I picked this up from the library as I’m not gonna lie – the cover caught my eye and! The plot sounded really interesting – a historical fiction piece set in World War I in Britain with a very plucky and independent lady, Verity, hailing from the upper crust of British society, as our main character and sleuth.
Verity has just lost her husband and having drowned her sorrows in drink and dance, she receives an invitation to attend the engagement party of her dead husband’s former troop-mate, Walter at Umbersea Castle.
Castles. British rain. Fashionable people who don’t exactly like one another. A couple of murders. What’s not to like?!
- The setting and time period chosen for the novel. I can only imagine how utterly divine some of the fashion would look like if this were made into a Tv series! I just love love LOVE historical fiction pieces set in Britain and the whole nostalgia of a bygone era. This series actually inspired me to take a trip down memory lane and search up musical playlists from the 1920s-30s. Oh the feels!
- Despite some of my misgivings about the way the characters are treated sometimes, I actually found it difficult to figure out who really was the culprit. It really felt like for 90% of the book – it could be any of the usual suspects, but there was a surprising twist at the end which I really liked!
What didn’t work:
- I found the unfolding of the plot quite inconsistent and rather slow. There would be a few chapters where nothing happens, then suddenly a lead drops, but then it goes back to its languid, glacial pace. The majority of the action appeared in the last 3-4 chapters of the book, which I felt was abit rushed.
- There was alot of thinking and talking, and not alot of action and actual sleuthing, which I was looking forward to more
Brief Character Analysis:
Verity Kent: Verity strikes me as a rather modern lady – very ahead of the era she was born into. She’s feisty, quick-thinking, witty and observant. Which explains why did she was able to do the work she did during the war. Interesting to see how her character grows and unfolds in the upcoming books and if she remains the same sort of girl as she is in this book or she sort of hardens due to what she’s seen and experienced during the war.
Max (Lord Ryde): I rather liked Max. He seemed like an equally intelligent, sporty, gentlemanly and a really cool guy – it also helps that he’s an Earl and quite a dashing one at that. I felt he was totally Verity’s match and I was hoping they would end up together but alas!
Sidney Kent: The bits that we saw of Sidney wasn’t exactly very pleasant and it took me abit to warm up to him. There’s very little backstory to how he met Verity and his own personal backstory is also a little muddled. I’m curious at how they will continue to develop their relationship – methinks it’s gonna be an uphill struggle.
The other characters at the engagement party: None of Sidney’s former troop mates really made an impression on me. They were all rather distinct characters, but all seemed to harbour dark pasts and deep anger – understandable, given what they have seen and endured. However, none of them seemed to have very redeemable qualities, or rather the author chose not to focus too much on them.
However, Sam and his partner Mabel did stand out as some of the more interesting side characters. Mabel in particular seemed to have a certain sort of groundedness, calmness and strength about her that I really liked.
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars
This was a decent start to the series and I’m keen to find out what else has Huber have in store for us. Check out this series if you love historical fiction with a sprinkling of mystery.