This is the fifth installment in the series but it can definitely be read as a standalone. I’ve only read a couple of the previous books and truthfully I never felt lost or felt like something needed explained. I think that’s always a big plus when it comes to series.
I think my favorite character here was Monique. From the moment we meet her she’s witty, composed, compassionate, and loyal. She stays true to her character even when she’s posing as her cousin, Princess Aurore of Chanay, candidate for the throne of recently independent country of Belgium. Another thing I liked about the story was the witty banter. If you’ve heard rumors this author delivers when it comes to that I assure you the rumors are completely true.
The plot in itself was engrossing from the get go. We have assassination attempts, political intrigues, family secrets, and even a love story that was considered taboo at the time. Other reviews say the plot was confusing but I didn’t find it so. However, what I did find difficult to understand was Gregory’s personality.
Gregory, or Lord Fulkham, undersecretary of state (and unofficially “spymaster”) having met Monique a few years prior, and being the one responsible for deciding who would be Belgium’s new ruler, took it upon himself to unmask Monique. At any rate, it didn’t feel he was doing it because it was the right thing to do but because it would further his own political ambitions. Also, the way he treated Monique throughout most of the story felt wrong. In truth, the more I read the more I disliked the man and made it hard for me to get why she fell in love with the guy. It wasn’t until almost the end of the book that I warmed a little to him and the romance took another light.
All that being said, I won’t deny that at times it was hard to put the book down. Even with all my nitpickin, the chemistry between the main characters felt real and the suspense was enough to keep me turning the pages.
**I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**