Author: Manda Collins
England, 1865 : As one of England’s most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she’s determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are praying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.
Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham’s refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she’s the key witness in a new crime, he’s determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they’ll need to catch a killer.
An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire is the second novel in the A Lady’s Guide series. While each can be read as a standalone, it is best to read the first before moving on to this one. The two main characters, Caro and Val are introduced in the first novel as secondary characters. Their story is introduced, so reading A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem first gives a nice foundation before beginning this story. Miss Caroline Hardcastle is a journalist/writer for a newspaper column, an heiress, and a firm believer in equality. When her best friend, an actress named Effie Warrington, is kidnapped, Caro must partake in a new mystery to solve. She begins with Effie’s fiancé, Francis Thorn, but discovers that he too is missing. Francis happens to be the cousin of Caro’s former betrothed, Valentine (Val) Thorn, now Viscount Wrackham. Caro ended the engagement, but there is lingering tension between them. The story sets on the two characters working together to save Effie and Francis while rediscovering each other.
Since I loved both of these characters in the first installment, I was very excited for them to have their own story. It did not disappoint as the tension between them was well done and I loved that the two of them discover that their initial impressions of the other may not be all they seemed. Caro is a very fun take-charge woman who does not wish to settle for society’s expectations of her. Val has never stopped loving Caro and is very sweet. The two of them have great chemistry and share entertaining banter and are a couple that you want to root for. The two of them working together to solve the mystery behind the kidnappings was a great catalyst to bring the two characters closer.
Similar to the first novel, this one sets out to balance the mystery and the romance. The mystery in this novel was fun as there are clues placed along the way for both the reader and characters to figure out the one behind it. It was fun to have Andrew and Kate from the first novel along for the ride as it was nice to catch up with them after the first novel ended. While Caro and Val have an attraction still, they need to work through many of the issues from their past. For me, I liked this process between them, and my only wish was for it to be stretched out and explored a little more. There were moments where I felt things were fixed a little too easily and would have preferred a little more exploration into the process.
Overall, this was another enemies-to-lovers story, like the first, but it was done in a different way as these characters had a shared past. Caro and Val were each enjoyable characters and they worked well together with Andrew and Kate. The story is a fun mix of mystery and romance, which makes it an ideal read for those that enjoy either genre. After enjoying this novel, I cannot wait to see what mystery is presented for the new couple Miss Flora Deaver and the Duke of Langham in the next installment.
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Forever, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**