Saturday, May 23, 2015

What I Read in December Part IX . . .

What I Read in December Part IX . . .

The Counterfeit Lady (The Victorian Bookshop Mystery, #2)The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker -- Historical cozy mystery

Miss Georgia Parker, spinster and bookshop owner, is content with her middle-class life - mostly. She hopes one day to avenge her parents' deaths at the hands of a mysterious antiquarian book collector and occasionally dreams that the handsome Duke of Blackford will take her in his arms. When the Duke appears with bad news for Georgia's friend Lady Phyllida Monthalf, Georgia is plunged into an investigation of murder and treason. In order to find out who killed her friend's cousin, she must pose as a wealthy widow from the Far East returning to London and her former paramour, the Duke of Blackford. The Duke arranges everything and Georgia resents his high-handed manner but she agrees to the task to help her friend. When she spies her parents' killer, she has further motivation to find the missing blueprints and Phyllida's cousin's murderer so she can finally seek revenge. The Duke threatens to derail Georgia's focus with his close proximity but she knows she can never be a Duchess.

This story is a bit different from a typical cozy mystery. The heroine is a member of a secret organization. I'm not sure what they do or why they call themselves the Archivist Society not having read the first book. Also, the Archivist Society has a very good idea of who did it, they just have to catch the person. There's no real "whodunnit" in this book, though there are some red herrings that keep the story interesting though not fast paced. There are some details that make the time period but it was hard to remember this was Victorian because the language and characters sounded so modern. Even some of the plot details sounded too modern for the Victorian era. Why can't everyone be Georgette Heyer? I also noticed that Lady Phyllida is called Lady Monthalf but Georgia states that Phyllida is single so I believe she should be Lady Phyllida and not Lady Monthalf. The big reveal wasn't a huge surprise but it left me confused because there were several villains. I guessed correctly and wrong at the same time because I had forgotten completely about a certain foreign person who was mentioned once early on in the novel. I had the right person but not the right motive. There is WAY too much backstory in this novel. More than there should be for a second book, more than can be contained in the first book! It seems that Phyllida's brother was Jack the Ripper?! The story concludes with room for another mystery but if there isn't, there aren't really any loose ends.

I wanted to like Georgia, being a middle-class spinster archivist but I found her a bit cold. I don't really know why she loves the Duke, other than she's attracted to him and he's a bit more straight-laced than most of his fellow nobles. She has a lot of backstory that takes up a lot of the book but it doesn't really develop her character. She keeps worrying about her shop but she doesn't really say why her shop is so important to her other than it's her livelihood. She's tough and doesn't let emotions rule her. She's a very modern heroine and a bit too modern for the late Victorian age. She'd be more at home a few decades later in the Edwardian era or 20s and 30s. Other than her clothes, she's not really a Victorian character.

The Duke is enigmatic. We don't know much about him. He's kind of a nicer Mr. Darcy type. He's very straight-laced like Mr. Darcy, at least on the surface. The story doesn't dig deeper into his backstory. I liked Phyllida the best. She was the most Victorian and had the most backstory. I felt sorry for her that she has had such a rough life but she rises to the occasion and stays strong throughout. Emma was my other favorite character. Her beautiful face hides a tough girl from the East End who knows how to wield a knife. I love how she uses her looks to her advantage to keep people from suspecting she isn't who she says she is. The other characters are rather two-dimensional. Lady Bennett is a typical spiteful lady though she has a small amount of depth to her character. I liked Lady Peters but wasn't sure about her being worthy of liking. She seemed to like Sir Henry who is a completely nasty character. I think Clara Gattenger sounds like she would have been an interesting character to know. Her mysterious bruises were never fully explained. I had a theory about them but then something else was brought up which gave me a new theory. There should have been more about her.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave comments and or suggestions for QNPoohBear, the modern bluestocking.