Desert Isle Keeper
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding
Lady Georgiana cannot believe her good fortune. At last she’s going to marry Darcy! The invitations have been sent: at 2 pm, Saturday, 27th July, at The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair, she’ll wed the Honorable Darcy Byrne O’Mara. Georgiana is staying with her friend Princess Zou Zou at Eaton Square; the bride-to-be is ecstatic that there are only six weeks to go. Although things are going so smoothly that she’s worried she’s tempting fate.
It seems only yesterday that I fled from Castle Rannoch and arrived alone in London, penniless and without a friend in the world. But it’s actually going to happen in a few weeks’ time. Golly. Mrs. Darcy O’Mara. As Jane Bennett would say, “How shall I bear so much happiness?”
Georgiana was tempting fate, because things start to go south almost immediately. Her friend-designed wedding dress looks “like a long white tube with feathers”, her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Rannoch, doesn’t want to host her wedding reception, her mother is engaged to a German industrialist (with ties to the Nazi government), Queen Mary, her royal cousin, wants to invite every penniless royal to the nuptials, and, most concerning, she and Darcy are having abysmal luck in finding a future home.
But like Mr. Micawber, something does turn up. Her “globetrotting godfather” offers her a home, his “fully staffed country estate” Eynsleigh. Why doesn’t Georgiana spend the weeks before the wedding whipping it into shape? Particularly since someday she’ll inherit it. Brilliant suggestion, except the servants don’t want her there and they make that patently obvious. Where are all the old staff she remembers from her childhood? Why is she served wretched food when there’s a thriving kitchen garden? One of my favorite tropes is one fierce woman standing up to a band of miscreants (in this case, scoundrels pretending to be servants). Readers will have confidence that Lady Georgiana, channeling her indomitable great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, will prevail. If she doesn’t die in the attempt first. Her grandfather, a retired policeman, is worried about her; life-threatening accidents, sinister noises at night… wouldn’t she be better off talking to the local constabulary? Or better yet, wait for her fiancé to “sort things out”?
That was the last thing he should have said. Wait for the damsel to be rescued by the handsome prince? Darcy had had to rescue me from difficult situations before and I was very grateful to him. But I wanted to start this marriage as an equal partner, not as a helpless female needing to be protected.
Lady Georgiana is not a helpless damsel: she and her merry band of cohorts rescue themselves from the villains running a larcenous scam at Eynsleigh. Lady Georgiana really comes into her own in Rhys Bowen’s twelfth Her Royal Spyness mystery. It’s a fast-paced romp with serious undertones: let’s raise a glass to Lady Georgie and her handsome groom.
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~ Janet Webb