Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Gilded Deceit

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Gilded Deceit (2017) Tracy Grant

Set in Europe on Lake Como in 1818

This is book 13, and follows immediately upon the events of the previous novella.

Malcolm and Melanie have fled England. Lord Carfax has threatened to expose Melanie’s past, so to protect her–and the whole family–they’ve left for Italy, with Raoul, Laura, and also Harry and Cordy. (I admit, I’m not quite sure why Harry and Cordy left, except to keep Malcolm and Mel company).

The group is unexpectedly attacked along the way, by bandits demanding they “hand it over.”

They’re rescued by another English group along the road (who must only have been a mile or two behind them) and since their villa is closer, our heroes meet Lord Thurston and his lover, the Contessa Vincenzo. As well as her husband, and all the various kids.

“Kit and his sisters haven’t seen their father since he left Britain fifteen years ago.”

“Your brother and sisters wanted to wait up. But we weren’t sure how late it would be. I hope you’ll have time with them tomorrow.”

“That will be lovely,” Diana said with a bright smile. “We’ve heard so much about them.”

“Not really,” Selena said. “I mean, where would we have heard it? Except for letters from—” She stared at Thurston, carefully plucked brows drawn together. “I don’t know what to call you.”

Thurston hesitated a moment. “You were quite proud of yourself for having mastered ‘Papa’ the last time you saw me.”

“I was three.”

One of the things this story gives us is far more about Malcolm’s mother than we’d had in the past.

Arabella had moods. It was years before I understood she was ill. I kept thinking I should be able to shake her out of them.

I actually liked learning about her, and seeing her from Raoul’s eyes. It made her even more complex.

I think I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I especially like about this series is that the children are not main characters, but they add a great deal of depth to the other characters and the story.

Emily, Colin, and Jessica were all very sturdy, but losing children was a reality parents lived with every day. Laura felt it whenever one of them caught a simple cold.

I also appreciate the fact that this story gives us more clear look at the place of women in British society than other historicals do.

“It’s appalling,” Mary said. “What a husband can do to a wife and leave her no recourse. It’s why my mother likened marriage to slavery.”

Mind you, they’re all still very wealthy, which makes them far far better off the most of the rest of society, but it’s clear that they way Malcolm and Harry and Raoul treat the women is unusual for the time.

The characters also aren’t blind to the changes that the war caused.

“I believed in what I was doing in the war. But I didn’t much care for what I came back to. Former soldiers without limbs, begging in the streets. Sleeping in Hyde Park. Corn laws that protect the incomes of those with property and deny bread to families.

The mystery was rather complicated, but it’s also tied in with the mysteries that have gone through the earlier books. I would NOT start here.

Publisher: NYLA
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Mystery     Comments (0)    

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