handful were serious suspects and it became much easier to keep them all straight.
As to the murder plot, I never had any idea who it was. It wasn't just a matter of who wanted the victim dead, but who would go to such lengths? This wasn't a run-of-the-mill murder. I didn't start to put it all together until Keira did, and that's always fun when it happens. I don't mind guessing early if the characters are worth reading about, but not figuring it out until I'm supposed to? Well that's just the best possible outcome for a murder mystery.
My only beef with the plot:(show spoiler)
Overall, this was a great book and I've already ordered the second in the series. I couldn't put it down even though I was exhausted from holiday revelry the day before, so I still stayed up too late last night because I had to know how it ended. I can't wait for the next one to arrive.