In my continuing efforts to try to get a bit of a mystery/romance series similar to the Lady Julia Grey Series, I've pressed onward with Lady Emily. But... let me tell you, these books are just not doing it for me. So, this may be my last read in this series for awhile. Who knows? I may change my mind. In this book, Emily has another mystery to solve related to the death of a gentleman - David Francis. But, the mysteries within this series are very complex to the point, one doesn't really care about who committed the crime. No, there's so much extraneous stuff going on, one gets caught up within the mysteries within the mystery.
For example, Lady Emily has a follower who keeps breaking into her home and leaving her nice little bits of jewelry, letters, notes, flowers and so forth. Is this person a villain? Not sure, because someone is definitely trying to do her harm. She also has a supposedly descendant of the Dauphin, Charles Berry, who is setting himself up to be the next Monarch of France and wants her to be his mistress - he's a total jerk. And, there's her sweet little friend, Isabelle, whose mama is setting Isabelle up to be the wife of this future wanna be King. Isabelle's in love with another man who just won't seem to step up to the plate even though Emily does her best to interfere and get them together.
Then Emily's good friend, Ivy, is having issues in her marriage with Robert. Again, Emily interferes to the best of her ability, but Emily has major difficulties of her own. It seems her reputation is in serious trouble because folks are accusing her of having a liaison with her long time friend, Jeremy Sheffield, Duke of Bainbridge, which of course isn't true. In fact she's set Jeremy and her friend Margaret up with a fake relationship so they can be free from the matchmakers during the social season. Emily's mother continues to drive Emily nuts, there's problems with Emily's staff - someone among her servants is being disloyal, Emily's trying to get a gentleman to donate a work of art to the museum, there's a very manipulative gent named Lord Fortesque, Queen Victoria's chief advisor who causes a bit of torment and so forth and so on.
So, there are many mysteries to solve. See, you've forgotten about the dead man haven't you - what was his name? Oh yes, David Francis. Well, that's because he's really easy to forget because next to all the other stuff going on, he just isn't all that important. In fact, the only reason he's important is his wife's maid will hang for his murder if it isn't all figured out and of course, I didn't want that. But, I didn't really care about David Francis - after all he was dead and there was just too much other stuff going on.
Oh, wait a minute - I forgot to mention our Main Guy, Colin Hargreaves, who continues to do his thing in service to the Crown, all the while refusing to even give Emily one single, solitary kiss - no sirree, lest he get carried away, you see, and treat her in a manner that wouldn't befit her ladyish standing. No kisses until she agrees to marry him.
**Spoiler** I hated it that Colin was hanging out with the Marlborough Crowd, along with Charles Berry, who was apparently continually talking with the other gents about how and why he wanted Lady Emily and his plans for her as his mistress - can you imagine the nasty comments? Colin listens to this garbage continually being dumped out and doesn't say or do anything about Berry's foul mouth, later explaining to Emily that he has a role to play during these meetings and of course he mustn't disrupt that role (he's a spy). There again, can't help comparing him to Nicholas Brisbane from the Lady Julia Grey books. Boy, oh boy, Nicholas would have taken care of Berry. Sorry, but I digress.
Anyway, I'm about to change this to a three star review here if I'm not careful. In fact, these books are better than a lot of others out there if you don't mind all the plotting within a plot. I thought I had a mind that could keep a fairly good grasp on all the maneuverings, but there's way too much going on here for me to truly enjoy the characters. I'm moving on - I understand Joanna Bourne has a new book in her Spymasters' series.