Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
A Restless Truth is the sequel to A Marvellous Light and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.
When Maud Blythe volunteered to be an elderly lady’s companion on board the R.M.S. Lyric she didn’t expect to find her employer murdered on the first day of the trans-Atlantic voyage. Left holding a foul-mouthed parrot, Maud decides she must solve the crime before the ship docks in Liverpool and the culprit disappears into English society. At dinner she meets the scandalous Violet Debenham, an actress and, more importantly, a magician. Together, they plot to uncover the truth and retrieve what was stolen.
She had never met anyone like Violet Debenham. How did one attain that kind of confidence, and that ability to not so much prod one’s relatives with sticks as hurl an entire armful of javelins in their direction?
Maud is of course the little sister of Robin who we met, and fell a little in love with, in A Marvellous Light. She went to America to retrieve one of the women who was hiding a piece of the last contract, and of course, that is the thing that gets stolen from the victim. But Maud doesn’t know what it looks like, or who on board would even know about it.
Enter Violet, who everyone is scandalised by and she just doesn’t care. Maud is bedazzled by her. Also on board is Lord Hawthorn and I loved how their cover was supposedly being ravaged by the Lord who was above reproach. They read some erotica and have a great old time. I loved Lord Hawthorn in this book, he is definitely softening to the ragtag bunch of magicians determined to save everyone.
Maud is rather quite naïve and innocent at the start but curious about many things. She’s never really felt attracted to men in that way, but meeting Violet makes her see there are other options. Violet tries to keep her distance, she has her own ghosts to deal with. She’s happy to flirt with Maud, and she finds the whole solving a murder thing a riot, but she isn’t looking for ties beyond the voyage.
A person is an act, Maud. A person is a theatre. You change the set dressing depending on the season. The real parts are the parts that aren’t meant to be seen.
As proper young ladies in first class, they get away with more than most. Running around the ship, they uncover secrets, unleash a menagerie and set the gossip alight. They meet an unlikely, but helpful ally from the lower decks, where good young ladies shouldn’t wander.
The ocean liner is a great setting, but overall I’d have liked this to further the ongoing plot a bit more than it did. We already knew about the other pieces of the last contract and that certain magicians were after them. This is very much about Maud discovering herself, more than the discovery of a magical world that was in the previous instalment.
A Restless Truth is published by Tor and will be available in hardback, ebook and audiobook editions from 10th November 2022. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
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