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Publisher's Summary

It's 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey returns to London and the shocking news his estranged elder brother, the Earl of Delvin, has not only killed his friend in a duel but become engaged to the woman he had hoped to marry.

When Alec reluctantly attends a weekend house party to celebrate his brother's engagement, he gets more than he bargained for when a lady's maid is murdered, the bride-to-be is attacked, and a guest is shot dead. Alec uncovers a connection between these sinister acts and his brother's duel. He must also confront a cruel twist of fate that explains why his brother loathes him and will go to any lengths to discredit him in Polite Society.

©2011 Lucinda Brant (P)2014 Lucinda Brant

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Well written but a little darker than I expected

The hero and heroine are both strong figures and I enjoyed their story. Story shows a very dark side of many types of people. It was well written and the narrator was very good. Just a bit too dark for me currently. I enjoyed Autumn Countess by same author. Very intelligent writing no matter historical romance or historical mystery romance.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

To be Continued...

I loved the narrator. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, although it is a bit predictable. However, it is one half a book, and very honestly ends with to be continued. The two books together are probably the same price if it had been told within the pages of one cover, so I am not suggesting that it is one of the rip-offs. But I will not get the next one, because I am irritated by the cliff hange game. The author deserves better, she has written a good story, but not good enough that I will go to the trouble of getting the next one.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • Fairmont, WV, United States
  • 02-15-16

Wonderful historical mystery!

What did you love best about Deadly Engagement?

Everything- love the storyline, character development AND Alex Wyndham's wonderful narration.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I love Alec's Uncle Plantagenet & his godmother Olivia, as well as Alec himself. All of the characters are so well done that I forget I'm listening to one person.

Have you listened to any of Alex Wyndham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but he's definitely now on my favorite narrators list!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both- I became emotionally invested in the characters. Lucinda Brant does a great job of not only tying up all the threads of the story but also throwing in humor and surprises.

Any additional comments?

I love it when you get a triple play: great author, intriguing storyline & wonderful narration. I'm hooked- please keep more Alec Halsey books coming Ms.Brant!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant novel

A brilliantly entertaining and memorable mystery novel and wonderfully narrated by the talented Alex Wyndham.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Something to get your teeth into!

Would you consider the audio edition of Deadly Engagement to be better than the print version?

Oh yes! - Alex Wyndham shall forever be my Alec Halsey.

What did you like best about this story?

The story was complex, and not just a generic plot to provide a ride for some historical romance. It was interesting, and dare I say ground breaking - discussing the topics of the day. I was enthralled and since I haven't been able to buy book two yet turned around and started it again from the beginning...

Which character – as performed by Alex Wyndham – was your favorite?

Alec Halsey...

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, very much so. Actually had to drive around the block a few times when I got home at night from work because I couldn't leave it in mid scene!

Any additional comments?

Love love love this author, and this narrator - a delicious match made in audible heaven!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A perfect mixture of mystery, romance, and history

I adored this book. Lucinda Brant mixes a complex, layered story with her impeccable research into the Georgian period. Alex Wyndham is a superb narrator with the talent to create varied and distinguishable voices for both men and women. This one will keep you guessing until the end.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Could have done without the whining females

I wanted to like the new "Alec Halsey" book, but alas no. While the two males, Michael and his brother, had strong identities, Selena and Emily were too much professional victims. I couldn't see why either brother would be attracted to them. The women were so annoying that after a while, I just fast-forwarded through their scenes.

After recently reading Ashley Gardner's "CAPT Lacey" series, C.S. Harris' "Sebastian St. Cyr" series, and Robert McCammon's "Matthew Corbett" series, the Alec Halsey series just didn't come up to par. I'll pass on Brant's next Alec Halsey novel.

29 of 37 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Review by Rakes & Rascals, Booktalk with Eileen

Any additional comments?

Carol: Deadly Engagement was a real departure for me because it is essentially a historical mystery with romantic elements rather than a historical romance. Having read/listened to several books in Lucinda Brant’s Roxton series, which I absolutely loved, it didn’t take much for my friends to persuade me that I should read this series. What were your initial thoughts, Eileen?

Eileen: Initially? I, once again, marveled at the suave, polished and refine voice Alex Wyndham uses to narrate. The use of his voice in its various nuances clues the listener into the internal conflicts of each of the characters. He propels the mysterious and suspenseful storyline forward with such vigor, a listener cannot stop listening.

Alec has quite a mix of emotions rolling inside himself. He thinks he loves Emily. He thinks he’s gotten over Selina. He thinks he can handle the duplicity of his elder brother, Edward. He thinks he can unravel who killed his friend Jack, for he is sure he was set up. He is confused, mystified and ultimately scared to death! I totally get into a mystery, Carol. It must come from all the Nancy Drew books I read as a young girl!

Carol: I totally agree with you about Alex Wyndham’s brilliant narration. I felt as if I was listening to a radio play performed by several actors instead of just one person and he gives each character a distinctive and easily identifiable voice. He seems to live and breathe every character and perfectly captures the personalities of each one. Listening to his superb performance definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the book.

