The Masterful Mr. Montague by Stephanie Laurens
Publisher: Avon / Harper Collins
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (448 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Bluet
Montague has devoted his life to managing the wealth of London’s elite, but at a huge cost: a family of his own. Then the enticing Miss Violet Matcham seeks his help, and in the puzzle she presents him, he finds an intriguing new challenge professionally … and personally.
Violet, devoted lady-companion to the aging Lady Halstead, turns to Montague to reassure her ladyship that her affairs are in order. But the famous Montague is not at all what she’d expected – this man is compelling, decisive, supportive, and strong – everything Violet needs in a champion, a position to which Montague rapidly lays claim.
But then Lady Halstead is murdered and Violet and Montague, aided by Barnaby Adair, Inspector Stokes, Penelope, and Griselda, race to expose a cunning and cold-blooded killer.who stalks closer and closer. Will Montague and Violet learn the shocking truth too late to seize their chance at enduring love?
Generally, one would think that having large sums of money deposited to one’s bank account on a regular basis is a good thing. But when one has no idea who is depositing the money, or why, it raises many questions. Lady Halstead has been widowed many years now. She feels that she’s coming to the end of her life and wants to put all her financial affairs in order. Her man of business can’t explain where the money is originating, so she instructs her long time companion, Violet Matcham, to contact London’s premier financial advisor / investigator, Heathcote Montague, to request his assistance.
Montague has worked very hard at his craft for many years, and has earned his stellar reputation. But something just doesn’t feel right. Now, at forty-ish, he notices his colleagues going home to loving wives and children, and feels the pangs of loneliness. Just as his office is about to close, Violet shows up, requesting his help for Lady Halstead. Montague is intrigued both by the case, and by Violet, herself, and agrees to investigate the mysterious funds. However, whoever is responsible for the funds has no desire to be found out. He will take any steps, including murder, to cover his crimes. As danger comes closer to Violet, she and Montague become closer to each other.
Both Montague and Violet are honorable, likeable people. They are straight forward about their developing feelings for each other, and I like that a lot. I also like that we have a hero who is forty-ish and a heroine who is thirty four. Generally I’m very fond of books that have a slow building romance, with the couple building a friendship first. This book was well written, but felt very long, and it lacked the passionate and steamy scenes that Stephanie Laurens is known for, and I missed that. If you prefer a historical mystery, with a subtler romance on the side, this may just be the book for you.