Zeno (nickname Zak) is a member of the Special Irish Branch of Scotland Yard, and is determined to uncover the identities of the men of The Bloody Four – gentlemen who may, or may not, be working for Irish Home Rule, through terrorist actions.
When he discovers that Cassandra (Cassie) St Cloud has links to one of the suspects, Zeno uses her. But his interest in her soon becomes personal.
Zeno and Cassie are well-developed as characters. And it will be interesting to see the development of the other men as heroes, particularly Flynn.
Cassie is not your traditional historical romance heroine – she is an artist and a widow, so can operator outside the normal rules of society. She also has very progressive parents, both doctors. It’s not often you have a historical roman heroine being given condoms by her mother.
Historical quibbles: according to the quick research I did… yes, the Special Irish Branch was formed in 1883 but, the Fenian Dynamite Campaign ran from 1881 til 1885 so, in theory, was over by 1887 when the novel is set. Oh, and the whole progressive parent thing. Not too sure of this one. It would take a fair bit of convincing for me to feel comfortable with this set-up. Cassie is a bit too modern – even with her family background – smoking, tattoo, bicycle riding, pantaloons… and a lover. Hmmm.
With those caveats it’s a 3.5 – 4 star read for me, and about a 3.5 in the steaminess scale.
Some other detective-y type historical romances you might want to try are:
- The Bow Street Runners series by Lisa Kleypas: Someone to watch over me. Lady Sophia’s lover. Worth any price.
- Second sight by Amanda Quick (this is one of the many Arcane Society books)
- The Lake / March series by Amanda Quick: Slightly shady. Don’t look back. Late for the wedding.
- Devil Riders series by Anne Gracie: The stolen princess. His captive lady. To catch a bride. The accidental wedding.