My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Eager to escape her sister’s obsessive wedding plans, Lady Kiera Darby gladly accepts a commission to paint Lady Drummond’s portrait. Kiera soon realizes that the Baroness is suffering psychological and perhaps even physical abuse at her husband’s hands. So when Lady Drummond is discovered writhing in agony, Kiera suspects foul play and is determined to uncover the truth no matter where it may lead her …
Warning: There are significant spoilers for books 1-3 in this installment. It is also recommended that the series be read in order so as not to miss out on the excellent character development.
Kiera and Sebastian have taken their slow burn romance to the next level, but there are still outstanding issues between them, such as Sebastian’s secretive nature and overprotective tendencies as well as Kiera’s need to retain her independence and be accepted as an equal. Nevertheless, the love they share and the support they give to one another is key to overcoming all other obstacles and their relationship is definitely going in the right direction.
The case is intriguing and there are several compelling suspects. That said, my suspicions regarding one character in particular ultimately turned out to be accurate, and it is possible to figure out the culprit, if not the actual motive, which is rather convoluted.
The secondary characters all add nuance to the story and enrich the plotting and characterization. The irrepressible Bonnie Brock is a fascinating antagonist and it is clever of Huber to include him as his presence opens up new avenues of investigation that neither Sebastian nor Kiera would have access to without him. Sebastian’s autocratic father, Lord Gage, is another new addition and his confrontations with Kiera are a highlight of the book. Finally, the portrayal of Kiera’s sister’s high risk pregnancy is very realistic and leads to some truly intense moments.
In sum, a well written and entertaining historical mystery series and I’m eager to read the next one when it comes out next month.