Ivyand her three sisters were friends with Queen Victoria before she was even thought of as a possible ruler. Now, they are all grown up and Victoria has come to rely on the Sunderland sisters as her secret servants sending them on missions of importance to her.
Ivy has been asked to locate a rare stone that Victoria has been given by her secret suitor, Albert of Saxe-Coburg. She doesn’t want him to know it was taken by one of her ladies in waiting. She just wants it returned. Victoria knows who took it and knows this lady’s brother is looking for a science assistant. Scholarly Ivy would be perfect, if she can play the role of a boy!
Simon de Burgh, Marquess of Harrow, is experimenting with electricity. He needs to find an assistant to help him with his experiments and is giving a challenge at nearby Cambridge. As easy as it sounds, he’s tried three times and not found someone who shows the passion he requires. This all changes when Ned Ivers takes the challenge.
Ivy is in the Burgh house as Ned but Simon’s sister is not. Did she leave this stone somewhere in the house? Has she even been there since she fled London? And what is going to happen when, not if, Simon realizes that Ned is female? Will it matter? With young assistants from Cambridge being murdered, it might.
This is the second book in Her Majesty’s Secret Servants series. You do not need to read the first book to thoroughly enjoy this one. Ivy’s adventures are not anywhere near her sisters and only her new brother-in-law makes a memorable appearance. Yet, you are given a glimpse into the future in the last chapter so you do get to see everyone.
Ivy’s character is very well done. She loves science and loves the freedom she is enjoying as a male. However, she also has problems with learning how to wear pants, which feels like her petticoats getting tangled around her legs. Simon has been happily married before. He doesn’t want to feel love as it hurts. Yet, he feels drawn to this new assistant. When he looks closely, he discovers her secret and is torn between what he should do and what he wants to do.
There is a bit of a mystery going on. Young men are being killed and the suspected weapon closely resembles the stone that was taken from the queen! Who would want to kill these promising young scientists? Solving this mystery before Ivy is targeted isn’t going to be easy and the culprit isn’t who anyone would have suspected.
Once again I fell in love with these independent women who make up her majesty’s secret servants. They have ambition and skills while they also maintain their feminine side. Though they live in a rigid society, they bend the rules governing it as far as they can, showing that women can make excellent spies and can fulfill undercover missions.
I found this story extremely entertaining. From the characters to the situations to figuring out who did what, I found myself not wanting to put down this book. This story gives a fresh, unique feel to the romantic historical and gives peeks into the society that feel realistic and possible.
Even after things seem to have been concluded, the next book is set up and you’re ready to begin again.
A precious gem gifted to Queen Victoria by her secret beau has been stolen, and Her Majesty believes it has been delivered into the hands of the Marquess of Harrow. Ivy Sutherland's task is to assume the role of science student, "Ned Ivers", win the Marquess's trust, and recover the stone. But when Simon de Burgh, Marquess of Harrow-and a lonely widower-discovers "Ned" is actually a woman, he is unable to resist his growing desire for her.