Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Set in 1930’s, England, Her Royal Spyness is a fictional suspense novel featuring the lesser known members of the Royal Family. As the first book in the series, author Rhys Bowen introduces the main characters and explains their backgrounds, relationships, and financial circumstances during an economic slump affecting all castes of English society. During these rough times, the upper-class still depend on their servants, even though recent advancements, such as telephones and vacuum cleaners, are becoming more popular. The central theme of Her Royal Spyness is the universal belief that members of the upper-class, especially royalty, should never lower themselves to menial labor. Even if finances are strained, nobility should always show dignity and grace.

Summary

Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is the only daughter of the Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch, as well as a granddaughter of the late Queen Victoria. As thirty-fourth in line for the throne, Georgiana is expected to marry into a foreign royal family and be a dutiful wife. With no skills besides dance, dinner parties, and passable French, Georgiana, at twenty-one, is a burden to her family. With no marriage prospects in sight and very little money to her name, Georgiana escapes from her family’s Scotland castle to London in the hopes of getting a job.

As she learns how to live without servants catering to her needs, Georgiana returns home from her first business adventure to find a man’s body submerged in her bathtub. To make matter’s worse, she immediately recognizes him as a Frenchman trying to blackmail her older brother, the current duke, into giving away their castle.

To clear her family’s name, Georgiana must cast aside her royal blood (while simultaneously protecting it) and delve into the world of commoners. As she scours London for information, the already clumsy Georgiana is suffering from an unusual number of accidents. Could she be the killer’s next target?

Pros

  • A spunky heroine who recognizes her fears, but has the bravery to overcome them.
  • A wide variety of eclectic characters.
  • Light reading – nothing too fancy.
    • The wording is simple and easy to understand.
    • A quick, but entertaining read.
  • Even nobility can have money problems.

Cons

  • Sex is a prevalent topic but has no bearing on the actual story.
    • Georgiana’s friends are constantly trying to convince her to lose her virginity, even if it’s with a complete stranger. Georgiana turns it into a big joke, which sends a dangerous message to younger readers.
  • The conclusion was pretty obvious halfway through the book.
  • There was no detective work. Georgiana just bumbled along until she accidentally found a clue.
  • A running joke is that the police are useless and stupid.

My Rating

Her Royal Spyness is the perfect before-bed or rainy day book. It’s quick, simple, and humorous. However, because of the Cons I mentioned above, my overall rating falls to 3.5 out of 5 stars.