Evil mother time
It's time for the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Moreland to have her story. Maggie Windham, the eldest daughter of Percy, Duke of Moreland has a problem - someone stole her reticule and she really needs to find it. I mean really really needs to find it. So, she turns to Benjamin Hazlet, an investigator of sorts. He's really the Earl of Hazelton, but he doesn't want anyone to know that - not sure why. Anyway, he's helped the Windham family before so he's trusted - sort of.
Here's the deal. I liked Ben. I liked him a lot. He's a generous, loyal man. He has great camaraderie with his cousin and partner Archer. In fact, all of the secondary characters were great. The relationship between Percy and his Duchess Esther is expanded. When we first met Percy in The Heir, he was a very domineering, hard-headed man. But through the following books, he's become quite a loveable despot and he truly loves his Esther and allll the children that have come into their life. So, I've become quite attached to Percy and Esther. Ben and Archer are also well-developed characters. Their friendship is genuine, their dialogue witty. Everyone in this story is delightful - well almost everyone.
Maggie I. I found Maggie to be very irritating. There were so many things about her where I didn't understand her motivation and it became downright frustrating. Someone has stolen her reticule/purse. Now, that person didn't steal that purse because they liked the bead work. No, there was something inside of that purse the thief wanted. If I were a detective I would want to know what was inside the purse which caused it to be stolen. Ben's no dummy. He knows there was something in the purse which was the reason for it to be stolen. But, he doesn't know why. Do you know why he doesn't know why? Because Maggie won't tell him. Spoilers ahead. Maggie has a sister who has been communicating with her and it was those letters which were stolen. Now this sister is in danger, so it would behoove Maggie to let someone know that this sister is in danger. She knows her sister is in danger and she has a perfectly trustworthy hero who would help her - if she'd only tell him the truth. I don't understand why Ms. Burrowes elected to keep the missing correspondence a secret for so loooong. Maggie could have told Ben right from the beginning and there still could have been tension, they still could have searched for the sister. So, that secret of a very important, lifesaving piece of information was irritating.
Maggie II. Maggie has grown up with the love and support of her adopted family. Percy, her biological father and Esther, her adopted mother have always been there for her. Maggie's siblings have always been there for her. The Windham family is a strong family, they've been through a lot together, and they do not suffer fools lightly. So, for Maggie to separate herself from this strong family because she is protecting them from her evil blackmailing crazy biological mother was another source of annoyance. There was too much hand wringing by Maggie for me. I didn't buy into her martyrdom or the reason for it. She caused her own loneliness; she was a boo-hoo woman who I just could not feel sorry for.
I would have really liked this book a lot if only Maggie had been written differently. She was her own worst enemy, keeping secrets from people she shouldn't have and endangering a young girl’s life in so doing. I was disappointed in the direction Maggie's character was taken. Everyone else in the book outshone her and most importantly, the hero deserved someone better.
Time/Place: Regency England