Treason at Lisson Grove (Charlotte and Thomas Pitt #26) by Anne Perry

I was some what let down by this particular Anne Perry book. I am a huge Anne Perry fan and normally her books are creative with lots of twists and turns that make it hard to guess the answers to the mysteries. This one seemed more like a transition book. It was actually predictable for the most part with only a couple surprises. It was still good, but not up to her usual caliber.

If you read the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, you know that pit moves from the police to Special Branch then to the Commander of Special Branch. This is the book where he becomes the head of Special Branch. The book starts with Pitt chasing a suspect and ending up in France. Shortly after, Victor Narroway is accused of theft and relieved of his office. The story follows Pitt as he uncovers the Socialist plot afoot while Narroway seeks to clear his name. He travels to Ireland in order to resolve the issue by approaching the people he betrayed twenty years ago.

The book follows Charlotte and Narroway mostly in my opinion. You seem to get more of him and her than of Pitt. I love Charlotte, but the story was slightly awkward. Charlotte accompanies Naroway to Ireland because Pitt is busy in France and cannot help. Since Narroway is in love with Charlotte everything is just…awkward. Poor Thomas comes home to a mess – Narroway fired, Charlotte gone,…and a new maid. LOL I love the new maid. You don’t read much about her in this book, but she pops up in later stories and I like her.

All in all, not a bad book. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone just starting to read Anne Perry, but if you are trying to read the series, this book is one of the transition reads you need. It’s more a necessity to facilitate the changes that allow for the rest of the series.

My rating:

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Mrs. Queen Take the Train by William Kuhn

This story begins with the Queen of England struggling with a bout of depression. It actually follows the stories of multiple people – the head butler, a stable hand at the Royal Mews, a local cheese store worker, a Lady in Waiting, the head ladies maid to the Queen, and one of the Queen’s assistants – and how their lives interact, connect, and effect each other. The Queen, in a brief moment when she has the ability to leave the palace without a chaperon, takes a chance and heads out. What follows is an interesting account of the different people she meets and how she reconnects with the public. It also follows her entourage at the palace and how they deal with her disappearance.

I had a couple problems with this book. One issue was the age group of the people who were the characters of the book. They were all older individuals, and myself being younger, I was a little distanced from the characters by the experience, knowledge, and empathy that comes with age. The other issue I had was organization. The first half of the book bounces between the present day story line and the back stories for the different characters. It was difficult to bounce back and forth to multiple time periods, places and people. The back stories did help, but I think they could have been integrated better.

Aside from these, I thought it was quite an interesting and inspired story. I liked the approach the author took, focusing on the deep emotions of the impressive monarch and her daily struggles that everyone can relate to in some way. It made her appear very human and very real, not just a figurehead. The desire to just be free for a few short minutes and be able to decide what you would like to do is a right we take for granted and it was highlighted beautifully in the book. It gives you a new appreciation for what the people of the monarchy deal with on a daily basis.

Furthermore, it gives you an amazing view of the importance of the monarchy in Britain. In the US, we have an importance placed on the President, but it is nothing like the love and respect the book portrays of the British people for the monarchy. You are also able to meet and learn about the people who work for the crown, what they do, what is expected of them, and what helps them live and appreciate the crazy schedule and lack of a social life.

I would recommend this book to anyone over forty or anyone interested in a cultural read. I was the latter. I liked the book, am glad I read it, but I will probably not pick it up again. However, it did spark interest in me to look more into the British monarchy and find similar books maybe set in different countries. It would be an excellent book club read as well.

My rating:

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