A Pressing Engagement (Lady Darby #4.5) by Anna Lee Huber

02_A Pressing Engagement

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With her wedding to fellow investigator Sebastian Gage only a day away, Kiera is counting down the hours. But just when matrimonial jitters threaten to consume her, Kiera receives a welcome distraction in the form of a mysterious gold necklace.

The Celtic torc, thought missing for decades, was directly involved in a recent investigation. Now, Kiera feels compelled to uncover the truth behind its sudden reappearance.

But with an overwhelming flock of wedding guests, a muddled cat, an unpaid favor, and a ferocious storm throwing things into disarray, it’s anyone’s guess whether Kiera and Gage will actually make it to the altar…

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Publisher and Release Date: Intermix, May 2016

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Edinburgh, 1831
Genre: Historical Mystery
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Caz

Fans of Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby mysteries have followed the adventures of the unusual and talented Keira Darby and her fellow investigator, the gorgeous Sebastian Gage through four books, now, in which the couple has gone from an initial mistrust and animosity to grudging respect, liking, the stirrings of attraction and, finally, love. At the end of the third book, A Grave Matter Gage proposed and in the fourth, A Study in Death, they were an engaged couple, working alongside each other to solve a mystery involving a case of poisoning and the misplacement of some valuable artefacts.

In the next book, As Death Draws Near, we will finally see them as a married couple continuing their already established strong and complementary working relationship as they adjust to marriage, but before that release in July, comes A Pressing Engagement an eighty-three page novella which takes place on the day before (and day of) the wedding, as a nice little teaser to whet our appetites for the release of the next book in July.

From the previous book, we already know that Keira was being driven round the bend by her sister Alana’s enthusiasm about the wedding preparations and her wishing to ensure it is a spectacular occasion. Deep down, Keira doesn’t want all the fuss – she’d happily marry Gage over the anvil – but at that time, Alana, heavily pregnant, needed something to stop her brooding about the impending birth, so Keira allowed her to fuss and fret while she and Gage pursued their latest enquiry.

Even though she gave birth just weeks ago, Alana is up and running around making sure things are organised and double-organised, and Keira finds it hard to summon up an interest in how many flounces are on her dress or how many flower arrangements there should be… so when her cousin Jock arrives bearing a gift which she and Gage suspect may be linked to their previous investigation, there is only one thing to be done. They must find out the truth, but have only the day in which to do it.

I should say first off that anyone who hasn’t read at least a couple of the books in the series, especially the last one, is likely to be completely adrift reading this story, as it doesn’t work as a standalone. Apart from the central couple, there are several recurring characters making an appearance, and the continuance of the various familial relationships that have already been established.

Truth to tell, the mystery aspect of the plot is a little flimsy and isn’t really what interested me; I was in it for the wedding and to watch Keira and Gage working together again. The relationship between Keira and her sister is very well-done, and there is a nicely poignant conversation between them towards the end, in which Keira is brought to admit that perhaps she has been a little selfish in her disinterest in the wedding preparations. I loved how she confronted Gage’s father and put her foot down, and most of all, how well she and Gage work together and complement each other.

A Pressing Engagement is a welcome bit of filler for those of us eagerly awaiting the next book, but anyone who likes the sound of it but hasn’t read the other books should go back to the beginning and start with The Anatomist’s Wife. If you’ve enjoyed Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia mysteries or Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily books, you won’t be disappointed.

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