My rating: 4 of 5 flames
Fun, witty, and full of surprises
I’ve come to expect quite a bit from Ms. Alexander when I read her now. I expect her characters to be likeable, smart, and witty. What I love is that I can count on Ms. Alexander to deliver. This book has all of the above.
I thought it might be like that movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but it wasn’t…which is a good thing.
In this Victorian setting, we first see Eve, an agent of the crown, age 27, retiring from several years as a spy. She is addressing her letter to “Sir.” That is all she’s ever known about him. Well, not completely. She’s been borderline flirting with him via these letters, and he has flirted right back, but she’s ending their (I’m hesitant to use the word relationship) relationship. He is her road never traveled.
Eve marries a steadfast, courteous, responsible man named Adrian who is everything she has ever dreamed-normal. The opposite of her fast-paced life. And they are so happy…for 2 years. Then Eve is blackmailed back into the Agency.
–Spoiler Alert, kind of—It’s not really a spoiler, but will mark it as such anyways:
A few twists and turns led me to the right assumption that Adrian is “Sir” (not a spoiler since you pretty much know by the second chapter). But what I won’t spoil for you is whether he knows Eve and his darling wife Evelyn are one and the same, or not?
A few more twists and turns caught me off guard and we have Adrian thinking his wife is having an affair. What does he do? Why burst in on the couple, of course. And naturally, he’s wrong, causing much embarrassment, and gaining Eve a wonderful new friend who I never in a million years thought I would like. But I did. Again, kudos to Ms. Alexander for twisting the plot in a way that had me expecting one thing, but instead something completely different happens. And the fun of this story is that I never feel confused or irritated by too much going on, it flows well, and it’s easy to read.
Victoria Alexander has a way of making me think she’s using a cliché and then skillfully turning it around on me until I can’t figure out why I ever doubted her originality? I love her dialogue, and I truly enjoy the characters and plots. This is my third or fourth read of hers, and I can’t wait until the next.
***Thank you to Kensington for the ARC