And now for something completely different… my turn at reading a historical fiction page turner– the trade pb of A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock. I’m not a big fan of mystery series with the notable exception of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries. I’m a sucker for all things Egyptian and her Victorian heroine Amelia is my kind of woman– brilliant, funny, totally head-over-heels in love without all the gooeyness, and loves everything having to do with the Pharaonic period. She’s treated as an equal by her husband and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. But my love for Amelia aside, I’ve finally found another heroine who just might lure me into her world for a couple of books– Liberty Lane.
It is 1837 and young Queen Victoria has just ascended to the throne. In the midst of this national excitement, we meet 22 year old Liberty Lane. She is an extremely self-possessed young woman determined to find her father’s murderer and restore his good name. Along the way, Liberty finds herself embroiled in political intrique so serious that England’s stability hinges on her success. Liberty is intelligent, capable, heroic, and completely unaware of her own attractiveness– all features that serve her well whe she is contacted by the mysterious ‘man in black’ asked to pose as a governess at Mandeville Hall to spy on its master, Lord Herbert Mandeville.
Peacock adds to this mixture Liberty’s fondness for a thoroughbred racehorse, her unusual friendships with a Hereford horse trainer named Amos Legge, and Daniel Suter, a musician friend of her dead father’s. Nothing in Liberty’s world is quite what it seems, and as she seeks to regain her bearings and bring her father’s killer to justice her strength and intelligence become increasingly apparent. She’s the kind of heroine you want to join you for a glass of wine or a cup of tea so you can hear more about her adventures.
Needless to say I’m looking forward to the next Liberty Lane installment, A Dangerous Affair. British readers know that Peacock has published these same first two books under different names in the UK. Avon (a Harper Collins imprint) has the US rights and is publishing them with ‘series’ titles (A Foreign Affair, A Dangerous Affair).