This third book in the series has Priscilla Tate assuming the lead. I did not care much for her in the first book, only slightly more in the next, but perhaps her growth in those earlier novels helped me to really enjoy this novel and her transformation from fortune hunter to true heroine.
Priscilla’s various skills to make her attractive on the marriage market surprised me with their variety and even depth; it isn’t merely dressing in a fashionable manner or knowing the rules of society. Her loyalty to her friends and self-sacrificing attitude in regards to her family makes her much more sympathetic than she had been in the previous novels, and her often demonstrated strength through almost militaristic speeches and the similarities between battles and the social whirl of the Season give her the backbone I couldn’t see earlier.
Not unlike many who have watched countless period adaptations, I tend to romanticize the era, but in this book we see the enormous pressures brought to bear by family members who hang all of their hopes for the future on their daughter's marriage. It is by no means a relaxing or romantic time, the Season—too much is at stake.
Priscilla finds herself caught between using all of the skills her aunt taught her to snare a rich husband and wanting to be who she truly is and to marry the man who loves her for herself. That gives the romance a hefty dose of tension, making it the best so far in the series. There are many really sweet, sigh-worthy moments that build to a climax and impossible situation: what Priscilla thought she wanted is in direct opposition to her newfound desires.
There are several enjoyable events in this novel that I associate with the period—a masquerade ball with an announcement at midnight and a gothic graveyard tour in the evening are just two. And the humor in this book makes it a more lighthearted read; I loved Nathan’s dry sense of humor and the often awkward situations his position of personal secretary to his cousin puts him in, mostly because he is acutely aware of the flaws in the man he serves.
I have enjoyed each the Lady Emily Capers, but this third installment is the best so far! I highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy a clean Regency romance with touches of mystery and several unexpected twists.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for this honest review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
(reviewed 57 days after purchase)