Alec is a wonderful hero – handsome, intelligent and honourable. He had an unconventional upbringing with his rabble-rousing Uncle Plantagenet and, therefore has a very different outlook on life to his peers. What I really like about him is that he is his own man. He likes his life as it is and has no desire to be the Earl of Delvin. Whatever he achieves it is on his own merit.

I enjoyed the romantic elements simmering in the background and poor Alec certainly goes through the emotional wringer. I was happy to see him rekindling his feelings for Selina but was somewhat disappointed that matters between them remained unresolved. I’m hopeful of a happy ending later in the series.

Eileen: I’ve got to say it, pure and simple. I so disliked Edward Delvin. He is quite the devil, although dressed in proper attire as Earl. The man is extremely astute—additionally, he’s a conniving creep! Talk about a man who will do anything to gain more prestige and status. Ugh! I particularly didn’t like his little trick of using people against each other and going out of his way to take as much happiness from Alec as possible. He plays Lady Charlotte, getting her to do part of his dirty work. Frankly, her idea of appearing so terribly proper is offensive. Carol, do I make myself clear??!!

I’ve got to know what you think of Simon Tremarton and Lady Gervais. What about Plantagenet Halsey? This man was a balm to my nerves! He supported women and truth.

Carol: We both agree about Edward Delvin. I thoroughly detested that self-serving man. I hated how he called Alec “second” in that sneering way and how he manipulated the scene in Selina’s bedroom knowing just what Alec would believe (I loved Selina’s method of revenge!). Oh yes, Lady Charlotte. A real viper with an acid tongue!

I think Alec’s friend Sir Cosmo described Simon Tremarton perfectly – an opportunistic weasel and the polite word for the voluptuous Lady Gervais is promiscuous. What about that scene where Lady Gervais and her husband argue and then have anger-fueled sex?

Eileen: Nodding with complete agreement.

Carol: I love Plantagenet Halsey…such an outrageous character who is not afraid to voice exactly what he thinks. He obviously cares very much for his nephew and do I detect a potential romance between the old curmudgeon and The Duchess of Romney St. Neots?

Eileen Yes, Plantagenet had simply a hard outer surface, but sweet and sincere to his core. I’m eager to see if The Duchess will find the honey within the lemon!

There were lots of characters in this story. Usually, I have difficulty keeping them apart, but the author did a fabulous job giving them each their own distinctive personality. In doing so, it also gives more depth to the mystery. More characters, more possibilities of who is culpable.

Was there any one point you told yourself, you had figured out what was going on? On my part, I kept hitting surprise after surprise in the many twists this story takes. Just when I think I have a pulse on the mystery another layer of intrigue is exposed.

Carol: I agree, despite there being a large number of characters, they were all so well-drawn, each with distinctive traits. They all added depth to the story and, as you say, provided a wide choice of potential suspects. I thought the mystery was so well-plotted and the twists and turns certainly kept me guessing as to the identity of the culprit and the motive. I also like how Ms Brant explored the darker side of Georgian society within the context of the story.

Eileen: I enjoyed the part of Tam, the young self-appointed valet to Alec. For a young man, he has seen much cruelty of the world, yet has a compassion to help the weak. He experiences the wickedness of those who connive and realizes noblemen who do wrong, very often go unpunished.

Sir Cosmo, a very good friend of Alec, is a very earnest and sincere young man. A most likeable character. He’s speaks what we are all think. I love when he speaks of the physique of a male. “Who wouldn’t prefer a stallion to an ass!”,

Carol: I thought Tam was an interesting character with his apothecary skills. He’s honest and it infuriated me to see him suspected of a murder he didn’t commit simply because of who he is. Unfortunately, that’s how most of society treated their servants. So I enjoyed the scene where the reform-minded Plantagenet Halsey lambastes Lord Gervais who objects to seeing Tam drinking coffee in the same room. When we discover the identity of Tam’s father, it was quite a shock.

I very much liked the rather corpulent Sir Cosmo. As you say, he is a man who speaks plainly and provides some delightful humour with the things he says. At the same time, he is a good and decent man and a true friend to Alec even when it means telling Alec some hard truths where Selina is concerned.

Eileen: So all in all, we both agree. This story was superb. I’m ready to listen to book 2 of the series. I can’t possibly leave the threads hanging nor leave what Ms. Brant has in store for the characters. She really knows how to gather her listeners and engage them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent!

