I’m well on my way of kicking butt on my NetGalley/Edelweiss/non-blog tour “clean slate” goal. I’m trying to finish all books I received from these outlets in exchange for my honest review before 2021. Recently, I devoured A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins, a book that I was expecting to like, but ended up LOVING!

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The summary, from Amazon:

“[Manda] Collins is a delight” (Elizabeth Hoyt) in this fun and flirty historical rom-com, where an intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective — perfect for fans of Tessa Dare, Julia Quinn, and Netflix’s Enola Holmes!
England, 1865Newspaper columnist Lady Katherine Bascomb finds herself the subject of speculation when her latest article leads to an arrest in the murders plaguing London. The English believe women ought not to write about such vulgar things as crime, and a particularly attractive detective inspector is incensed that she’s interfered with his investigation. To escape her sudden notoriety, Katherine heads to the country-only to witness a murder upon her arrival.
Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham is appalled when Lady Katherine entangles herself in one of his cases-again. Her sensationalist reporting already nearly got him kicked off the police force, and he’ll be damned if he permits her to meddle a second time. Yet, her questions are awfully insightful, and he can’t deny his attraction to both her beauty and brains. As the clues point to a dangerous criminal, the two soon realize their best option is working together. But with their focus on the killer lurking in the shadows, neither is prepared for the other risk the case poses-to their hearts.

Preorder A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem here.

I have to admit, I am not thrilled with reading about cops as romantic heroes in 2020. With everything going on in my country at least, I don’t like to think of the police that way. But A Lady’s Guide really did an excellent job with the detective archetype, and I ended up loving this book and Andrew, the hero, so much. I also have to admit I was reticent to read this one because while I love historical romance and I loved the idea of the heroine solving a crime, my name is the same as the heroine (Kate) and I have an asshole ex named Andrew. WHOMP WHOMP. However, much like Kate and Anthony (another ex) from The Viscount Who Loved Me, these two had me completely forgetting about problematic names and falling in love with their love story!

Kate and her employee/friend Caro are awesome, badass, flawed women with feminist views. I also appreciated that Kate has a best guy friend, Val, and that there is nothing romantic going on there. Kate wants to get involved in solving the string of murders in London after she feels an article she has written for her paper has led to major developments in the case. She wants these deadly crimes to stop. However, her article leads to Andrew being taken off the case and the arrest of the wrong man. She is able to own up to the mistake she made, and helps Andrew (who knows he is powerless to stop her, despite his attempts) solve the crimes. Obviously, the two swiftly fall in love in the process after the attraction between them can no longer be denied. However, they are from different social classes, and Kate, a widow with an awful first marriage, never wants to marry again.

The romance was so steamy and sweet, and though it developed quickly, it was so believable. These two were in an intense situation and realize how well they suit. I also liked that we can assume these are characters well into their thirties, based off of the ages of other characters in the story in relation to them. I’ve enjoyed reading about romances between people in their thirties and forties lately, as I recently turned thirty. I want a wildly romantic love story of my own to look forward to!

I loved that Andrew did try to keep Kate safe, but when she made sure to involve herself in the investigation despite his asking her not to, she didn’t keep insisting that she should have stayed home, etc. He knew that she was her own woman and did not intervene. I also appreciate that he was truly a “good cop” character, though he was stern in interviews. He saw the corruption among his peers and sought to bring an end to it, even if he liked one of the individuals involved. This book also addresses the differences between social classes and how the police treat them.

Finally, the plot was excellent. I had bits and pieces of the mystery figured out, but the entire thing came together seamlessly in the end. Manda Collins did a great job with this one. Overall, this was a 5 star read for me. I thank the author, publisher, and Edelweiss for giving me a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

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A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady's Guide, #1)A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book even more than I expected to. With a steamy and romantic love story and excellent plot, what’s not to love? I appreciated that Kate and her friend Caro are strong women with feminist ideals. I also liked that while the hero is a cop (not my favorite archetype with everything going on in the world) he recognizes corruption in the police force and actively works against it. Truly a fun, romantic read!

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