Review: Lady in the Smoke by Karen Odden

4 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book prior to publication later this month.  The following review is my own opinion and was in no way swayed by receiving an ARC.

As my reading list probably shows, I like historical books.  So I was really pleased to find a historical fiction novel that dealt with romance between two people but didn’t delve into the typical pattern that many novels follow.  All in all, I think it was a very well written book and the plot was interesting and the characters were fairly interesting as well.

After a humiliating Season in London, Lady Elizabeth Fraser is on her way back to her ancestral home when the train she’s riding in derails and bursts into flames.  She and her mother barely escape with their lives and are lying injured in a field when Paul Wilcox comes upon them.  He is a railway surgeon who quickly stitches up Elizabeth’s wounds and provides care to her mother.  Elizabeth is drawn to this surgeon, so much so, that she finds herself risking her own reputation by working side by side with him while he tends to the patients that have been brought to the hotel she’s recovering in.

Elizabeth overhears Paul speaking with someone about how this derailment was not an accident.  She learns that there have been more of these accidents along the railway that have been the result of sabotage and those who are working to prove what’s happening are ending up dead.  She begins an investigation with Paul and his sources to get to the bottom of this before anyone else ends up dead.  The more she learns, the more she places herself at risk.  She risks her reputation over and over and she also puts her very life at risk.

Paul is then wrongfully accused of manslaughter in the death of one of his patients and as he is awaiting the trial that will determine his life, Elizabeth is uncovering a plot decades in the making that will explain everything.  But will she be in time?  Will Paul lose his freedom?  Will she lose her dowry if they lose the vote in Parliament and the railway closes?  Will Elizabeth and Paul ignore convention and the rules of decorum and act on the love that they now feel for each other?

Elizabeth was no shrinking violet and had a fire to her.  I’m always glad to see a woman take charge of her life, even in the face of unimaginable pain and loss.  She was a very strong female character and I was glad to get to know her.  All of the characters were enjoyable and none of them really fell flat or felt less than genuine.  I would definitely recommend this to any fan of the Victorian era or who just wants a good little mystery to keep them busy for awhile.

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Filed under Historical, Romance

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