Til Death Do Us Part
By Amanda Quick
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introductions” service out of her home in Victorian London. She holds salons to introduce eligible gentlemen and ladies, who’re vetted by her younger brother, Andrew.
One of her clients, Eudora Hastings, has a two brothers who are very protective. One of them, Trent Hastings, is a popular detective novelist. He visits Calista because he’s suspicious about whether her salons are a scheme to take advantage of Eudora. He and his sister both bear emotional scars from a confrontation with their brutal stepfather before his death, and both are stuck in rut because of it, Trent because he feels he failed to protect his sister and Eudora because Trent bears extensive physical scars from acid their stepfather threw.
Trent arrives at Calista’s home as she’s trying to convince a former suitor, a man who rejected her for her lack of fortune and is now married, that she has no interest in a liaison of any kind. While Trent’s arrival helps speed the former suitor’s departure, he and Calista don’t get along. They are intrigued by each other, but his suspicions and her irritation over them make for a prickly meeting. When they part, she expects never to see him again.
Unfortunately, Calista has attracted the attention of a stalker who sends her gifts suitable for those in mourning and has even sneaked into the house to leave one in her bedroom. She finds such a gift in the cab she takes after a confrontation with her former suitor. The driver admits he was instructed to pick her up but cannot identify the person who hired him.
When Calista arrives home, shaken by this episode, Trent is waiting. He has come to tell her he won’t stand in his sister’s way. Eudora has convinced him Calista’s service is honest and respectable. In addition, he can see the positive changes going to Calista’s salons have produced in Eudora. Trent sees the latest gift and apologizes for intruding on a family in mourning. Calista explains about the gifts, and her distress becomes evident. Infuriated but trying to hide it, Trent insists he will help her investigate.
The chemistry between Trent and Calista is immediate, and they make an effective team. Andrew and Eudora soon join the investigation. Trent and Eudora’s brother, Harry, provides insights with the “new” science of psychology. The hunt for the truth takes Trent and Calista across Victorian London. Krentz adeptly weaves customs of the time into their investigation. As it proceeds, the danger increases, and the attraction between Trent and Calista escalates.
An excellent combination of romance and suspense, the story builds to a tense confrontation that ties together the various threads of the plot. The characters are sympathetic and well drawn, and the story moves at a good pace. My only quibble is that the romantic conflict could be a bit more prominent.
~ Nancy Northcott