This is the second book in the Charm of Magpies series and a tiny bit of a let down. The plot is just as tightly wound and well paced. The characters are still funny and sexy. I think my discontent comes from the lack of POV switch, we do not get anything from Stephen Day’s point of view. I am not sure why the author made that choice because it is actually Stephen that has the most at stake in this one and I would have liked to have seen the plot unfold from his eyes, but Lord Crane’s mind is not a bad place to be. I also really like the first blushes of attraction and love, and lose a bit of interest once the couple is together (and no ripping them apart over and over ala Ross and Rachel does not count).
So back to the plot, Lord Crane and Stephen are back in London, keeping their relationship a secret and living very separate lives, until Stephen needs a translator and asks for Lord Crane’s help. There is a tangle of bad events (blackmail, death by giant rats, and suicide) all involving people who had lived in China with Lord Crane. He goes from suspect to possible victim and back again, all while Stephen is trying to hide their relationship and Lord Crane’s magical ancestry. All of it strains their fragile relationship and forces them to face the bleak truth about their future.
While I liked this one a little less than the first, I read it in one sitting, and am looking forward to the next one.