“An Affair with Mr. Kennedy” by Jillian Stone is the sensual debut novel in her series ‘The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard’. This offering is from a talented author who presents an engaging story about a Scotland Yard inspector, Zeno Augustus Kennedy (Zak), who is doggedly following leads to discover the perpetrators of a plot to use dynamite and other explosives to achieve an attack upon the government. A serendipitous leasing of his property to an attractive widow named Cassandra St. Cloud (Cassie) leads to a conflict between professional and personal concerns as she seems to have ties to one of the ringleaders. Cassandra is unconventional, particularly due to the fact that both parents are physicians and her mother has inculcated her fervor for women’s rights in her receptive offspring. A strong artistic talent, a secret vice for cigars and a mother who advocates safe sex all combine to add to Cassie’s allure for the dedicated detective. Zak is torn between acknowledging his tenant’s ability to be an independent woman and his desire to keep her safe from harm during the course of his dangerous investigation. Cassie is not sure she wants to allow somebody new into her heart but feels an undeniably carnal attraction to her intense landlord although they may not both survive to explore the depths of their mutual desires.
An intriguing story that melds many historical details in an enjoyable tale of suspense and passion. There are interesting asides (such as the disturbing fact that some dreary painting of his mother allows the artist James Whistler to supplant Cassie’s position in a gallery), a different look at the machinations of politics and the ease with which one can be coerced to support an opposing view, and glimpses of British society of the late 1800s. The secondary characters are also engaging and one certainly hopes to see more of Zak’s able helpers as well as Cassie’s eccentric and brilliant brother. A great start to an inventive series from a fresh new voice.
London, 1887. Part stoic gentleman, part fearless Yard man, Zeno “Zak” Kennedy is an enigma of the first order. For years, the memory of a deadly bombing at King’s Cross has haunted the brilliant Scotland Yard detective. His investigation has zeroed in on a ring of aristocratic rebels whose bloody campaign for Irish revolution is terrorizing the city. When he discovers one of the treacherous lords is acquainted with his free-spirited new tenant, Cassandra St. Cloud, his inquiry pulls him unexpectedly close to the heart of the conspiracy—and into the arms of a most intriguing lady. Cassie is no Victorian prude. An impressionist painter with very modern ideas about life and love, she is eager for a romantic escapade that is daring and discreet. She sets her sights on her dour but handsome landlord, but after she learns their meeting was not purely accidental, she hardly has a chance to forgive her lover before their passionate affair catapults them both into a perilous adventure.