Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?
I am a long time fan of Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series so I was excited to try something different from her. I was not disappointed! Far from the humorous adventures of the Pink Carnation's compatriots, this is a historical mystery that kept me guessing until the end!
The story vacillates from the past to the present, finally meeting in the middle as the murder is solved much differently that I expected! The characters are well crafted, as are the elements of their lives, helping to create the tension and make you wonder what really happened! I was interested from beginning to end, and still not entirely convinced about how the ending truly stands.
I gave this a 5/5, I definitely need to read more of Lauren Willig's non-Carnation books!