A Washington Post Best Mystery Novel of 2023
A high society amateur detective at the heart of Regency London uses her wits and invisibility as an ‘old maid’ to protect other women in a new and fiercely feminist historical mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman.
Lady Augusta Colebrook, “Gus,” is determinedly unmarried, bored by society life, and tired of being dismissed at the age of forty-two. She and her twin sister, Julia, who is grieving her dead betrothed, need a distraction. One soon presents itself: to rescue their friend’s goddaughter, Caroline, from her violent husband.
The sisters set out to Caroline’s country estate with a plan, but their carriage is accosted by a highwayman. In the scuffle, Gus accidentally shoots and injures the ruffian, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, an acquaintance from their past who was charged with murder and exiled to Australia twenty years ago. What follows is a high adventure full of danger, clever improvisation, heart-racing near misses, and a little help from a revived and rather charming Lord Evan.
Back in London, Gus can’t stop thinking about her unlikely (not to mention handsome) comrade-in-arms. She is convinced Lord Evan was falsely accused of murder, and she is going to prove it. She persuades Julia to join her in a quest to help Lord Evan, and others in need—society be damned! And so begins the beguiling secret life and adventures of the Colebrook twins.
In her delicious latest slice of historical genre fare, Goodman (the Lady Helen novels) introduces readers to Lady Augusta "Gus" Colebrook and her twin sister, Julia, two strong-willed Regency-era spinsters who wield their age and station to liberate struggling women in London. Hoping to distract a grieving Julia after her fiancé's death, Lady Gus volunteers to retrieve compromising letters from a blackmailer as a favor for a friend. But what begins as a lark soon becomes a serious plot to aid women in trouble who have no other recourse, including a wife trying to escape her murderous husband, some girls kidnapped by a brothel, and a group of women unjustly committed to a madhouse. With the help of their loyal, quick-witted butler and a disgraced nobleman turned highwayman, Lady Gus and Julia risk their lives and reputations to solve cases and save women from bleak fates. Fierce, funny, and often dark, this is an eye-opening portrait of a colorful yet misogynistic period in English history. Readers will be eager to return for the duo's next adventure.
Very enjoyable to read. Nice to get insight into that time period. The characters are well done. I felt like I got to “know” them.
Fresh engaging reinterpretation of the Regency Romance
Loved this adventure romance set in the Regency era and featuring relatable characters. Realistic but also a completely new take on old tropes