This is book two in the Lady Darby mystery series, and after my enthusiasm with book one I found this to be a bit of a letdown. As per the book blurb: “After her foray into murder investigation, Kiera must journey to Edinburgh with her family so that her pregnant sister can be close to proper medical care. But the city is full of many things Kiera isn’t quite ready to face: the society ladies keen on judging her, her fellow investigator—and romantic entanglement—Sebastian Gage, and ultimately, another deadly mystery.”
The book begins with the carriage trip from the country to Edinburgh, and I didn’t really think that it was the best way to start off – outlining her sister’s bouts of nausea due to pregnancy doesn’t exactly grab the reader’s interest the same way finding a dead body does in book one. Meanwhile, Kiera broods about the last time she saw Sebastian and wonders what he is doing in Edinburgh. It didn’t add much to the story, and could have easily been skipped. Plus, they don’t even make it to Edinburgh – they stop along the way to visit some friends, and let her sister rest more comfortably for a short time. Michael Dalmay, their friend, is about to be married and there are several other people already at the estate. Michael’s older brother and heir to the title, William, suffered from what we call PTSD today, and had been locked in an insane asylum by their father. The family of Michael’s fiancée is concerned this might be a family trait of madness and aren’t pleased about the engagement. William also happened to have been Kiera’s first art teacher, and she had a bit of a crush on him at the time. So needless to say, there’s a lot of tension already in the house.
I’m not going to give too much away of the story, but there’s also a missing girl from the local village, which brings Kiera into the picture to try to solve this. And of course, Sebastian happens to also be one of the guests at the estate, so naturally they need to work together again. Unfortunately, Kiera has way too many insecurities and rather than being happy to see him, she feels smothered by his protectiveness during their investigation. It’s not the same relationship they seemed to be kindling in book one; they are often just irritated with each other rather than building any romantic feelings. Clearly, they both have some emotional baggage, so I expect this to be a long drawn out situation. I don’t mind a slow burn romance, but this seems to be on the back burner and growing cooler by the moment.
I’ve read a few other reviews on this book, where people were annoyed by the use of modern phrases; to be honest that didn’t take me out of the story too much. Still, if the author is trying to create the time period properly, this could have been caught by an editor. In the end, I was let down a little on this second book in the series, but I’ll continue on to book three, and see if things improve for Kiera and Sebastian!
I rate this at 2.5 stars, only rounded up to 3 here.