I listen to a LOT of audio books while driving and lately had found myself bored with my selections. Happened across this title on a "first in series" promotion and I LOVE it!! The writing is smart, witty, passionate .... did I say smart? The narrator is perfect for this book. Mr. Wyndham is talented in giving personality to the different characters, both men and women. The plot just draws you in, layer upon layer. There is romance and passion, but it is a mystery and an excellent one. You have to pay attention to this book. Thanks to the reviewer who shared that there is a Pinterest page for this book which shows pictures of items from this time .... clothing, an apothecary set, etc.!! Search "Lucinda Brant Author". How fun is that?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good Short story

Although I found that the story ended somewhat abruptly, I did enjoy it while it lasted.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Caz
  • 03-14-15

Entertaining story - Superb narration

It took me no more than five minutes of listening to this to know that in Alex Wyndham, Lucinda Brant had found the perfect narrator for her story. Alec Halsey is a terrific hero – handsome, urbane, intelligent and deeply honourable, a man whose birth is shrouded in mystery but who is secure in the knowledge that he is his own man, and Mr Wyndham's interpretation of him is nigh-on perfect.

As this is a mystery, I won't say much about the plot, other than it's very well thought-out and executed, with plenty of twists, turns and red herrings along the way. Ms Brant kept me guessing as to the identity and motives of the villain right up until the last possible moment. The romance between Alec and his old flame, Selina is fairly low-key, as that’s not the main focus of the book, but it bubbles along in tandem with the mystery in a satisfying manner. It’s a minor niggle that things are left unresolved between the couple at the end, but then I suppose there had to be something left for the next book in the series!

The author has clearly researched the period thoroughly and her attention to the historical detail really brings the story to life; this isn’t just a “wallpaper” historical, or a modern mystery featuring people in frock-coats and powdered wigs. She confronts some of the seedier sides of life in her stories, but does it in a manner that feels believable and isn’t at all salacious or sensationalist.

Ms Brant has obviously done her homework when it comes to narrators, too, because she’s found a real gem in Alex Wyndham. I’ve listened to many self-published audiobooks which have been let down by the poor choice of narrator, but fortunately, she seems to have taken a leaf out of Laura Kinsale’s book and spent a lot of time listening carefully before making her final choice.

I believe Mr Wyndham will be recording the next book in the series, and I'm certainly going to be listening to it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Card
  • 01-13-18

Brilliant!

Fascinating! I hadn't listened to a period whodunit before and it made quite a refreshing change from the usual romantic bodice-rippers in this genre. Nicely described characters, as usual; beautifully read, as usual and a good story, why wouldn't you want to listen to it?!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Csilla
  • 05-03-16

Entertaining story, good character portrayal

What did you like most about Deadly Engagement?

The Georgian atmosphere created through description of places, clothing, customs gives an air of authenticity to the story.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked how the character of Alec Halsey was unfolded slowly to the listener from the point of view of different participants in the story, and through his actions. I was a bit puzzled during an important part of the story trying to answer the question if he was really a rake or he had only been labled as one by the society. And this added extra tension to the twists and turns in the story.

Have you listened to any of Alex Wyndham’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This was the first time I heard Alex Wyndham narrating an audiobook. He did a great job with this book. He has a warm voice, clear pronounciation and dynamic storytelling that made listening to this audiobook a pleasant experience.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There are some excentric characters well "portayed" by the narrator that made me laugh.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mairi
  • 11-09-15

This was a find.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book, not what I expected. Looking forward to the next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs L Davis
  • 10-12-15

Loved every second, Lucinda Brant does it again!!

Would you consider the audio edition of Deadly Engagement to be better than the print version?

I loved this book! I'm quite new to audible and usually read books on Kindle. However, with a stressful and tiring job, I decided to give the audio version a go. I'm now completely hooked!Lucinda Brant is an author I'm familiar with as I've read her Roxton series, Salt Bride and Salt Redux. Alex Wyndham narrates this book perfectly,Another winner from Lucinda Brant, kept me guessing to the end. I would say that audible version is as good as the book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character was Selina. A strong woman who even after 6 years of extreme unhappiness, comes through with strength and dignity.I don't give the story away in reviews but I will say it's a mystery set in Georgian England. There are lots of twists and turns and the ending was a surprise.

What about Alex Wyndham’s performance did you like?

Alex Wyndham's voice characterization is perfect! Just as I would have imagined them myself. He really acts out the book. A very talented actor.

Any additional comments?

I would highly recommend this book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-25-15

Wonderful

Brilliant narrator. Really enjoyed the book. looking forward to the next instalment. a b c

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • DragonRose UK
  • 08-02-15

Enthralling

If you could sum up Deadly Engagement in three words, what would they be?

Exciting, Intriguing, Captivating.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Deadly Engagement?

The most memorable moment was when we found out who was behind the terrible things that had happened throughout the book.

Have you listened to any of Alex Wyndham’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I haven't, but of course I have seen his work as an actor. His amazing acting prowess is what makes him a perfect narrator. His voice characterisation is the best I have heard by far in any audio book.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This story is quite an emotional one, there were scenes that had me wanting to cry for the character involve, especially Selena. There were light moments too, and of course the desperate feeling of frustration wanting to know who the 'bad guy' was. If I was reading the book have been tempted to jump to the last page. Just tempted though, I wouldn't have done it.

Any additional comments?

Lucinda Brant is a very talented author, and to have this book read by the equally talented actor Alex Wyndham makes for the perfect audio book. It was a delight to listen to this story, and I will definitely be buying the sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful