Calista Langley operates an exclusive ‘introduction; agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning – a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.
Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.
But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past – and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…
Publisher and Release Date: Berkley, 19th April 2016
Time and Setting: Victorian London
Genre: Historical Mystery/Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4
Review by Lady Blue
Calista Langley and her younger brother were orphaned as children and sent to live with their joyless grandmother, who died several years later, leaving them a large house, but no funds to maintain it. In an effort to keep a roof over their heads, Calista established a discreet business in which single people could attend salons at her home, and meet like-minded singles for friendship and possibly romance. Because the house is so fine and large, it gives the impression that Calista is a wealthy heiress. A year earlier, Calista was about to become engaged to Nestor Kettering, but when she told him the true state of her finances, he jilted her and almost immediately married another woman, this time a genuine heiress. Suddenly, Nestor has come back into Calista’s life, professing his regard and regret at leaving her. He won’t take no for an answer, and becomes almost stalkerish.
Trent Hastings is a very popular and successful writer. He’s concerned about the salons his sister, Eudora, has been attending, afraid that she’s being taken advantage of. He decides to check out Calista for himself. In the process, he learns of Calista’s stalker, as well as some other disturbing events that have been happening to her, and decides to help her investigate. Though usually self-sufficient, Calista is shaken, and glad of Trent’s help and protection. She’s not at all put off by the scars Trent bears and finds him very attractive.
I found Trent to be a very intriguing man. He’s not bitter about the scars that mar his jawline, arm and hands, though he knows that some people will reject him because of them. He’s confident, intelligent, and has a good heart. He’s also good friends with a crime lord, who is helpful to Trent’s investigation. But lately, he has been somewhat reclusive and lonely, and Calista seems to have inspired him to rejoin the living. When Trent realizes Calista is not turned off by his appearance, he acts on their mutual attraction, and they indulge their passion.
While Calista and Trent are very likeable and engaging characters, I feel that the romance takes second place to the mystery in ‘Til Death Do Us Part. Still, the story is well developed and engrossing. Amanda Quick continues her trademark writing style, which left me not wanting to put the book down until I finished it. I enjoyed this read very much, and recommend it to those who like historical romantic with a heavy dose of suspense. Oh, and expect the unexpected.