The Mayfair Affair: An Interview and Giveaway with Tracy Grant

Mayfair*Photo credit: www.raphaelcoffey.com

I first picked up one of Tracy Grant’s books at the Charlottesville “Festival of the Book” three years ago.  I was so excited to hear Lauren Willig and Deanna Raybourn speak that I got to the book store slightly (an hour and a half) early.  I passed the time by browsing for books, and I happened across a copy of Tracy’s Vienna Waltz.  I recognized Tracy’s name for the “If You Like” posts on Lauren’s website, and I read the first two chapters while I waited for Lauren’s event to begin.  I was hooked.

Tracy was kind enough to participate in an interview on my blog in September of last year, and I am so glad she is back today!  Her newest book, The Mayfair Affair, is now available in the wild, and so we’re going to chat a bit about it, her series, and writing in general.

The Mayfair Affair is your fifth book about Suzanne and Malcolm Rannoch. Do you have a master plan for the series, or are you following your ideas wherever they take you?

I don’t have a master plan but there are certain plot points I know I want to hit. For instance I knew for a long time I’d do a book about Laura Dudley being accused of murder, I knew Laura was hiding things, I knew certain plot developments that occur in The Mayfair Affair. But I’m constantly surprised, in a good way, by how the characters and series evolve, so I keep it flexible. I’m having fun now delving into the next book, which goes in some directions I had in mind and some new ones.

One thing that I really enjoy about your books is the way that you shift perspective. Is there a character whose point of view is easier for you to write than the others?

Both Suzanne’s and Malcolm’s POVs come pretty easily to me and now I know them so well that starting a new books is like sitting down with old friends (though they can still surprise me, which is cool). Laura Dudley was fairly easy for me to write in this book as well. I started out mostly writing Raoul O’Roarke from other characters’ POVs, but I get into his head quite a bit in The Mayfair Affair, and I enjoyed writing from his perspective.

What kind of historical details do you most enjoy researching and writing about? Is it the clothes, the food, the social structure? Something else entirely?

I do enjoy the clothes! I love fashion, both historical and contemporary :-). I also love setting details – sights, sounds, smells, tastes. I love it when I can find a few details that bring a setting to life, like the tang of extinguished candles, the scratchy soot in the London air, the smell of the oranges being sold in the Covent Garden Theatre lobby. I also love writing about the political and diplomatic intrigue.

I play this game when I watch musicals (only that genre, weirdly enough) where I cast myself as one of the minor characters. For example, if I were in Rent, I’d be Mark’s mom. If you could cast yourself as one of the ensemble characters in your series, who would you be and why?

Before The Mayfair Affair I’d have said Laura Dudley, but in Mayfair she becomes a central character. Maybe Juliette Dubretton – she’s juggling being a writer and a mother like me, and she’s definitely one the ensemble characters I enjoy writing.

One of the great things about reading historical fiction is watching the way that authors write interactions between their original characters and historical figures. Your books are full of wonderful moments like this. Has there ever been a historical figure you were excited or nervous about including in a novel?

It’s always both exciting and nerve-wracking to try to put words in a real historical figure’s mouth I was particularly nervous and excited about Talleyrand, who plays a major role in Vienna Waltz and The Paris Affair, because he’s such a towering figure. But I actually found it quite easy to write his dialogue and even the moments I did from his POV. It’s always a bit of dilemma to involve real historical figures in fictional events. I try to only have real historical figures do things they might conceivably have done (for instance I wouldn’t involve someone known to be a faithful spouse in a fictional adulterous love affair). Talleyrand was a master schemer, and I debated how far I could have him go in my fictional schemes. I think I hit on a balance that was true to the complex man he is.

Your series has expanded to include three novellas now. Are there aspects of writing these shorter stories that you find particularly appealing?

