by Amanda Quick
Genres: Historical Romance, Mystery
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The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern’s employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end—and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes. Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. Nevertheless, he seems sensible enough to Ursula, though she does find herself unnerved by his self-possession and unreadable green-gold eyes… If this mysterious widowed beauty insists on stirring the pot, Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the dark side of polite society. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer—and to achieve their goal they may need to reveal their deepest secrets to each other as well…
Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick offered up a historical romance wrapped in a murder mystery filled with twist, turns and plenty of heat.
Ursula Kern owns the Kern Secretarial Agency in London. Her business has earned a reputation as both reliable and professional. When Anne Clifton one of her most dependable secretaries is found dead of an apparent suicide Ursula believes foul play to be involved. Left with some clues, Ursula plans to take over Anne’s duties to a wealthy client, but to do so; she must take a leave of absences from her current position with the eccentric Slater Roxton. He of course demands an explanation and thinking to seek his advice she confesses her plans. Ursula soon finds herself with a partner and the tale that unfolds leads them into danger and an unexpected courtship.
Amanda Quick tends to be a formulaic writer and it is one of the things I actually like about her. Each book features a strong heroine and a dark, dangerous hero. She then weaves this couple into a mystery creating all the elements I love in romantic suspense. Garden of Lies was no exception. Ursula is strong, independent and quick-witted. Slater Roxton is a bit of a mystery and rumors in the rags will have you giggling. This green-eyed archeologist had me swooning from his James Bond skills to the passionate way he looked at Ursula.
The mystery offered twists and turns creating danger for both characters. I loved the secondary characters, particularly Griffin, Slater’s driver and his staff. Although I yearned for more details. The villains and suspects were colorful and the places we traveled ramped up the suspense. The link between the clues Ursula found and the mystery were clever, despite feeling disappointingly familiar.
The romance had a delicious amount of heat, and felt genuine. I found the banter between Ursula and Slater heartwarming. At times hilarious their interactions were hilarious and I found myself grinning. We do see some bumps in the relationship as Slater and Ursula go through some growing pains. Quick gave us their back-stories, weaving them into the tale and it allowed me to connect. I would like another book based solely on Slater Roxton and his past. It sounds like it was quite the adventure.
Garden of Lies delivered a heated romance wrapped in a clever mystery. It offered me just the escape I was looking for.
Quotes from Garden of Lies
“We are respectable females. Of course we have delicate sensibilities.” “No, Matty, what professional secretaries must possess in abundance are the qualities of intelligence, common sense and a willingness to do whatever is required to extricate one’s person from potentially outrageous situations before they become outrageous. There are no knights in shining armor hanging about waiting to rescue us. We must deal with the world on our own. Which is, of course, why I make certain that all of my secretaries wear hats with large, sturdy hatpins.” -Ursula, from Garden of Lies
“Mr. Roxton is not mad.” Ursula reflected briefly. “A trifle eccentric, perhaps, but I’m quite sure he isn’t mad. I think it’s safe to say there’s nothing wrong with his nerves, either.”-Ursula, Garden of Lies