I read A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock yesterday. It was raining outside, and after my usual after-church nap, I just sat in the recliner and read the entire novel. It's been in my TBR pile after I read a review of it from the always reliable Katherine at A Girl Walks into a Bookstore and asked for and got it for Christmas.
I enjoyed A Foreign Affair. It's a solid historical mystery, and thoroughly entertaining. Here's the Amazon synopsis:
"The year is 1837. Queen Victoria, barely eighteen, has just ascended to the throne of England, and a young woman named Liberty Lane has just had her first taste of true sorrow. Refusing to accept that her gentle, peace-loving father has been killed fighting a duel, she vows to see justice done. . . . The trail she follows is a twisting and dangerous one, leading the spirited young Englishwoman into an intricate weave of conspiracy. Contacted by secret agents, she is asked to pose as a governess in order to infiltrate cold, rambling Mandeville Hall and spy on its master, Sir Herbert Mandeville, who is at the center of a treasonous plan. Nothing at the hall is what it seems, and every turn reveals another deceit, another surprise, another peril, leaving Libby to wonder who to trust and embroiling her in a deadly affair that could destroy the young queen and place Libby herself in mortal peril. . . . "
I liked the book's fast pace and the twisty plot. Liberty Lane (how cool is her name?) is a fun, spunky heroine. Her life is irrevocably altered at her father's death, and she has no one to help her. She even points out early on that she doesn't have a future because she doesn't have the assurance of knowing where she'll wake up the next morning, or where her next meal will come from. You can't help but root for her.
Then she's asked to be a spy, which is where the book really picks up. The mystery surrounding Liberty's father's death and its ties to a pretender to the British throne kept me guessing.
Plenty of evil baddies and potential baddies, and a well-rounded cast of secondary characters. I personally prefer a bit more romance; some was hinted at in this book, but there's a sequel, A Dangerous Affair, that just came out in January. (See Katherine's review here).
I'm definitely adding the sequel to my TBR pile because A Foreign Affair is one of those books that -- while it didn't inspire fangirly raptures (just a personal preference for a bit more atmosphere and romance, like the Raybourn books) -- I can't wait to find out what happens next to Liberty Lane.
Recommended for anyone who likes historical fiction and a kick-booty heroine. It's solidly written and the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.