Overall a pleasant intro to a new mystery series. I think people who like Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily series
will like it. Reminiscent of that series, except I think Alexander is the better writer.
The political intrigue in this book is very much evident, which I usually adore. However, I found myself impatient at points in the story. I think the shenanigans the villains were up too and all the betrayals and counter betrayals felt a tick over-plotted.
I also think the dialogue came off as too clever for itself. There were too many occasions when every person spoke in heavy-handed metaphor. Especially food metaphors.
I also thought the author did too much telling and not enough showing with Arianna's character. She grew up in the West Indies with her father, a disgraced Earl, in exile and they were poor. She tells Saybrook often that she had to fend for herself or that she'd "been to hell and back" or she "has no heart" and lots of other oblique references to a hard background. The problem for me is that it all came off as sounding somewhat unconvincing, like she was just mouthing the words. Arianna would throw out some bit of dialogue about how hard she's had it and that would be it. However, the book was curiously absent of anything that described in detail exactly what
Arianna's life was like or exactly what she did growing up since she was 14.
Over-plotting and prosaic dialogue aside, the book's strength is in the characters of Arianna and Saybrook. Their interaction alone rescued the story and kept me reading.