Read my reviews of the previous books in the Will Darling Adventures series:
- Slippery Creatures (#1)
- The Sugared Game (#2)
In most series in the suspense/thriller realm, even as a subgenre, the overall sense of danger starts small and then grows larger to encompass a threat to more people. Charles subverts this pattern for the Will Darling Adventures, in which our heroes race to keep the blueprint for a deadly plague out of criminal hands in the first book but fight threats on a more personal level in the conclusion to this trilogy. In this author’s talented hands, the threat against a faceless mass becomes more personal as Will and his partner Kim end up fighting for their very future together. Narrowing in on this focus doesn’t diminish the excitement of this book but rather enhances how this reader cares about the relationship between our two heroes.
Speaking of our heroes, Kim and Will are just as ridiculous and sexy together here as they have been so far. Even more so, perhaps, as they have settled into a sort of relationship (as much as they can have in the book’s setting) that works for both of them. In true Kim fashion, of course, he has to throw a wrench into the works. Again, Charles plays with expectation by having said wrench not be another incident of Kim lying, either intentionally or by omission, but by speaking the truth we’ve been looking forward to all along. Unfortunately, this is where Will comes up against a wall. Our solid, unflappable hero for two books finally undergoes some long-delayed character development of his own when faced with a future that has nothing to do with war and bloodshed. This doesn’t sound terribly dreamy, but Charles is adept at pairing romantic heroes whose jagged edges fit together perfectly. While this book didn’t bring me to tears, I did have to resist the temptation to highlight so many beautifully written passages that evoked such a visceral response that I couldn’t help but care for these two lovely, flawed men.
Along the way toward their happily ever after, Will and Kim are dragged back into the dregs of a secret society they thought they’d vanquished. On the downside, this involves unfortunate proximity with Kim’s mostly estranged family and Will on the run from the police. On the excellently flip side, the lovely Phoebe and Maisie make a triumphant return to London to do what they do best – solve all the biggest problems while looking fashionable and enjoying a cocktail.
Overall, I adored this Gilded Age romantic suspense trilogy. Charles creates a brilliant ensemble cast that captured me from the beginning and stayed true to the era while also sneaking in some excellent nods to characters we’ve loved before. If you enjoyed the previous books in this trilogy, you shouldn’t miss the epic finale. If you’ve enjoyed other books by Charles, you definitely don’t want to miss this latest addition to her excellent body of work.
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.