Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Lady Ambition’s Dilemma

Monday, March 25, 2024

Lady Ambition’s Dilemma (2024) Jane Steen (Lady Helena Investigates)

Lady Ambition's DilemmaSet in England in 1883.

Lady Helena is approaching the end of her mourning period, following the death of her husband in 1881. Although she still misses Justin, she is ready to return to the world–and her growing feelings for Armand Fortier also need to be considered.

But those thoughts are put to the wayside when one of her older sisters demands Helena’s assistance in helping her son out.

I was not prone to losing my temper with my sisters, but I could feel myself beginning to simmer with irritation. “You’re asking for my help, so I’m making it easier for you by admitting I know something of such matters instead of acting like a hypocrite. Justin told me that such men exist and that they often marry anyway. Although,” a new thought struck me, “it would be rather unfair to your putative American heiress, wouldn’t it? Is that your dilemma?”

My words appeared to strike Blanche dumb for the space of twenty seconds, but then she recovered. “Dederick’s not such men.” She looked quite distraught, and I began to feel sorry for her again. “He has sworn to me it was with just the one boy—at school—that matters went beyond mere affection.” She choked again.

I was cautious reading this, unsure the subject of homosexuality would be addressed. Also, Dederick is an obnoxious git to Helena at the start of the story.

“So you’ve had affairs with women?” This was something I wasn’t sure Blanche knew.

The arrogance and derision were back on Dederick’s face. “I’m perfectly capable of performing the act with them, since that’s obviously what’s on your mind. Can’t I have some brandy now?”

While Helena tries to help her nephew, other issues arise, including the death of Armand Fortier’s father, and Armand’s bringing is cousin and the boy raised as their son to England, and a visit from the brother of Helena’s first love. All of which means we get to spend more time with some of the secondary characters, including Helena’s nephew Thomas (who is nearly the same age as Helena) and who for the first time in the series is honest about his frustrations with his body.

It hasn’t helped to have Jonathan here, reminding us all he can fight and ride and stride around in that ridiculous uniform while I play children’s games. I’m angry—not at him, but at this.” He put his good hand under the elbow of his withered arm, lifting it into view.

“This doesn’t make you less of a man.” I caught his twisted right hand in mine, caressing it.

I like Thomas very much, and I think he’d be a good vicar, I also want him to find happiness. I believe we’ll find more about what happens to him in future books.

Oh! And there was reference to the strange weather due to events across the world.

She waved a hand at the vase. “I’m trying to recreate the unearthly twilights we’ve been having—to build a sort of record in ceramics.”

Another thing I should mention about 1883 was a shock that was literally felt around the world. From May to October of that year, the Indonesian island of Krakatoa underwent huge paroxysms of volcanic activity, peaking on 27 August with an explosion so massive it was heard nearly two thousand miles away,

I enjoy this series, and the only bad thing is it takes a couple years for her to write these books.

Publisher: Aspidistra Press

Cover design by Rachel Lawston and Alexandra Allden

Rating: 9/10


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