Stevie‘s review of Lord Edward’s Mysterious Treasure (Victorian Adventures, Book 4) by Lillian Marek
Historical Romance published by Sourcebooks Casablanca 07 Nov 17
One thing I particularly enjoy about Lillian Marek’s series of Victorian Adventures is that while they all follow one or more members of the same family, each book has a different setting and style, usually picking up and examining particular classic romance tropes and giving them a slightly different twist. Having followed the women of the family in the first three books, we now find one of the men getting embroiled in a gothic romance plot – quite apt given that such adventures usually put the heroine at the centre of the action. Not that this book’s heroine is at all reticent or in need of being saved by anyone other than herself, of course. She doesn’t get off to the greatest of starts with the hero, however.
Lord Edward Tremaine is an amateur historian, with a particular interest in opposition to the French Revolution, particularly those instances when French aristocrats and their tenants joined forces against the new regime. His adventure begins when an old friend enlists his help in uncovering a treasure at the location of one of these pockets of resistance, clues to the treasure’s whereabouts most likely being included in documents relating to Edward’s area of interest. On arrival at the mysterious old castle where his friend is staying – waiting attendance on an elderly, apparently dying, relative – Edward is struck by the appearance of three women: also relatives of his friend and the old man. Two are obviously in mourning, while the third is seemingly full of boundless enthusiasm for life. First impressions can be deceptive, however, and it soon becomes apparent that the liveliest member of the party may be the greatest obstacle to Edward’s chance of making progress on any of his projects. Meanwhile, the younger of the more sombre women is just the kind of partner he needs, if his investigation is to progress in an orderly manner.
Marguerite Benda is the daughter of a famous musician, whose mother was disowned by her aristocratic family for marrying a common entertainer. That estrangement, along with her ill-treatment by some of Paris’ elite, has left Marguerite with a strong distrust of aristocrats, particularly the men. While waiting for news of a new musical engagement – Marguerite is an accomplished composer and performer in her own right – she has agreed to escort, with an old family friend, her young, frivolous, and ultimately impoverished cousin to visit the castle in the hope that one of them will receive a bequest when the old man dies.
It soon becomes apparent to Edward that all is not as it should be in the castle. His friend is suffering from a mysterious ailment, and other odd occurrences lead him to suspect that someone means them all harm. Fortunately help is soon at hand when his parents arrive to take charge of the situation – I’d still love to see those two get an adventure of their own.
I loved this book’s central characters, although I was less enamoured on the treatment of some of the others: in keeping with the gothic novel trope, but maybe a little too close to the clichéd fates for some of them than I’d have liked. The revelation of the treasure’s location and nature was a nice twist, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.
Lord Edward Tremaine comes to the fog-shrouded Chateau Morvan on the coast of Brittany. In this ancient building, all the inhabitants have secrets. The old vicomte demands that his descendants find a lost treasure, but he offers only hints to help the three cousins in their search.
The charming Delphine seems to be a creature of gaiety and sunshine, but every now and then glimpses of something darker appear. Marguerite, the beautiful and brilliant pianist, is obviously afraid. What is it that threatens her? Antoine, who considers himself a modern man, ignores the swirling emotions, concentrating only on the money needed for him to build a steel factory.
Lord Edward wants to help his friend Antoine–and more and more he wants to help Marguerite and protect her–but can he do so before tragedy strikes?
Read an excerpt.