Dangerous Deceptions by Sarah Zettel
Disclaimer one: I read the advanced reader's copy of this book. Undoubtedly there will be some minor differences between the version I read and the published copy. This book will be published on November 4, 2014.
Disclaimer two: This is the second book in the series. I review the first book, Palace of Spies, HERE. If you wish for the first book to remain unspoiled, I recommend not reading this review.
So many disclaimers, I'm just going to leap to the amazon summary, "“A rollicking spy caper in corsets. . . . This witty romp will delight fans of historical fiction as well as mystery lovers.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review of Palace of Spies
As a lady in waiting in King George’s London court, Peggy has survived a forced betrothal, royal scandals, and an attempt or two on her life. And now she has a new problem: her horrible fiancé has returned to claim her! To save her neck, or at least her hand in marriage, Peggy joins forces with her cousin Olivia and her sweetheart, Matthew. But if she doesn’t play her cards right, her career as courtier and spy might come to an end at the bottom of the river Thames . . ." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE AND SURPRISING QUALITY
Again, I am impressed with the amazon summary for this book. Whoever is in charge of this book series and giving summaries, they're doing a splendid job.
Peggy returns with a different climate to court this time; half of the ladies in waiting have it out for her after the events of Palace of Spies, her terrible fiance from the last book means to make good on their betrothal, and Matthew is a darling sweetheart. Plus Peggy has a maid that has quite a bit of her own sparkling personality to match Peggy's whirlwind lifestyle.
There's also more intrigue into the political climate of court as Peggy starts using her resources and seems to begin to come into her own as a spy. She's still learning, but she's on her proper way to being of good service to the queen.
There is also a seemingly half-hearted attempted at making Peggy a little more independent and lethal as she starts taking on lessons from a mysterious gentleman and has weapons hidden in certain garments of clothing.
This is a Peggy that I like as she stops letting herself be at the mercy of those who would control her and musters the courage to take control of the situation.
Now, the romantic heart that dwells within me demanded to see more of Matthew in this story because romance is awesome, yadda yadda, but the part of me that appreciates a good story really loved the balance between love, political intrigue, character history, and action that cropped up from time to time. This was a fantastically even keeled book that drives me to get my hands on the third book.
The side characters were all acutely established, and enhanced much of the story rather than ever detract from the main plotline. There wasn't much about this book that was haphazard, but there were a few mentions in it that will seem to come back to play a larger role in later books which I can appreciate it even though I am mildly annoyed that I don't know how the mystery resolves now.
The only reason this is being held back from being a recommended book, is that it didn't grip my attention as thoroughly as it could have. There were a lot of times I could be content with stopping where I was and going off to do something else, so I did. It took me a bit longer to get through the books because I think there were too many pauses where the critical story is being set up for future books, but it seemed to be watered down content. It could have been a lot more potent.
So while it was even keeled, it seemed to have a child's grasp on my curiosity and desire to know what happens next, rather than having it in a steel grip.