I think in terms of complex plots and lots of characters so writing in a shorter form can be challenging for me. But I love writing novellas as part of a larger series. They are a great way to dramatize moments from the characters’ pasts, like Malcolm and Suzanne’s wedding in His Spanish Bride or Suzanne’s first visit to London in the recent London Interlude or to depict important developments that take place between books, like the birth of their daughter Jessica in The Paris Plot

I know that lots of readers like to imagine the perfect Hollywood cast as they read through a book. Do you think about who you would like to see on the big screen as Suzanne or Malcolm?

When I first started writing the series they were a young David Duchovny (early X-Files) and Elizabeth Hurley (as she was in one of the Sharpe episodes). When I saw Casino Royale, I thought Daniel Craig and Eva Green would work well. If the books were filmed now (well, I can dream :-), you’d need somewhat younger actors. Maybe Emily Blunt and Benedict Cumberbatch? I love hearing readers’ casting suggestions – it’s a way of seeing my characters through someone else’s eyes.

Do you ever get a wild urge to write something from a complete different genre, like a fantasy novel or a modern thriller? If you do, what genre do you think you’d try?

Not really. I love writing mysteries with a strong historical background and romantic elements, and I love my characters and the writing in the world I’ve created for them.

Do you have a favorite “comfort book”?

Venetia by Georgette Heyer, Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers, and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King.

What is your favorite aspect of life as an author?

Making up stories and sharing them with readers. Sometimes playing dolls with my daughter I think “this is still what I get to do, only I write the stories down instead of acting them out with dolls.” How cool a job is that?

A very cool job for sure, Tracy! Thank you so much for spending the time with us today and answering all my questions. For more information on Tracy, The Mayfair Affair, and all of Tracy’s great work, you can visit her website at http://www.tracygrant.org/.

And now, dear readers, Tracy has a gift for you. She has agreed to give away an e-copy of her new release The Mayfair Affair to a commenter on today’s blog. If you are the lucky winner, you can let us know what e-book platform you prefer.

You can enter up to three times for this giveaway, and the contest will be open until midnight EST on May 21. Here’s how you can enter:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
  3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck!

The Mayfair Affair

Mayfair

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I am fiercely devoted to a handful of authors that I found through Lauren’s website and her “If You Like” posts. One of my absolute favorites is Tracy Grant, author of a historical mystery series set in Napoleonic France featuring the husband-and-wife spy team Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch. The first book Tracy published with Kensington for this series, Vienna Waltz, is fabulous. If you haven’t tried it, add it to your reading list! I promise you won’t regret it.

Today, Tracy is a guest on Lauren’s website with an “If You Like” post of her own. We just finished talking about governess books, thanks to our re-read of The Orchid Affair. Tracy’s latest novel in her series, The Mayfair Affair, has a governess at the heart of the action – Laura Dudley, caretaker of Malcolm and Suzanne’s children, who is found standing over the body of the murdered Duke of Trenchard. In her post on Lauren’s site today, Tracy talks a bit about her newest release and then recommends a few governess books that she enjoys. Head over to Lauren’s site and take a look! And if you follow Deanna Raybourn’s blog, be on the lookout for a post from Tracy there as well. That post will be live tomorrow.

I’m also very pleased to say that Tracy will be paying another visit to the Bubble Bath Reader next week – on May 18th, she will be stopping by to answer a few questions and to give away a copy of The Mayfair Affair to a lucky reader. Make sure you check in for a chance to win!

Top Five Friday: Best Books of 2014

I only get to sneak my “Top Five Friday” posts in occasionally these days, since the Pink for All Seasons recaps generally happen on Fridays. But I finished my GoodReads 2014 Challenge on Wednesday (with only hours to spare), so I’ve been thinking about all the books I read in 2014.

Do you use GoodReads? If you do, it’s fun to look at your stats about what you read. I know that I read 85 books in 2014, but GoodReads tells me that I read a total of 26,865 pages. Of all the books I read, I rated seven books as 5 stars and also seven as 2 stars. No books in 2014 got a 1 star rating – how excellent. The vast majority of the books I read were mysteries, and then several of my other categories (like books about India, fairy-tale inspired books, and nonfiction) were tied for second place. The majority of the books I read were published after 2000, and the oldest book I read was Around the World in Eighty Days (published in 1873). Maybe it’s nerdy of me to think that’s interesting, but I definitely do!

