Having just finished and enjoyed And Only to Deceive, I thought I'd pick up another Victorian-era book; I was already in late 1800's London, so why not?
Because I read these two books back-to-back, a bit of comparison was inevitable. But really, the only thing that stood out for me was voice. Georgia's voice, in The Counterfeit Lady felt more modern, even though the author takes care with all the details. This was a less atmospheric read for me than And Only to Deceive.
Having said that, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. I really like all the main characters: Georgia, the Duke of Blackford, Emma, Phyllida, - all of them. The Archivist Society sort of feels like one of those crime-fighting superpower cabals; only, you know, without any superpowers.
This time out it's all about a kind-of-sort-of locked room murder and the blueprints for a naval war ship gone missing. French, Germans and Russians, oh my! Everyone is scrambling to find the plans and Her Majesty's government requests the assistance of the Archivist Society. The hook: Georgia has to play the part of a wealthy widow having an affair with the Duke of Blackford, of course! It's an obvious device for anyone who read the first book, but I don't care - I wasn't looking forward to book after book of "will-they-or-won't-they". At least this way the reader gets some satisfaction from the romantic sub-plot.
The actual plot: who killed Clara?, who stole the blueprints?, who has them now? was good. In the end it's almost impossible not to have guessed who the bad guy was and be wrong, but not because it's badly written. I'll say no more about it, but if you read the book, you'll know what I mean.
I hope this series continues - I'm looking forward to book 3 and more adventures with the Archivist Society.