a dangerous invitation cover

3.5 stars

Kate Morgan has learned to survive in the three years since her fiancé; Daniel O’Reilly was accused of Tommy Dalton’s murder and disappeared. This loss was quickly followed by her father’s illness, death, and the bankruptcy of his business.  Kate was unprepared but refuses to be a victim or put her fate in a man’s hands again. She’s free and surviving just fine when Daniel O’Reilly walks back into her life.

 

If you’re a historical lover in search of a read that’s out of the norm A DANGEROUS INVITATION is definitely that.  Descriptively vivid, you feel as if you’re right there with Kate and Daniel in Bethnel Green, Jacob’s Island, the docks, and other rookeries in London circa 1832.  Ms. Monroe’s vibrancy doesn’t stop with locations but extends to her characters as well.  Jane, Sally, Atlas, Owen, Ezekiel, and others spring to Technicolor life.

Kate Morgan is an exceptional heroine.  She uses her wits, knowledge, and stubborn determination to keep her fall from Society from defeating her.  Instead of becoming a victim she uses the skills learned in her father’s shipping business to make a living, albeit illegally as a fence, but at least she isn’t owned and on her back.

Daniel O’Reilly is Irish to the core, ginger or red haired and Catholic at a time when it wasn’t in anyone’s favor to be any of these.  Daniel is also a recovering alcoholic.  He struggles to not succumb to the lure of gin while adjusting and adapting to a Kate he hardly recognizes.  A Kate he deserted.  Daniel has returned to clear his name, find Tommy’s real killer, and win Kate’s trust and love again.  Without Kate he believes he has nothing.

Jane Putnam is Kate’s friend member of the Chapman Street Gang.  Jane is a true friend and blessing to Kate.

Atlas Greer, The Gentleman Thief and true friend to Daniel.  Atlas has contacts, means, and methods of getting things done.  He’s helping Daniel clear his name.  Atlas doesn’t think much of Kate.

Owen Neal, housebreaker, jewel thief, and charmer.  Owen has his eye on Kate but Jane doesn’t like him.  She feels something about him is off and makes no bones about it with Kate.

You’ll meet these and many more characters in 1832 London’s rookeries.  I thoroughly enjoyed the colorful characters, their use of accurate slang, and the credible portrayal of life in the rookeries, with resurrectionists and their ilk a reviled and feared fact of life. No sugar coating or romanticizing; The mystery is believable and fascinating with plenty of leads for the reader to follow.

Kudos to Kate for making Daniel prove to her and himself the veracity of his claims, refusing to give up her hard won independence.  She’s free and values it.  Daniel’s struggle to understand this new Kate and not give in to the siren call of gin is well done.  Daniel, as do all alcoholics, takes it one day at a time.

My only issue comes near the end with a good gravy WTFrill are they doing/thinking episode.  While I understand the why behind it, for me personally, this didn’t fit with prior behavior and detracted from the excellent story to this point.

The authenticity of the emotions and struggles of the characters and life in the rookeries, combined with a good solid mystery/villain make A DANGEROUS INVITATION an exciting and highly readable second chance historical romance-mystery.  Since I harbor hopes for Atlas and Jane I’ll certainly be reading the next in the series.

 

I really like this and it would’ve been 4 stars or better if not for that one episode.  Anybody read this yet?  What’d you think?  Do tell, please.

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