Looking back over everything I’ve read this year, I’ve come up with my Top Five list for 2014 reads. I’m excluding everything written by Lauren Willig, since I cover that pretty extensively in Pink for All Seasons. Here they are!

thousand stars 1. Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn. Don’t get me wrong or come after me with your torch and pitchforks. I love Lady Julia, but Deanna’s standalone novels from 2013 and 2014 are what put her on my list of favorite authors. A Spear of Summer Grass made my 2013 list, and she’s absolutely at the top of this year with Night of a Thousand Stars. Deanna has a gift for hooking you with her first lines. This story is no exception. Have a look: “I say, if you’re running away from your wedding, you’re going about it quite wrong.” When we meet Poppy, our heroine, for the first time, she is literally paused with one leg over a window sill in the process of bolting from her wedding. I loved this book. Poppy was funny and spunky, the setting was exotic, the mystery had a great pace, and Deanna’s storytelling is absolutely on point. I gulped this book down in two sittings and loved every page of it. Yes, it has connections to the Lady Julia series and also to A Spear of Summer Grass and City of Jasmine, but you can read this one and still thoroughly enjoy it without having read the others.
 every secret 2. Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley (writing as Emma Cole). This book is different from Susanna’s projects of the last few years. Kate Murray is a journalist who is covering a high-profile court case when she witnesses a terrible accident. A stranger is hit by a car and killed only moments after he tells her that he has a story she could research – a story that stretches back to World War II and a killer who has managed to hide his crimes for decades. As Kate begins to trace the stranger’s past, she finds an unexpected connection to her own family, and she realizes that she is placing both the people who are close to her and the people who can help her in serious danger. The story flickers between Kate’s research in the present day and flashbacks to the 1940s in Canada, the US, UK and Lisbon. I really enjoy stories about World War II, but somehow this one hit me on an extremely personal level. The mystery was excellent (I did NOT see the end coming), the period detail is flawless, and if you are a fan of Mary Stewart novels, you will really appreciate this one.
 cress 3. Cress by Marissa Meyer. This is the third book in Marissa’s Lunar Chronicles series that began in 2012 with Cinder. In the Lunar Chronicles, Marissa creates a futuristic world where the citizens of Earth have been brought to the brink of war by a devastating plague, the threat of invasion from the Lunars (who live on the moon), and a tangle of international and intergalactic politics. Cress is a Rapunzel story, but instead of a beautiful princess locked in a tower by a witch, we have a young girl trapped in a satellite orbiting earth by an evil queen. Cress has been watching the situation between Earth and Luna deteriorate for years, and with nothing but computers and television for company, she has grown sympathetic to Earth’s cause. When an opportunity comes to be rescued from her satellite, she jumps at it, although she learns quickly that Earth is not the welcoming sanctuary it has always appeared from several thousand miles away. In this book, Marissa does a great job of bringing together several different plot lines she created earlier in the series, and I cannot wait to see how she will move the story forward. Cress stood out to me as the best in the series so far, and I feel like Marissa is preparing us for an unbelievable ride in Winter (due to be released in November 2015).
 Princess 4. A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi. In this book, Gayatri tells the story of her life in India, and it is fascinating. She lived in a time of unbelievable change – the India from the days of her childhood is so incredibly different from the India she knew as an adult. She grew up as the daughter of a Maharaja and became the third wife of the Maharaja of Jaipur after a secret six-year courtship. She was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she was the last Maharani that Jaipur would ever see. After Partition, Gayatri Devi ran for Parliament in 1962. She won her seat by the largest landslide in the history of democratic elections, confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records. Her story is fascinating, and her descriptions of both day-to-day life and political events are wonderful. I don’t read many memoirs or biographies, but this one was wonderful.
 fortune2 5. The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin. This story is based on true events from the lives of Charlotte Baird, Bay Middleton, and Empress Elizabeth of Austria. It’s a great period piece, and it will satisfy that part of your soul that wants to watch Downton Abbey and drink tea in your pajamas all day. I wrote a full review for NetGalley back in May, if you want more details.

