In Wilde’s entertaining sequel to 2016’s A Useful Woman, her Regency-era characters—particularly the well born—are extremely good at keeping up appearances, but behind closed doors, their lives are just as scandalous, confusing, and chaotic as those in our own era. Rosalind Thorne was born into the aristocracy, but she’s free to navigate the seedier side of life for ladies in need of her discreet investigative services, since her father squandered the family fortune and abandoned her and her mother. Rosalind sympathizes with Margaretta Seymore, a prospective client, since she, too, faces public disgrace. Margaretta’s husband is threatening to file suit for “criminal conversation” against a prominent stage actor, with whom she’s rumored to have had an affair. What first appears to be a simple matter of marital impropriety soon turns into a case of murder that sends shock waves through London. Rosalind’s investigation highlights the difficulties created by Regency-era social mores and how women in particular were hobbled by these conventions. Some light romantic diversion reveals aspects of Rosalind’s personal history that help round out her character. Agent: Shawna McCarthy, McCarthy Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017 Release date: 05/01/2017 Genre: Fiction
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