Feb 12 2013 9:45am

First Look: Liz Carlyle’s A Bride by Moonlight (February 26, 2013)

A Bride by Moonlight by Liz Carlyle

Liz Carlyle
A Bride by Moonlight
Avon / February 26, 2013 / $7.99 print, $6.64 digital

Royden Napier, Baron Saint-Bryce, is tall, dark, and ruthless—and on the hunt for a dangerous beauty . . .

On the eve of her escape to the Continent, bold, beautiful Lisette Colburne accepts a proposal she dare not refuse: masquerade as the future bride of the steely-eyed Royden Napier and help him solve his most dangerous case. Soon Lisette is in even greater danger—of losing her heart to the one man with the power to destroy her . . .

Estranged from his aristocratic family, the enigmatic Napier has forged a reputation as Scotland Yard's most relentless police commissioner. He's vowed to bring Lisette to justice—but with every forbidden kiss and every tantalizing touch, he finds himself becoming less convinced of her guilt . . . and more certain he must have her. But when danger touches Lisette, can he save her?

I love so many things about Liz Carlyle's  writing: her rich description, her fascinating characters, her sense of humor, her intricate plotting. You get all of that in A Bride by Moonlight, Royden Napier and Elisabeth Colburne's story in the St. James Society series.

This book revolves around a mystery (or two—possibly three). Reading it is like playing an enjoyable game of Clue.

It begins with Napier being sent to his ancestral home where two deaths have recently occurred. Warned that due to the deaths he's now Baron Saint-Bryce and marked for marriage by his aunt, he takes Elizabeth with him as a faux fiancée. It's sort of a stretch but, ultimately, it works to bring these two together.

Elizabeth immediately gets right into the spirit of the visit:

But as he passed into his bedchamber, the door flew open and Miss Colburne darted in, slamming it shut behind, her odd green-blue eyes alight with what could only be described as burning curiosity. “Well,” she said, leaning back to set her palms flat against the wood, “who do you think did it?”

Well, who do we think did it?

Lord Duncaster in the gun room with a…gun?

He pushed the door wide on deeply groaning hinges and they stepped into a vaulted, almost castle-like chamber the walls of which were lined with a diverse assortment of guns, swords, battle axes and even a couple of wicked pikes crossed almost decoratively above an immense stone fireplace…
Napier cleared his throat. “I beg your pardon, sir,” he said from the doorway. “You wished to see us?”

Cordelia in the bed chamber with poison (or maybe a pillow)?

Duncaster drew back. “What that rambling nonsense about Hep thinking himself poisoned?”
“Poisoned?” Napier echoed. “He said that to you?”
“Oh, Good Lord! He said it to anyone who would listen,” declared the viscount. “Claimed Cordelia was trying to kill him! Some days it was smothering, some days poisoning. He had gone round the bend, I tell you.”

Gwyneth in the dining room with her tongue?

The only person even vaguely impressed was Lord Duncaster who sat, regal and imperious, at the head of his table, while Gwyneth Tarelton made snide remarks about Lord Hepplewood's pending marriage.
It was enough to cast a pall over the entire room, which was rather a feat since the ceilings soared twenty feet high. By the end of the meal, Diana Jeffers was staring at her plate, her face bloodless. Lady Hepplewood was staring mostly at Gwyneth—or rather, shooting daggers at her—and her visage held plenty of color.

Diana in the fireplace with a kettle?

Musing on it, Lisette bent down and picked up an oddly pierced kettle that hung from a long hook in the firebox. “This is lovely,” she remarked.
“Isn't it?” said Diana, sorting out her scraps. “Saint-Bryce—Gyneth's father, I mean—brought it home from his travels in the Orient—or was it Africa? He was a great traveler in his youth. I don't know what the thing's purpose was—some heathen ceremony, no doubt—but we found it useful for steaming herbs.”

The culprit in the tower with a knife?

Later, looking back on it, she wondered if she'd known even then something was terribly wrong. Something—an awful sound—caused her to turn abruptly. In that instant, her hair whipped back to reveal the terrified face of Felicity Willet. Blood trickled from her temple as she crouched, whimpering against the crumbling wall.

Oh, no. I'm not going to reveal the denouement of the mystery. You'll find it worth your while to follow the clues yourself. And to enjoy the burgeoning romance between Napier and Elizabeth. I think the clues above might give you a taste of the excellent writing you'll enjoy during the game.


Myretta is a founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a pretty big Jane Austen web site. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, www.myrettarobens.com and on Twitter @Myretta.

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Katy Cooper
1. katy.madellio
Avon has some earlier Carlyle titles on sale for $0.99 -- in a fit of gimme, I bought them all. So far, I'm enjoying them very much, for the reasons Myretta lists.

I luuuuurve finding someone whose writing I like.
Deb Marlowe
2. Deb Marlowe
I LOVE this book. It does remind me a little of Clue, or a Downton Abbey murder mystery...
Myretta Robens
3. Myretta
I didn't realize you hadn't read Liz before, Katy or I would have recommended her to you earlier. Her use of language is really wonderful.
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