 

So there you have it – my favorite books from 2014. What were the best books you read last year?

Giveaway Winner and Pink II Week 3 Recap

Happy Friday! Before I hand this post over to Erin, I’d like to announce the winner of the Night of a Thousand Stars giveaway from Deanna Raybourn – it’s Betty Strohecker! Betty, if you will email your address to ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I will make sure Deanna knows where to send your prize. Big thanks again to Deanna for such a fun interview, and thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway (there were over 40 of you!). Again, I wish I had a prize to give everyone, but keep coming back! More giveaways are in our future. And now, I will pass the mic to Erin for our Friday Pink recap.

All right everybody, it’s that time again, time for the Pink II week 3 recap! When we left our dynamic duo, Miles was well and truly kissing Hen. Then he proceeded to ignore her for a week. Probably the best way to piss Henrietta off. So Hen decides to fly off to the country and consult with Amy, that and attend their Spy School disguised as a weekend at the country. Of course Miles is there since he is Richard’s best friend, and Hen storms off into the garden and wrecks the place by knocking over the statues. Since she is in the garden anyway what does she see but the Monk of Donwell Abbey slinking into the house. But ghosts don’t have feet so it can be none other than the French spy, The Black Tulip. It all comes to naught because the Tulip gets away. The party continues with some heightened security and Hen is convinced to sing. And sing she does – straight to Miles. He is already having a hard time keeping Henrietta in the “Best Friend’s Sister Box” and the aria busts the box wide open.

Commence the walk in the park and Hen following Miles out to confront him about why he has been acting like a dunce. It quickly deteriorates and the pair are soon in a passionate embrace where Henrietta’s bodice somehow comes undone. Of course enter Richard and soon after the parson (actually it’s the Bishop of London but semantics really – the end is the same). Henrietta and Miles are MARRIED!!! Maybe not in the dream wedding that Hen had pictured, and she’s not really sure what her parents are going to say, but married just the same and to her person. Since Miles is not allowed at Selwick Hall anymore they leave straight after the wedding and head back to London. They stop for a bite and who do they run into but Turnip, and he will not leave them alone. The entire ride Hen is thinking that she can sacrifice her possible happiness and get an annulment with Miles if he doesn’t really want to be married to her. At their pit stop Henrietta also finds out that their friend Lord Vaughn is also partaking of the coach stop. Fast forward to the chase scene….Miles and Hen galloping down the road being shot at by a mysterious coach who is a very good shot. Miles does some excellent driving and manages to evade the coach and it goes careening into cabbage, yes I said cabbage. Loved it. We come to the end of the chapter with Miles and Hen pulling up to Loring House. Well he couldn’t take her to his bachelor lodgings, that would be havey cavey, or to Uppington House, so he takes her to their new home. They decide that they are not getting an annulment, but Miles’ declaration of lukewarm affections leaves something to be desired. “Give me more love or more disdain, the torrid or the frozen zone,” Henrietta thinks as Miles is imparting his words of wisdom, something she had never quite understood till now and I have to agree. It does end well though with Miles sweeping Hen into his arms and over the threshold.

And I bet you thought I had forgot Eloise – I didn’t. We left her getting ready for the drinks at Donwell Abbey with Joan. We join them in the drawing room and Eloise stuck with the vicar like Joan had threatened, but he is a young hip vicar who drinks gin. Not the worst thing to be stuck with. We also meet Sally, Joan’s sister, who is very un-Joan like. She and Collin decide to show Eloise more of Donwell Abbey. Colin and Eloise are left in the cloisters by themselves and “every nerve in my body was on man-alert screaming ‘Incoming!’” And her phone rings and ruins the moment and then Sally returns. Colin departs and Eloise is left with her tour guide and “Just here for the archives?” So are Eloise and Collin really going to happen? Will Miles and Hen be happy and make it work? Is Lord Vaughn the Black Tulip? So many questions, I guess we will have to keep reading to find out. But fear not, we are almost to the end of our journey and the questions will be answered. Till next time…

If You Like Pink II…

Welcome to all the new faces who found their way to The Bubblebath Reader thanks to the interview with Deanna Raybourn. I hope you’ll keep coming back after the giveaway winner is announced – I’m hoping to do an author interview for each month of Pink for All Seasons, and many of these authors will be those whose books I found thanks to Lauren Willig.

