Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

A Dangerous Madness

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A Dangerous Madness (2014) Michelle Diener (Regency London)

A Dangerous MadnessSet in London in 1812

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been prepared to follow her father’s dying wish and marry Sheldrake, but when he tells her he is ending their betrothal and leaving the country she is as much relieved as she is horrified.

“No. I’m . . . well, soon I’ll be in a bit of bother, m’dear. Or I think I will. And I’m going to have to make a run for it. I thought I could hold out until I got my hands on your money, but it looks like I was a bit too optimistic.” He gave a sigh.

I really dislike Sheldrake.

The Duke of Wittaker has been secretly working for the government for years. First at the request of of his father, and then because he wasn’t sure what else to do. But being a rake and a wastrel and winning the fortunes of his fellow noblemen has grown dull and insipid, so he has been trying to reclaim himself from his reputation.

But the murder of the prime minister throws him back into that world, to try and determine if the killer acted alone.

He’d despised Perceval. It hadn’t been difficult to pretend to be a malcontent these last few years, because the sheer pomposity and self-righteousness of the prime minister had been everything he disliked in politics. In life in general.

It’s easy to see why initially Whittaker might have had fun playing the dissolute Lord.

Wittaker didn’t hide his contempt at Banford’s reaction, flicking him a look before turning his attention to the room without making a reply. It made him even more popular, even more respected among this lot, he’d found. The more contemptuous, the more dismissive he was of them, the more they tried to please him and follow his style.

But that would get old, being unable to truly be oneself around anyone.

Here’s the thing about this book. Although Phoebe and James are fictional, the events of the assassination of Perceval and all the evidence and information discovered about the killer were facts discovered at the time.

So the plot of someone being behind the killer is not only possible, it seems likely. Which made the mystery all the more fascinating.

The romance between the two, of James actually seeing Phoebe as a person, is icing on that cake.

(A) feeling gripped her that was disturbingly like desire. Not a physical desire, although he was well-built and handsome enough for her to notice him that way, but one to spend time in his company and not have to hold back or phrase what she said carefully. The freedom of a companion like that was something she had long abandoned hope of experiencing.

“So now you know the answer to a mystery the more conservative members of the ton have long exclaimed over, namely why my father, straight-laced and upstanding as he was, tolerated my outrageous behavior without cutting me off or disinheriting me. And that contrary to general wisdom, I didn’t send him to an early grave. My behavior was his idea, all along.”

“He shouldn’t have asked it of you. Not for so long.”

She does a fantastic job making you feel precisely why Phoebe would take the risks she did, after a life of listening and obeying and following.

Impotent rage, her old friend, ran a familiar hand down her back and she stiffened under its hot, prickly fingers. Why shouldn’t she speak with someone? With whomever she pleased? She was twenty-four years old, responsible, intelligent.

She had all but accepted the anger and the frustration as constant companions, but Sheldrake cutting her free, the incidents of the last day, opened her eyes to how big they had grown, hulking beasts that rubbed up against her. Crowding her and making her life smaller.

That’s an even better part of the story than the mystery.
Rating: 8/10

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