Irish barrister Patrick Fitzgerald is summoned to Windsor Castle by Queen Victoria on the very night that her husband Prince Albert lies dying. Fitzgerald is accompanied by his ward, Dr. Georgiana Armistead. The Queen tries to force Fitzgerald to sign a document stating that he had fabricated information obtained 20 years earlier when he had been involved in an investigation surrounding an attempt on her life. He refuses, and when leaving Windsor Castle, he and Georgiana are attacked and nearly killed when their coach is overturned. After another attempt on their lives, they are forced to flee London, still ignorant of the reason they are being pursued. Is it because of Fitzgerald's involvement in the investigation long ago, or is it because Georgiana's late foster father, Dr. John Snow, a friend of Prince Albert and physician to the Queen, may have learned of a secret that threatens the royal succession.
Stephanie Barron combines the dark, atmospheric tone of a gothic romance with the psychological tension and intrigue of a suspense novel. In alternating chapters, Patrick Fitzgerald and Queen Victoria reveal their thoughts and motivations until the layers of the mystery are pealed away to reveal the secret that ties everything together. Stephanie Barron also authors a mystery series featuring Jane Austen.
Reviewed by nk, 2/09. Other reviews by nk.