Speaking of Lauren, did you see her exciting Teaser Tuesday announcement yesterday? Joy of joys, a Pink novella will be preceding the release of The Lure of the Moonflower next August. The novella, titled The Pink Carnation in Love, will be released in June. According to Lauren’s post, it will take place in Venice and feature Jane and the Chevalier de la Tour d’Argent. I noticed in the comments section of her announcement that she says the novella will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 pages – just enough to tide us over until August.

In the meantime, if you’re ahead of the game and finished with The Masque of the Black Tulip, you may be looking for similar books to read. Lauren has a list of “If You Like” books that may appeal to you if you loved Miles and Hen – check it out.

On Friday, Erin will return with the penultimate recap post for Pink II. Happy reading!

An Interview and a Giveaway with Deanna Raybourn

Happy Monday, everyone!  It gives me great pleasure to announce that we have a very special guest with us today – the fabulous Deanna Raybourn, author of the Lady Julia mystery series and four stand alone novels.

deannathousand stars

I discovered Deanna’s work when I drove to Charlottesville, VA in 2012 to hear Lauren Willig speak in a panel discussion called “Pistols, Petticoats and Poisons: Researching History to Writing Historical Fiction.”  The other authors on the panel were Joanna Bourne, Cathy Maxwell and Deanna Raybourn.  I was freaking out about having a chance to meet Lauren, and Jo and Cathy were a treat, but when Deanna started quoting Madeline Kahn’s best monologue from Clue, I knew I would be in her tribe.  Since my first reading of Silent in the Grave, I’ve been pushing Deanna’s books into the hands of anyone who asked me for recommendations.  Her stand alone novel A Spear of Summer Grass was one of the best books I read in 2013.  And just so you know, if you’re not following Deanna on Twitter, then you are using Twitter incorrectly.  Today, Deanna has taken a break from working on the first book in her upcoming Veronica Speedwell series to answer some questions about herself and her writing.

Deanna, do you have any unique talents or hobbies? 

None whatsoever, but I have been bitten by both a tiger cub and a ferret, so apparently I’m tasty…

What are five of your favorite things?

Five favorite meals: Tex-Mex combination plate, full English breakfast, proper Southern fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, and tapas with a nice Tempranillo. And I just realized that is a LOT of food.

If you stopped writing books (please don’t), what would you do for a living?

I haven’t the faintest idea; I taught high school English and history for three years, but I wasn’t terribly good at it, and I was written up for being insubordinate at every other job I’ve ever had. I would actually be quite good at running a stately home, I think. I find the challenges of maintaining a historic property and balancing its needs against the demands of modern life to be deeply fascinating. I guess that means I’d look into professional duchessing. (And not writing simply isn’t an option for me. I’d wither.)

If I took a sneak peek into your writing space, what would I find?

It is small and pink with a chandelier and a pale blue ceiling. The shelves are stuffed with books—favorites and reference, and I always have a collage relating to my current manuscript hanging opposite my desk. There are also always a few tactile bits on my desk for inspiration—a replica lion’s tooth when I was writing A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS, a boxing nun called Sister Mary Pugnacious when I’m feeling testy. Right now I have a Funko POP Maleficent that my daughter gave me for my birthday. She appreciates my dark side.

If you were having a dinner party, and you could invite 6 characters (other than yours) to attend, who would you pick?

I would only invite Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and it would be an intimate dinner for two. I’d get Lucy Eyelesbarrow to cook, Bunter to serve, and Julian Kestrel to drop by and sing for our entertainment. That leaves me two characters to invite to dinner another night—probably Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes. I’d love to see him tearing his hair out when she starts dithering about the gill of shrimps.

