Title: The Mystery Woman
Series: Ladies of Lantern Street, Book 2
Author: Amanda Quick
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Sensuality Rating: Sensual
Source: unsolicited review copy
Published: April 23, 2013 by Putnam
Beatrice Lockwood, one of the intrepid ladies of Lantern Street, is in the middle of a case when her past comes back to haunt her. Joshua North, a former spy for the Crown, has come out of a self-imposed retirement after a disastrous case that left him scarred and forced to use a cane. He is hunting the villain who is blackmailing his sister.
The trail leads him to Beatrice who is his chief suspect. But when he realizes that she is not the blackmailer they set out to find the real extortionist. Passion flares between them as they dodge a professional assassin. Meanwhile a mysterious scientist intent on resurrecting his dead lover using an ancient Egyptian formula for preserving the bodies of the dead is also hunting Beatrice. He is keeping his dead love perfectly preserved in a special, crystal-topped sarcophagus filled with the special fluid. But he needs Beatrice's paranormal talent to activate the reviving properties of the preservative in the coffin. Time is running out for everyone involved.
The two cases collide at a mysterious country-house filled with artifacts from ancient Egyptian tombs. The drama concludes in the mad scientist's laboratory where Joshua discovers that the past he thought was dead is still very much alive -- sort of.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Classic Amanda Quick historical novel with paranormal elements that I enjoyed, though don’t want to reread.
The Set Up: Beatrice is a psychic private investigator and in the middle of a case when a retired spy, Joshua, confronts her thinking she’s blackmailing his sister. A killer from Beatrice’s past has set the two up so they join forces against a mad scientist who is trying to raise the dead. As the two investigate this case and stay alive, their attraction grows.
Why I Read this Book: Amanda Quick is one of my early romance authors and I return to her new books every now and again as they’re uncomplicated, know-what-you-get reads.
What I Liked: I like the maturity of Bea and Joshua’s romance. They have enough romantic tension to keep it interesting but this tension doesn’t rely on big misunderstandings like so many historical romances. I like that Bea takes responsibility for her feelings, sexual and romantic, for Joshua and that he isn’t a caveman about his desires. I wouldn’t say this is an incredibly complicated or intriguing romance but it’s enjoyable enough.
What I Also Liked: I like the new historical novel with paranormal twists that Quick is writing. Victorian England is a perfect setting for a mix of paranormal science and I enjoyed that part of the book.
I also like the Ladies of Lantern Street. The book alludes that the owners/operators of this private investigation company are an older lesbian couple who treat their PI employees like family. I love the gentle message that women can run a company like this in Victorian times and employ women who need family and a support network. Sure, it’s fiction and I know that it’s unlikely this could ever be real but I like to imagine it was in Victorian England.
Finally, I liked the plot of the mad scientists. He was creepy but not too sinister that I worried Bea and/or Josh was in too much danger. The ending was pretty much what I expected but it was a little adventure getting there that I enjoyed well enough.
What I Didn’t Like: I forget how flowery Quick’s writing is, especially in the bedroom. She writes descriptions like “he had tumbled into a surging, seething sea of raw energy.” The language of love here is PG-13 enough to make me giggle like a middle school student reading the naughty parts of a library book.
IMO: This classic Amanda Quick novel was a good enough read, though not stellar, and is exactly what I expect from the author.