Hmm I read the first book then the third, then this. The first book was still the best, though not great. The third book wasn’t good and I felt this was just as bad if not worse. The book started with Verity heading to a seance, she then discovers some shocking clues that then leads her to Belgium, where she manages to track down the main suspect.
I actually stopped reading at chapter 12 and skimmed through the remaining chapters.
- The descriptions of the places in Belgium she was travelling in. I believe the author did put in lots of effort to research the addresses, how the places looked like in war etc. Her descriptions of the fashion and the general vibe of the place was also pretty on point and I appreciated the imagery
What didn’t work
First off, I got really tired of the constant mistrust between Verity and Sidney. Instead of trying to understand each other, they are still keeping secrets from one another, with neither attempting to break the trust. Both have superior complexes, think they know better than everyone else and are constantly angry. Also, their marriage seems to be purely physical attraction and lust than anything else. Like, everytime he touches her, she feels a “thrill” and when they hug outside or something, she starts to feel lusty? Everytime? Come on, now. And despite insisting on working on her marriage, she’s thinking of other men. Then why bother continuing to work it out? This book had alot of descriptions of their marriage and offered very little backstory. It just got very tiresome and at some point I wished they got a divorce.
The mystery is very lame in this one – Spoilers ahead. I gave up reading properly in chapter 12 when she insisted on going to Belgium to look for Emilie rather than go to the cottage with her husband to work on their marriage. Really now?! And her reason for searching for Emilie was based off what a medium said at a seance (said medium conveniently dies) and she felt a “duty” to “save Emilie” – someone she didn’t know well and whom she just worked with during the war. Hero complex much? And why? I have no idea, and it was never explained properly. I did not stick around to find out who the murderer/suspect was.
After reading 3 books, my final conclusion on Verity is that she isn’t a very interesting heroine. She’s written to be a very 2-D character and I disliked her hypocrisy towards Sidney (he couldn’t keep secrets or get angry but she could) and her rather pompous I-know-better-than-anyone-else way of nosing into every single investigation though most of it doesn’t concern her. We are also told that almost every man she encounters likes her, but from the rather thin descriptions of her, I can’t see why anyone finds her charming. She is also prickly, hides alot of things from her husband and doesn’t come across very compelling or intelligent. I found it really hard to believe she was an Intelligence Officer. We are constantly told she’s smart, pretty blah blah but I couldn’t buy it really.
Also the author’s constant use of the same oleee descriptions to describe things. Characters were frequently “scowling” and “arching their eyebrows” – this occurs in alllll the books. And the constant need to over-explain things and describe irrelevant things in a rather drab manner (i.e. esmeraldine cushions). Because of this and the spelling errors etc, I felt that the book could be better edited. Alot of the language used was also very misplaced and didn’t ring true of that era.
Dialogue. Or rather the lack of any real depth to the characters’ dialogues. Especially that between Sidney and Verity, and this I observed was quite similar in other books in the series as well.
I just couldn’t be bothered to spend time reading through all 31 chapters. It lost me at Chapter 12 and I skimmed through the rest. Won’t be continuing to read the other books in the series.