Elizabeth Means takes us to England during the Victorian Era into a room where Lord Burton is arranging the marriage of his niece, Gabrielle, to the vile Sir Edward Wolfden with the intent of splitting Gabrielle’s inheritance and wiping Lord Burton’s debt clean. I was completely disgusted when I read this beginning. What these men were doing to Gabrielle was disgusting and horribly wrong. I especially hated Sir Edward. He is a controlling sorry excuse for a man who shows signs that he is capable of physical abuse. That is why I was so relieved when Gabrielle had the courage to flee her home after overhearing her uncle’s plans for her. Gabrielle is a strong minded woman and refused to fall into her uncle’s deceitful plans, so she takes her acceptance letter and flees to the Turnball Agency to become an investigator.
And that is where the fun begins for Gabrielle, as she is giver her first assignment – to investigate the murder of Lord Julien Blackwell’s late wife. Elizabeth did an excellent job balancing the chemistry between Lord Julien and Gabrielle and the murder investigation. I also really enjoyed how Elizabeth showed Gabrielle’s inexperience throughout this novel. This is Gabrielle’s first case, so not only is she nervous and feeling the pressure of the job, but she is also a bit clumsy. For example, I was slapping my forehead when Gabrielle begin to question Lord Lucien’s staff about the murder. So obvious, but definitely the mistakes of one would make on their first day in the field.
The relationship that grown between Lord Lucien and Gabrielle is complicated and endearing. Gabrielle is focused on her job and ignores the advances of Lord Lucien, yet her rejection only attracts Lord Lucien to her even more, especially when he thinks that all women are just after his money. It is clear that Lord Lucien has a practiced hand in the area of romancing a woman, whereas Gabrielle is not so smooth. Gabrielle goes a little schiz sometimes because she is so attracted to Lord Lucien yet he is also the prime suspect in her murder investigation. Lord Lucien’s home is filled with lies, half-truths and suspicion everywhere – quite an intriguing atmosphere. I was so into the story that I didn’t try to figure out the identity of the killer, which is a first for me. This is a light hearted fun read that I really enjoyed. I completely lost myself in this novel, and I can only hope that this will turn into a series.