Miss Cecily Hurston is on the hunt for a thief and a missing, possibly murdered, man to try and clear her scholarly father’s name. Her father has been struck down by a stroke and is unable to communicate and his journals missing, the only place that may hold some clues is the Egyptian Club of which her father is a founder. Unfortunately a woman must be married to a member to enter, deciding that it is the only way Cecily is determined to be a marry by becoming a social success after years mouldering away as a bluestocking wallflower with her cousins, cruelly called “the Ugly Ducklings”. However, a chance encounter with the new Duke of Winterson, Lucas, changes everything, especially as he is the older brother of the missing man and is determined to find him.This is Manda Collins debut novel and I have to say it is fantastic, her writing is polished and her mixture of mystery and romance engrossing as well as a great change from the normally fairly straight forward historical romances. This book is comparable to Amanda Quick’s books, which normally have some kind of mystery centered round a archeological or some type of intellectual pursuit and a romance between the main characters.

What I liked a most about this book was the characters of Cecily and Lucas, Cecily was a headstrong and clever female worried about her future, especially with her father ill. I liked her strong personality and also how she tried to use her intellect as a defense and a shield to hide herself away, she was a very well drawn character. Lucas was also very sweet, he was honorable and most of he had the good sense to fall in love with Cecily. The romance between them was there from the very beginning, you knew at least that they were attracted to each other, but it seemed that the romance grew from a friendship and respect for each other, rather then some mad desire to sleep with her, then fall in love.

The mystery element of the story was good, although perhaps not the strongest I have read, more it was a device for getting Lucas and Cecily together, but there were gaps where nothing was happening and I did guess the culprit fairly early. But this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

But, although I did like this book and I had fun reading it, it hasn’t captured me, it did have some great elements in it but it isn’t a book that stands out too much from the crowd of other romances. But, I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a quality example of a historical romance, and I will be looking out for the next book in the series.


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[about-author author=”Manda Collins”]

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