Sunday, August 19, 2018

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen: Reading Room Review

Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bown is one of my favorites. Sometimes you just need a read that is always fun, full of adventure, peopled by outrageously wonderful characters, and constant with witty conversations. And, having been a fan for so long of Lady Georgie and watching her character gaining firmer footing in her world, I am thrilled that the series has come to the point of this book, Georgie and Darcy set to wed and live happily ever after. Well, readers of this series know that wedding or no, there will be bumps in the road ahead for Lady Georgie, as her path is seldom an easy one. But, Lady Georgie has arrived at a maturity and competency level that serves her well in Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding. There can still be a thin line between fearless and fool hearty, but Lady Georgie is starting to take charge and become her own person. Rhys Bowen has developed Georgie's character beautifully, as well as giving us so many other characters in this series to enjoy.

At last, Lady Georgiana Rannoch is planning for her wedding to Darcy O'Mara, and she is faced with doing so in her usual penniless condition. Staying at her and Darcy's friend Princes Zou Zou's house in London, the details begin to come together and work out, as they usually do for Georgie. Her friend Belinda is making her wedding dress, and her brother Binky and his wife Fig have agreed to have the reception for her at Rannoch House in London. Of course, Georgie's sister-in-law Fig could hardly refuse to host the reception after Queen Mary invites herself and the King and other royals to the wedding, as well as offering the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, to be bridesmaids. Even Georgie's mother offers to buy her daughter a trousseau. So, while the wedding plans seem to be under control, Georgie and Darcy are faced with one unavoidable problem. Where will they live after they marry? Even this sticking point falls into place when Georgie receives a letter from her former stepfather, Sir Hubert Anstruther, inviting her to make his country estate Eynsleigh her and Darcy's permanent home. Sir Hubert, who continues to be absent from the home due to his mountain climbing adventures, had already made Georgie his heir to his fortune.

Georgie leaves London for Eynsleigh to ready it for occupancy after the wedding. With fond memories of the country estate's grounds and luxurious accommodations, Georgie is shocked at the condition of house's interior and grounds when she arrives. Then, upon meeting the butler, other household staff, and gardeners, she is appalled at their lack of competency and proper behavior towards her. She soon learns that the entire staff is new, with the old staff let go without explanation when the new butler arrived. Something is rotten in Denmark, but Georgie doesn't yet have the authority to fire anyone and must instead try to determine what is going on. She's glad to have the company of her mother, who accepts Georgie's invitation to visit, when the German industrialist her mother was engaged to breaks off the engagement. As Darcy is away on another of his "secret" missions for the government, it's up to Georgie to set things right at Eynsleigh. Georgie is willing and able to step up to the plate in asserting her control as Mistress of Eynsleigh, but she keeps discovering more and more dark happenings at the estate, and her fight to restore the beloved estate becomes a dangerous undertaking. It's indeed a dire situation when the arrival of Queenie, Georgie's maid and now cook-in-training, signals a positive note. If Georgie can't uncover the quickly deteriorating cause of Eynsleigh's stature, the home she so happily anticipated and the wedding she has so carefully planned may go up in smoke.

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