Desert Isle Keeper
Beneath a Silent Moon
If you haven’t yet read Tracy Grant’s Daughter of the Game, I have a suggestion I hope you’ll consider. Before you go any further in reading this review, I recommend that you take a look instead at Colleen McMahon’s DIK Review of that incredible book. To be honest, it’s not essential to have read the first book before tackling this one, but your enjoyment of Beneath a Silent Moon will be greatly enriched and, hey, even more important, you’d be denying yourself one phenomenal read.
Now, assuming that anyone who’s gotten to this point did read Daughter of the Game, I have to admit that it’s impossible to put that book aside when evaluating this one. As she did so skillfully in her previous effort, Tracy Grant once again tells a powerfully enthralling story – the revelations build, the characters evolve, and the story this time out might even be a bit more compelling. However, with that said, if Daughter of the Game rated an A (which it definitely did in my book), Beneath a Silent Moon is probably more of an A-. My biggest issue? While the revelations here are central to the plot and the surrounding characters, they aren’t, as they were in the first book, generally tied to the relationship between Charles and Melanie. And, for me at any rate, that’s a bit of a disappointment.
This time out, the story takes place two years earlier than the events detailed in Daughter of the Game. Now married for some four years, Charles, Melanie, and their two children have just returned to London following years on the Continent. The adjustments facing the couple are many (as readers with an understanding of the circumstances of their marriage can attest), as fresh from the Congress of Vienna and the complexities of diplomatic life, Charles settles into his role as a member of Parliament and Melanie learns to adapt to hers as both a political hostess and member of society. But when the engagement of Charles’s father to the much younger Honoria Talbot, a woman with complex and puzzling ties to our hero is announced, it’s the first ripple in a chain of events destined to forever alter the surface calm of their lives.
Matters take an even more momentous turn for the worse when a contact from his espionage days summons Charles and Melanie to a clandestine late night assignation during which the man is shot and killed by an unidentified assailant. His dying words, however, are enough to convince Charles and Melanie that uncovering both the members and agenda of a mysterious group called The Elsinore League is a task the two must undertake. Especially since it appears that the relentlessly proper and sheltered Honoria might somehow be caught up in the conspiracy.
In order not to purloin any of your pleasure, that’s about as far as I’m willing to go with plot specifics. Suffice it to say that uncovering the Elisinore League is just one of the tasks facing Charles and Melanie – tasks that are further complicated when the murder of someone very close to Charles and his family occurs.
As in Daughter of the Game, Tracy Grant once again does a magnificent job of constructing both her complex story and her equally complex characters. And if I do feel the tiniest tinge of disappointment, the author is ultimately to blame for creating two of the most fascinating characters I’ve come across in years. Yes, characters evolve here in unexpected ways and, equally important, nothing is as it seems, but to be honest, I didn’t feel that much additional light was shed on the relationship between our two lead characters. Frankly, no matter how intriguing the story – and I did find this one more involving than the search for the ring featured in Daughter of the Game – the central focus for me is always Charles and Melanie. And, with that said, I do find the author’s choice to write a prequel kind of puzzling.
But is my disappointment enough to keep me from recommending this book in the highest possible terms? Not a chance. Not to put too fine a point on it, Tracy Grant is one fine writer and readers who love compelling romantic suspense (and, I might add who enjoyed Caleb Carr’s The Alienist) definitely need to discover this major romance treasure.
And treasure she definitely is. What it all comes down to is this: Maybe I didn’t learn too much new here about Charles and Melanie and the complicated course of their relationship, but, despite that, my fascination with them continues. I am hoping, though, that next time out, matters between them move forward.