God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen by Rhys Bowen

God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen by Rhys Bowen

Pub Date: October 12, 2021

Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Berkley!)

Summary: Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.

Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.

Newlyweds Lady Georgiana Rannoch and Darcy O’Mara are looking forward to spending their first Christmas together as a married couple and have planned on hosting a holiday party for their friends and family. Before the party can begin, however, Darcy receives a letter from his aunt (along with a royal summons to Georgie from Queen Mary herself) and the house packs up to head to Sandringham.

From the start it’s clear this isn’t going to be the relaxing and festival Christmas Georgie had hoped for. For starters, there are several unexpected guests – including the Prince of Wales and his mistress Wallis Simpson – but things go from bad to worse as several accidents befall the guests, ultimately leaving more than one member of the party dead. Are these nothing more than incredibly unfortunate mishaps? Or are they connected to mysterious deaths that occurred the previous Christmas? Is it possibly a politically-motivated attack on the Prince? It’s clear the Queen intends for Georgie to find out, even if it means risking Darcy’s life.

Any new Rhys Bowen novel is a cause for celebration! Her books are such delights and I always look forward to new installments. God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen is the latest in the Royal Spyness series, bringing the total number of volumes up to 15 – perfect for a good winter binge! Despite the size of the series, newcomers will easily get up to speed: this novel not only reads well as a standalone, but there are multiple callbacks and explanations as to who characters are or how Georgie’s story came to be.

I love a full cast of characters and God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen was fit to burst! There’s the upstairs, the downstairs, the royals, even a few Americans for good measure – and yet there was never any confusion as to who was who. To me they all had their own distinct personalities, their own voices, something virtually required when it comes to a cast list of this size, but that’s Rhys Bowen for you! Also, I always take great pleasure in trying to weed out the villain; there are more than a few red herrings sprinkled throughout the book that I admit I went back and forth a few times before the Big Reveal.

Amongst the Christmas festivities and possible murders in God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen was the very real rise in Hitler’s power, King George V is in declining health, and the fate of the empire will soon fall to the Prince of Wales. The ending of this book made me especially giddy for the next, I’m VERY intrigued to see where Rhys goes with it all!

Longtime fans and newcomers alike will find much to enjoy in God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen. Between the holiday setting, the mystery behind several murders, and getting to rub elbows with the royal family, this book was a joy from page one. Fifteen books in there are still new facets of these characters to discover and a surprise for Darcy and Georgie at the end of this one will certainly make the next book interesting!

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