Published by MIRA on December 29th 2015
“Marrying the lady of his dreams had proved surprisingly easy. Forging the marriage of his dreams…That, apparently was an entirely different challenge.”
FINAL DECISION: Focused on developing a mystery that will play out between four separate novels, this book features a newly married couple working to develop a marriage that satisfies both of them. Deftly focusing on the mystery allows for more harmony between the couple than might be expected, but this allows their relationship to grow rather than be mired in pointless conflict.
THE STORY: Captain Declan Frobisher quickly wooed and wed the woman of his dreams. He knew immediately that she was the one. When a secret mission disrupts his honeymoon, Declan hopes to accomplish his mission and return to his wife in short order. Lady Edwina nee Delbraith (a duke’s daughter and sister of gambling king Neville Roscoe from THE LADY RISKS ALL) is pleased with her husband but as a strong, definite and strategic woman she intends of building a marriage based on a working personal relationship. She has no intention of staying home while her husband sails the seas. She will take risks to show her husband that the two belong side by side.
OPINION: This book is more mystery than romance. The usual romance depicted in similar books happens before this book begins. This book is about the formation of a marriage relationship. That being said, I really like books that are about marriage. There is much drama to be found in two people learning to navigate together and creating a life together instead of merely two lives running parallel. That is what is at the heart of the romance in this book. Declan and Edwina have to discover what one another want and need in their marriage. That requires talking and understanding and compromise from both of them.
Initially, Declan expects a marriage that will feature a lady wife to manage his home and children while he sails the world. This conflicts with Edwina’s vision because she knows that she is not delicate and she is determined to fully share her husband’s life and she intends that the two of them wllll manage their life together. Her adventurous soul attracted Declan to her and his desire to put her in a box to protect her cannot satisfy Edwina.
That being said, the normal drama and conflict is largely missing from this book. These two respect and love one another from the beginning and therefore there is some — but not a lot — of conflict between Declan and Edwina. Instead, there is the beginning of a mystery that will last throughout the four books of the quartet. Therefore, anyone expecting a solution to the mystery will be disappointed. This book is the first part of the mystery. Some secrets are revealed, but there is much left for other couples to discover. Indeed, it is clear that Declan and Edwina still have a part to play in future books. The mystery itself was well developed. Regular readers of Laurens will know that she almost always has a serious mystery element in her books. Here, the mystery takes more prominance than in, for example, the Cynsters series.
This book clearly takes place in the same world that Laurens other novels. Making a prominant appearance is Wolverstone (from the Bastion Club series) and there are mentions of the Black Cobra Quartet. While never overwhelming the current storyline, there are many Easter eggs for fans to find.
The remainder of the series will feature Declan’s brothers and the women they find. This book has to do the heavy work of introducing characters and developing the ongoing storyline. This book accomplishes that while giving readers a different type of romance.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book reminds me of the relationship between Penelope and Barnaby Adair in the Barnaby Adair Mystery series that Laurens also writes. The emphasis on the mystery is also similar to that series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE LADY’S COMMAND is the first book in The Adventurers Quartet. This is a truly connected four book series. Each of the books will build upon the story before and therefore the books are meant to be read together.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own. I also purchased my own copy of this book.