This book wasn’t as purely enjoyable for me as the first one, but it was really an excellent middle book that does what all middle books should do: It furthers the character arcs of the characters we care about so that they are not stagnant and wallowing, it pushes the main story arcs along further and things actually happen, and it provides its own enclosed story arc so that you are left satisfied by the presence of a beginning, middle, and ending within the book itself.
It’s been several months since Will Darling met Kim Secretan, and while there have been several instances of dalliances between them, mostly Kim has been distant, and Will has grown frustrated with his thwarted desire to trust Kim and build a real relationship, which Kim doesn’t seem to want to do. They are forced to confront their issues (both their own person issues and the issues they have as a couple) when they are both pulled into another scheme, involving a night club and speakeasies and the Bright Young Things (Charles uses them to hilarious effect here). Will has also grown much closer to Phoebe, and Phoebe and Maisie have developed a friendship, and are about to embark on a business relationship as well, as Phoebe is using her connections to help Maisie realize her dream of being a fashion designer. But Kim is holding onto a secret that affects them all, and it’s kind of eating him up inside.
I think I might have still given this book five stars but the first half of the book, the main “mystery plot” wasn’t as interesting to me as the one in the first book, but luckily by the end, the stakes have changed and it became very compelling for me. (I might retroactively enjoy the first half more when I re-read.) The ending nicely set up book three, and Will and Kim’s final challenge, meeting Kim’s family. Very much looking forward to that in December.
(Worth noting, there is a fun little cameo in here from Think of England (or two?) if you’re paying attention.)