The River Knows
Louisa Bryce is a young widow and companion to Lady Emma Ashton. Louisa does her best to be plain and unnoticeable. She is not trying to attract a husband. Yet there is a mystery around her. Despite himself, Anthony Stalbridge is intrigued. He follows her when she sneaks upstairs in the Hastings mansion and disappears. When an armed guard appears on the floor, he is able to rescue her by pretending they are involved in an affair.
She finds her self in an awkward situation but Louisa rallies. She is investigating Elwin Hastings for some shady business he may be running. She discovers that Anthony is also investigating Hastings as the possible murderer of his fiancee a year earlier. Supposedly she threw herself in the Thames and committed suicide. He is certain she was murdered and that Hastings was behind it.
Anthony insists he joins Louisa in the investigation. She tries to avoid him, but he makes it impossible. Louisa Bryce attracts him, especially when she first decides he is a jewel thief and was able to restore his family's finances through his loot. She is ashamed when she learns the truth, especially since she is falling in love with him. It can't going anywhere. Her hidden past prevents her from ever marrying.
Not that Anthony has mentioned marriage. But they start an illicit affair that she finds rather thrilling. She's ready to take what she can. He has already discovered she is more than she appears. She just doesn't want him to learn all her secrets. Meanwhile, their investigation of Hastings takes them to London's back streets and underworld. Hopefully they can prove their knowledge before Louisa is killed.
Amanda Quick makes Victorian London come alive in her historical novels. Louisa is another strong woman who is able to go against the system and its mores. She knows she is of a lower class and can never be part of Polite Society. The class lines are very distinct in this era of England. Even so, she is able to control her destiny. In The River Knows, Quick uses the plight of penniless women as its base. Suicide by drowning in the Thames was an alternative to ending up in brothels to pay back debts or other indignities.
The plot is carried through well with the right amounts of suspense and romance that is her signature. The River Knows has pleasing characters and builds the story well. I like the extra characters added in, like the retired actress who is the mistress of a crime lord. Amanda Quick delivers a fun story in a good beach book.
Notice: Explicit sexual content, Non-graphic violence
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