Historical fiction

A Fiancée’s Guide to First Wives and Murder (Countess of Harleigh Mystery #4) by Dianne Freeman


This is one of those rare occasions where I picked the second book of a series and liked it enough to follow up with the sequels. This is the fourth instalment, and although it is self-sufficient enough to read as a standalone, I wouldn’t recommend it. The background continues to play a part in the ambience.
In this series, and especially in this instalment, we see relatively well-placed people brought into trouble for no fault of their own. The headstrong lead protagonist, Frances, this is especially troubling. She should be celebrating her upcoming nuptials with her Fiance on her arm, but instead, she is trying to battle the rumours that keep following them.
Frances is brought a woman who says she is married to the very man Frances intends to wed. She is loud and very random ( you would understand if you saw the way she behaved). It is not much of a surprise that this woman related to Russian royalty would have a lot of enemies and find herself dead.
Thanks to Frances’ way of thinking, it becomes easier to sympathize with the victim and root for a better end to her story than she got.
It is 1899, and the world we are described reflects the constraints that come with living in that time. Frances wants to just be at peace, but trouble follows her, and the investigation is a very concentrated effort on the parts of everyone involved.
The only reason I do not rate it higher is that I saw the ending coming and therefore felt like it could have been cut short a little. For someone who does not like guessing ahead of time, I would still recommend this as a valid addition to the series.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this and another work by the same author.

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