You always create a really fascinating cast of supporting characters in your novels – I’m thinking particularly of Aunt Dove here!  Do you have a favorite of these characters to write?  If you could give any of these characters their own novel, which one would it be?

Aunt Dove, hands down. Her story is so intriguing to me—and because I didn’t have to tell it completely in CITY OF JASMINE, I was able just to throw in these ridiculously dramatic tidbits about what she’s been up to her whole life. She is just a swirling cauldron of trouble in all the best ways, and she did actually help inspire the heroine of my current project. I had initially planned a much more staid sort of person, but as soon as I thought about writing an Aunt Dove type of character, that’s the minute I knew I finally “got” her. Writing about an adventuresome, intrepid woman who was doing the unexpected is just so much more fun than writing someone who was doing as she was told. Luckily for me, there are loads of real-life inspirations in history for just that sort of woman—Lady Hester Stanhope, Jane Digby, Mary Kingsley, Freya Stark, Gertrude Bell, Isabella Bishop, etc.

How important are the names of the characters in your books? Do you choose names based on their sound or meaning, or something else entirely?

The names are very important to me and almost always have some sort of coded meaning. For instance, in every book I’ve ever written there has been a name used in homage to Agatha Christie. (The heroine of THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST was called Theodora Lestrange as a tribute to her.) I called my hero in A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS Ryder White because he’s a game hunter—and it’s a deliberate joke because he’s actually a terrible “great white hunter.” He wants to leave hunting and focus on conservation, so he’s really the antithesis of what the phrase means.

What is an interesting fact or subject you’ve come across in your research that you haven’t yet included in your books?

That there was actually a lesbian collective in mid-Victorian London that was so organized it actually had its own newspaper.

What books do you recommend to readers who enjoy your work?

Anything by Elizabeth Peters, Victoria Holt, Tasha Alexander, Lauren Willig, Tracy Grant, Susanna Kearsley.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m hard at work on the first book in my brand new Victorian mystery series for NAL/Penguin! It features a very intrepid butterfly-hunting heroine and a sidekick who is a little rough around the edges…I’m having a wonderful time writing it, and I think it’s going to be just as much fun for readers. We will be able to announce a title and release date soon, but fingers are crossed for the autumn of 2015.

If readers would like to learn more about you and your work, how would they do that?

My website: www.deannaraybourn.com (twice-weekly blog; newsletter sign-up on the right-hand sidebar of the blog)

Twitter: @deannaraybourn

FB: https://www.facebook.com/deannaraybournauthor

Don’t you wish you could have a glass of wine with Deanna and ask her for more details about being bitten by a tiger?  Deanna has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of Night of a Thousand Stars to a lucky reader of today’s interview. To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below. You have until midnight EST on October 23 to enter. I will announce the winner on Friday.

Want to earn extra entries for this giveaway? You can enter up to three times. Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
  3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck! And thank you again, Deanna, for sharing your time with us today.

Release Day Tomorrow, and “Ask the Author” with Lauren Willig

thousand stars

Tomorrow is the last day of September, so Lauren Willig will be stopping by the blog to answer any questions we have about The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. Then on Wednesday, we’ll start Masque of the Black Tulip. I can’t believe it’s almost October!

Tomorrow is also a big day for book releases. Deanna Raybourn’s latest novel, Night of a Thousand Stars, will be available for purchase. Deanna is another author that I found thanks to Lauren’s website. Her Lady Julia historical mysteries were a treat, but my favorite book of hers is A Spear of Summer Grass – a novel set in Kenya in the 1920s, published around the same time as Lauren’s Ashford Affair. If you’ve never read anything by Deanna, her e-novellas are available on Kindle and Nook at super-low prices.

Here’s what Harlequin MIRA has to say about Night of a Thousand Stars:

On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat’s wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing—she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father’s quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems.

With only her feisty lady’s maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita—east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan—one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.

I’ve got my copy preordered!