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
I really enjoyed this one, too! Wonderful review, as always!
I was glad to finally read it!
I have been a fan of Amanda Quick (no matter what name she writes under) since I was in high school. I really enjoy her historical romance books and look forward to when she has a new book coming out.
Thanks so much for the wonderful review!
Oh me too, i first fell in love with Quick historicals.
I haven’t read her under either name. I am pretty sure we have some of her books around here somewhere though. This one sounds like a good almost cozy mystery with a “heated” romance. I used to read tons of historical romances years ago-now only occasionally, but I am glad this one was a good one for you 🙂
That would be an adapt description. I adore this author 🙂
I think I’d like an historical romance wrapped around a mystery, Kimberly, and I’ve yet to read Amanda Quick. I’m glad the mystery provided twists and the romance was so well done. I’ll have to check Quick out sometime. 🙂
She writes such fun characters Brandee 🙂
I read books by the author some years back. For some reasons (I don´t know exactly why I stopped) I have not read any of her books during the past few years … weather under her Quick name nor as Krentz or the other (can´t remember that one). Maybe that should change and this one sounds good – guess that goes on my tbr *smile*
thanks for the review and
Vi @Gone With The Books
I read all of her books. They are auto-buys for me despite the fact it sometimes takes me a year to begin them..LOL #bookaddictproblems
This sounds like something I might enjoy! I do think I’d like her Amanda Quick books best since I like historical. 🙂
I hope you pick it up. Most libraries carry all of her books 🙂
I love Amanda Quick/ Jayne Ann Krentz! I haven’t read this one yet, but it is definitely on my TBR list.
Yay..glad you love them too. I read all of her books, under all of her names and love how some crossover. It is nice to read these standalones 🙂
The Bibliophile Babe
Dark and dangerous, with a mystery murder? Yes, please!
Right..my kind of fun 🙂
I enjoyed Garden of the Lies, though, I have to admit that some bits did indeed feel familiar! It’s my first Amanda Quick novel and it made me a fan 😀
If you had read all of her books by all of her names, the familiarity came from another novel of hers..slightly different but same concept reused.
“The mystery offered twists and turns creating danger for both characters” — recipe for a great novel. Thanks for the post.
I agree Angela
Glad to hear this proved to be a good escape; Sometimes we are in the mood to settle in with a story that is formulaic and expected. 🙂 I haven’t read one of her books in a while- but this does sound good. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Exactly and her characters are always ones I connect with and enjoy!
I love it when there’s a mystery to go with romance, and sometimes, those in a historical setting appeal to me even more. I think I’ll give this one a try, because it sounds like the main character will have to deal with several different things at the same time 🙂 Great review, Kim.
It is a standalone too!
I like her JAK books but I’m not much into historical or mystery.
I love all of her books, even the futuristic paranormal ones..lol
I do like her books
You have excellent taste Linda!
I’d want to read this for the cover alone. Add in that this is Krentz and a historical mystery and I’m definitely sold. I do enjoy the formulaic-ness of Krentz/Quick’s writing. I’ve heard her books described as candy bars and I think that describes it perfectly. Great review!
Yes..candy bars is a wonderful description..very satisfying
There’s something about historical mystery that’s so exciting right? They don’t have our technology and rely on their reason an cleverness it’s impressive.
Can the books be read as standalone or is this a standalone?
Agreed Braine. I have fun reading them 🙂
It’s nice to see that the mystery was well done and that the romance was sweet too! that’s what we want for a book like that!
Exactly Melliane 🙂
I am always up for a good mystery with a romance blended in!
and a standalone!
I’ve never read any of this authors books (under any name), but I’ve seen a few that look good. This one looks good too and I like those quotes! 🙂
Glad you like the quotes and hope you try her.
I visit your page because I love it and every time I add books or buy books….you’re dangerous to my book budget! Hehehehe! Great review as always Kim!
Sorry *giggles* Ok not sorry especially if you end up loving them
Not read this author, but this sounds good. I like it when any genre puts a bit of mystery into them. 🙂
I think you would like this, since mysteries are something you enjoy
I like that this was a historic wrapped in a mystery. Great review Kim!
Me too Ali. I hope you get to try this 🙂
I am a fan of Jayne Ann Krentz, but have never ventured into the world of her alter egos. This one sounds fun…and what a gorgeous cover! Thanks for sharing.
Quick is historical and Castle is futuristic. Have you read the ARCANE SOCIETY books? Those begin with Second Sight by Amanda Quick and feature books by all three names.
I don’t think I’ve read any of her books before. Glad you liked this one.
I hope you get a chance too Lekeisha, I love this author
You know how I am with hilarious interactions between characters! 😀 Sometimes formulaic is exactly what I crave. And this one has a murder mystery and a romance, so I’m in. I’ve never read a book from her, but I’m definitely curious!
Lovely review, Kim! 🙂
Oh we totally need to fix that…I adore this author!! Her characters are always such fun and the banter between Slater and Ursula is one you will enjoy!
This I’ve gotta get. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
Enjoy Anna! I always have a good time losing myself in her stories
I’m always on board for a dark, dangerous hero Kim, so clearly I need to give this author a try! Yay for twists and turns too, those always make me happy (in a mystery situation, not so much in a YA epic cliffhanger situation). Thanks for the recommendation!
and this is a standalone Jenny!
Tyler H. Jolley
While romance stories aren’t usually my thing, Krentz has such a way to weave in mystery and/or sci-fi that it draws me in and holds my attention. Great review, as usual, Kim!
Tyler H. Jolley
Lol, Quick. I meant Quick. This is what I get for reading blogs before my morning caffeine.
psst..Quick is Krentz..it is all good!
Tyler H. Jolley
Lol, no wonder I was so confused! But the lack of caffeine really didn’t help my situation.
Wow, 40 consecutive bestsellers! That’s an achievement, to be sure… I like the sound of Ursula and Slater, and I especially like that the story seems to spread across several different genres, which is always interesting. A thoughtful and well written review 🙂
They were fun characters Romona 🙂
Oh, I really need to get busy and read her Amanda Quick books. I’ve read a couple of her JAK’s. This sounds fun. Maybe I’ll start with it. You are a temptress. 🙂
and it is a standalone..so perfect to start with 🙂