Wow, it’s been an incredibly busy October. I had hoped to read more, blog more, and maybe even rest more. Instead, I’ve been on several short trips and also working hard with a few student doctors as they prepare for this term’s final exams. Whew!
Still, I found time to read, after all, I am known for taking my book, otherwise known as my Nexus, everywhere I go. Fortunately, I’ve been reading some really good books that have both entertained and intrigued me. The result is I’m a little behind in writing about them, but I’m trying to catch up at the same time I don’t deprive myself of reading time.
This latest book I’m writing about is PENNY FOR YOUR SECRETS by Anna Lee Huber. This is a well written series about a couple as the Great War has come to a close and they return to their former lives, or at least attempt to do so. Of course, it wouldn’t be a book series if they were successful in just becoming members of the “bright young things” group of people who spend nights dancing and days sleeping late in recovery. Instead, Verity and Sydney keep being drawn into murder and intrigue at the request of others. Huber has an excellent way of blending murder and intrigue to heighten the interest of the reader. The book is made even more interesting and enjoyable because of the research Huber has done about women who were part of the intelligence service during the turn of the century. She has created a protagonist who is both smart and accomplished who can match wits with any man around in an age when women were still expected to “stay in their place” for the most part. Maybe that’s why I like the series so much. I do enjoy books where beauty, which Verity also has, count for less than intelligence and resolve. If I’ve piqued your interest read on for my review.
Take a little murder, add a suspicious member of some unnamed secret service, throw in an old grudge from a former collegue and you’ve got the makings of the latest novel in the Verity Kent mystery series which features Verity and her husband Sydney who is still struggling with all he saw and did during the “Great War”. This is the third book in the series, although it is a complete mystery of it’s own and can be read as a stand alone. There are some secondary characters who first appeared in earlier books and if a reader is planning to read the series, they would most likely enjoy reading them in order.
In this novel, Verity and Sydney are invited to a dinner party by one of Verity’s friends, a rather loose living woman who has now married a Marquis and is struggling to find her place. As they arrive at the party, it is clear to Verity the marriage has not grown in love and affection and her friend is flaunting her latest affair with one of the guests. Although she does not approve of her friend’s behavior, Verity is inclined to excuse much of it as she knows the struggles her friend has faced in the past. Sydney is less forgiving, and this sets up the first of a series of tensions between them.
For his part, Sydney is struggling with his memories of the war and how to move forward. As much as this pains Verity, she is unable to get him to open up and talk about all he has seen and done, which drives a small wedge between them at a time when they are still working to repair their relationship from the damage caused by secrets that were created and resolved in the first novel.
In addition to this struggle between Sydney and Verity, she learns there is a former colleague who has placed her on a list of possible insurgents, listing her activities as a spy during the war as having possibly compromised her. In truth, he and Verity loath one another, and he is using his current position to undermine her in every way he can. The head of her former department is doing what he can to erase the listing, but the ultimate outcome is not resolved.
While Verity and Sydney do discover the real murderer and, in the process, what happened to a crew from a ship that washed up during the war, the solutions leave them both dissatisfied. Sydney is still working to cope with what would today be termed survivor’s guilt while Verity becomes aware that she has a nemesis lurking in the shadows. She is convinced her nemesis is intent on causing her difficulties but she has no idea of what or why.
While the mystery itself if resolved, I would have preferred a resolution to Verity’s situation with her nemesis to have been resolved as well. I typically dislike books that have central storylines that continue from one book to the next, and this was no exception. My thanks to Kensington Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an Advanced Digital Read copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
So, now you have my thoughts, what are you waiting for? This book is newly published, so it should be on the shelves of your local bookstore or library. If it’s not, then ask them for it, get on the waiting list and find something else to entertain you while you wait. There are too many moments when you can relax with a good book not to have one handy. Happy Reading!