This book had it all from cross-dressers to conspiracies, a cuckolded husband and even a moment where I thought it was curtains for our plucky princesses. I enjoyed it despite the over-the-top plot and modernisms. Princess Luisa is the last princess to get her happily-ever-after and this is quite fitting as she is the rightful ruler of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhoff. Luisa’s lot is to work as secretary for spy-master Philip, the Earl of Somerton.
Mini Review Alert! Lots of things good things come in small packages like truffles, chocolate, vanilla slices, cookies and baklava. While you can’t eat this review, hopefully you will enjoy it.
Pia Giovanni has a monster sized problem thanks to her ex-boyfriend bragging about her ability to get into locked rooms. She was forced to steal from Dragos Cuelebre, one of the oldest and most powerful dragon shape-shifters in the world. While Dragos’ rage can’t be dampened by the fact she only stole a penny, he is quickly taken by her shapely figure and propensity to do the unexpected.
Clare Cermac inherits more than she bargained from her eccentric aunt. Not only was she gifted several million dollars, she also got the gift to communicate with ghosts. If she can’t find a way to reconcile the existence of supernatural woo-woo with her ordered existence and help ghosts, her resident ghost dog assures her she will die.
Princess Emilie and her sisters flee their homeland of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhoff to avoid assassination. Their uncle convinces all three to cross-dress as men and places them in the care of loyal gentlemen. Emilie takes on the role of a tutor, Grimsby. Cross-dressing gives her some confidence as she ends up defending a young man in a pub brawl with a chicken leg. The young man in question turns out to be her pupil Freddie and the son of the Duke of Ashland (a Byronic hero if I ever saw one).
Princess Stefanie is having a rough time undercover as Stephen Thomas. While her sister got to play at being a governess, she is forced to work as a law clerk for a distinguished barrister. The biggest advantage of this comes from spending time with the barrister’s dishy nephew, James Lambert, the Marquis of Hatherfield. James sees through Stefanie’s disguise very quickly but their relationship is threatened when he is put on trial for murder.
Bea Cartwright is trying to enjoy managing her busy B&B but once again murder strikes. The literary ladies are reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens to celebrate Bastille Day. The town has no great connection with France but basically just wants to party. Local handyman Ritchie Monroe claims to have been pushed into the water at one of the celebrations but no one believes him until his body shows up in the local pub.
Although this is marketed as a mystery, it really plays out more like an adventure or thriller novel as our main characters pit themselves against dangerous weather conditions and a murdering baddie. Gracie Kincaid is a search and rescue volunteer who has notched up some impressive rescues. She’s called out on Thanksgiving to find some hikers that have gone missing. Since the missing hikers include the celebrity actor Rob Christian, the authorities are determined to pull out all the stops to find them.
Lieutenant Commander Clint Walker has a very valuable set of plans in his possession which were originally stolen from the Chinese. Desperate to evade the Chinese operatives after him, Clint sneaks on board a cargo ship where he meets Captain Samantha Richardson. The two quickly give into temptation but their snuggle time is interrupted when the ship is hijacked.
Bitter Spirits is simply the cat’s whiskers and the bee’s knees (love my 1920s slang?) and isn’t a book that should be missed. When Winter Magnusson, debonair bootlegger, has a problem in the form of ghosts he turns to Aida Palmer, spirit medium. Someone hexed Winter and now spirits of those he extinguished follow him everywhere. Aida is happy to oblige as Winter is rather well built and a girl on her own has to make a dollar or two where she can. Winter’s problems continue to mount along with his attraction to Aida.