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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review - Heirs and Graces

The summer has been hectic for me and I am catching up on my reading and reviewing.  This week is the newest of the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen.  You can read the reviews I have done of the previous books: #6 The Twelve Clues of Christmas (click here,) #5 Naughty in Nice (click here,) #4 Royal Blood (click here,) and the author interview with Ms. Bowen (click here.)

Author: Rhys Bowen

Copyright: August 2013 (Berkley Hardcover) 304 pgs

Series: 7th in Royal Spyness Mysteries

Sensuality: mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Cozy

Main Characters: 22 year old Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line for the throne

Setting: 1933, Kingsdowne Place England

Obtained Through:  publisher for an honest review

Georgiana had hopes of helping her mother with her biography and learning to type in the process.  Her mother decides there isn't much she can put in print and goes back to her current husband.  Georgiana has no place to go until the Queen and the Dowager Duchess enlist Georgiana's help. The Dowager Duchess of Eynsford, a friend of the queen's, is expecting her deceased son's newly discovered heir to arrive from the outback of Australia and needs someone to help tutor him in royal ways and expectations.  Georgiana gets to stay in luxury at a gorgeous stately home, Kingsdowne Place, and have regular meals.  Georgian finds that the Dowager Duchess is trying to protect the title and lands because the current Duke is lavishing money on arts and theater projects and never plans to produce an heir. The Duke would be happy if the title died off, for he has no care for the others who depend upon him such as his sister and her children.  At one point he even schemes to adopt a grown acquaintance to inherit. 

When the Aussie Jack Altringham arrives as the new heir, he gets a lukewarm welcome from most and chilly indifference from the Duke.  Georgiana has her work cut out for her to polish the Australian rough cut Jack, let alone keep him from hanging for the murder of the Duke.  Young Darcy is the man who was charged with finding young Jack and verifying his lineage, so he was the one who suggested Georgiana take the young man under her wing. 

Georgiana is her usual resourceful self, finding better opportunities to keep herself fed and out of food lines. Darcy is back in this tale and their relationship slowly moves forward.  The Australian and new heir Jack is a fresh break from the English upper crust.  Georgiana's friend Belinda gets herself invited to the country manor-house and provides some humor.  The Dowager Duchess is a handful and adds depth to the plot.  The group of theater men that follow the Duke around are half comedic and half suspicious.  The mixture of characters was delightful.

Kingsdowne Place is a great country estate manor-house that adds some nuances to the story.  The plot moves along steadily and tension mounts.  My interest was maintained and I found myself drawn in and hooked.   

The climax had a significant twist to it that took me by surprise.  Great job there.  It left me wanting to continue on with the next installment immediately.

Rating:  Loved it! Buy it now and if you haven't read this series before -- put this author on your watch list 

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