A season for scandal by Laura Wood

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I loved The agency for scandal and when I saw that the second in the series, A season for scandal, had been published I had to read it immediately. Laura Wood has done it again – writing a witty, romantic mystery with wonderful characters and a delightful  background featuring Bloom’s Florist shop and the meaning of flowers.

Marigold Bloom accidentally drops a book on Oliver Lockhart’s head in a bookshop, and bursts into tears with this latest misfortune in her day. Her fiancé has broken off their engagement, his father has propositioned her and put the family business into danger. Oliver gives her a card for the Aviary, an agency to help women in distress, and there she finds not only assistance for her plight, but the chance to become an investigator. Oliver Lockhart needs the help of the Aviary to uncover the truth behind the return of his long-lost sister, and Mari finds herself masquerading as Oliver’s fiancée in his cold Yorkshire castle.

The trope of dark, ill-tempered hero and optimistic heroine is managed with a light hand by Wood. Readers who read The agency for scandal would remember Oliver from there, and it was great to see him gradually being drawn out of his isolation by Mari, who has a sunny nature but is also well organised and a very skilled botanist. The romance takes centre stage, but the mystery is also gripping as Mrs Finch and her detectives try to work out just why Oliver’s newly discovered sister might be a fraud.

I eagerly await the next in the series and continue to read Wood’s backlist. These books are feel-good escapist reads and lovers of mystery and romance are likely to enjoy them and perhaps books by Eva Ibbotson and Georgette Heyer could also be recommended.

Themes: Romance, Mystery, Detectives, Women, Upper classes, Great Britain - 19th century.

Pat Pledger