Signet, Dec 7 2010, $7.99
In 1838 Prince Albert gives a rare gem to his beloved Queen Victoria. The gift means a lot to her Highness as a symbol of their commitment as he proposed to the Queen. Thus she becomes distraught when her gift is apparently stolen as Victoria fears her Albert will not talk to her for being so careless with the sign of their love. The frantic queen asks her long time friend Ivy Sutherland to find out what happened to her precious stone, which may be in the possession of “Mad” Marquess Simon de Burgh.
Cutting her hair off, Ivy masquerades as science student Ned Ivers, assistant to Simon who prefers working in his lab than be amongst Polite Society as the former electromagnetic experiments blow up a lot but not as much as the inane blow ups amidst the Ton. Simon is pleased with Ned’s work and proud of the lad’s advanced knowledge of electromagnetism; that changes when he realizes Ned is Ivy who must return home though he prefers she continue as his assistant. He reluctantly acquiesces to let her stay until the stone is found, but also agrees to help her search for the Queen’s jewel. As they fall in love, someone wants to insure they never find the missing gem.
The latest Her Majesty’s Secret Servants Victorian romantic suspense (see Ivy’s sister Laurel in Most Eagerly Yours) is a great historical investigative thriller. The tale is action-packed from the moment Ned becomes Simon’s assistant and enhanced by scientific and technological experiments in the beginning of the Victorian Era. Nineteenth century fans will appreciate this engrossing read as the amateur sleuths seek motives and opportunities while chasing after clues and falling in love.