Hello world! I hope this week has started in the best possible way! I am waiting to know what my working schedule would be on Christmas day, and I am growing tired of waiting for it, but that aside, all is going well! And so today I am back with a new review!
Thank you to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Innkeeper’s Daughter
Series: The Gentleman Spy Mysteries #1
Author: Bianca M. Schwarz
Expected Publication Date: January 12th, 2021
Page Count: 384
Well-researched, gritty and terribly romantic, The Innkeeper’s Daughter is the first in a darkly entertaining historical romance mystery series set in Regency London, complete with a beautiful girl in peril, a flawed gentleman spy, a nasty pimp, and a sinister hell-fire club with deadly secrets.
In the twilight of a November evening, Sir Henry, a man of wealth and charm, comes across a badly beaten Eliza, desperate to escape her cruel stepfather. Realizing she has nowhere to go, Sir Henry takes her to his home in Mayfair.
There, as she recovers, Henry introduces the lovely Eliza to a world of art and literature she never knew existed. But Eliza’s brutal world follows her to London, where the salons of the aristocratic elite co-exist with the back alleys of the criminal underworld.
Thankfully, Henry, a secret agent to the crown, is able and willing to deal with the man Eliza’s stepfather had sold her to, and the pimp who plans to enslave her.
As romance blossoms between them, Eliza unearths an old secret that leads them into the dark sadistic world of sex trafficking, and finally allows Henry to identify the traitor responsible for selling military secrets to the French, causing the death of thousands.
A natural at the spy game, Eliza proves herself a worthy partner in their fight for truth and justice. But with time running out, and the fate of one girl hanging in the balance, Henry and Eliza must find a way to outwit a nasty pimp and eliminate a dangerous enemy agent.
I am sorry, but I need to vent. At least a bit. But mind me, I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t so bad, and I liked Henry and Eliza. They are such a nice pair! And Henry is a hell of a character. He is one of the most caring and attentive and thoughtful men ever! It was a nice change, and I enjoyed it a lot.
But to truly enjoy this book you need to suspend your disbelief. Quite a lot.
We have Eliza, our MC, and damsel in distress. She is not a noblewoman, she was raised in an inn and till her father was alive, the inn was quite a respectable place to grow up in, but once her father died and her stepfather stepped in, all went to hell. Quite literally. So she is not the pure dove, completely naive and unknown of the ways of the world. But she is quite sheltered, in some ways, and not yet shrewd (if I can say so) and yet… Yet in her relationship with Henry, there are quite some… Strange things, things that sound a bit not quite right.
For example, she is talking with Sir Henry (who, don’t forget it, is a man of a higher station. He is a nobleman) and she said something on the line of “I want that bastard to pay”. This is not a literal quote, it is just the gist of it, but she say “bastard” while speaking with him, without a trace of embarrassment or any trace of apology. And maybe this is a thing that I am misjudging, being English not my first language and being the curses and cussing a very cultural thing. But I think that this wasn’t really the way between a woman of the lower station and a man of the higher one. Even if they are quite informal.
And there are a lot of things like that. Mainly, they talk a lot about sex and things related to it without any hint or trace of discomfort or embarrassment. And on one hand, it was even refreshing because we have a scene in which, for example, Eliza and Henry talk about her period. And it was glorious. Really. But this kind of brazenness is, sadly, hard to find even in the present days, let alone in the past. On one hand, as I was saying, it was all enjoyable and a pleasant change of pace, but on the other sometimes it sounded more like sci-fi (or wishful thinking) because really, he was not so credible or realistic. And this was the thing that really bothered me.
At the beginning, it was just a really minor thing, but going on with the reading we get more and more of it, and in the end, it buggered me a little.
Again, I am not saying that this book is bad. It is not. I enjoyed the time I spent with it, and it has also a very pleasant Christmas vibe to it since this is the period in which the story takes place. And, again, Henry and Eliza are charming and, together, they are sweet! And we have some interesting secondary characters too! Henry’s friends are amazing, but again… They are way too comfortable around women and women matters. Not in the sense that they are libertines (well, they are, but this is not the point) but in the sense that they are way too much modern in their approach to all women things. And if it is hard to find a boy/man so comfortable today, let us imagine how easy could have been to find a bunch of them at that time. But they are rascally good, and I think that we would get more of them in the next books.
But here we have another issue of mine. Would I continue this series? Hmmm… Never say never and all that, but probably not. There are a couple of things more that made me pause at the idea of going on with this series. One of them is strictly linked with what I was saying before. Henry and his friends are spies and similar, and they enlist Eliza to help them out, and it was all good and interesting but… But again, it is like all the constriction due to society and to the times simply vanish. There are plenty of books out there that take place in this historical period and who have a female lead who team up with others to spy/fight the evil/etcetera… But usually, they find a way to go around society and what propriety dictates. The rules and the customs are there, and they feel constricted by it. And fight them, to achieve more freedom or equal rights. But in there is like all these barriers are simply not there. Again, it was unrealistic to me.
The last thing I have to say is linked with the mystery part of the book. I am not really complaining about it, because it was intriguing and it wasn’t boring, really. The problem here was solely based on personal taste. The point is that we have a lot of erotism, sex, and such linked with the plot and the mystery. It was a tad too much, for me. And it seems like we would follow the same trend in the sequels. I was hoping for more mystery things on this part. But this is really a minor thing, and if this works for you then you would enjoy this one (and probably the sequels) all the more!
I was in need to vent a bit because the book was so enjoyable and the characters were pleasant, I really enjoyed the reading. But it could have been way better, in some respects and this is a bit of a shame. But, again, it is a fast and enjoyable book, with good characters, some drama, some fun, and some very hot scenes. And action and mystery too. And the parts are well balanced. Even if there were some things that rubbed me the wrong way, I had a good time with it and I was always interested in what was happening between the pages!
And what about you? Have you read this book? Or are you interested in it? Let me know!