The fourth installment in Theresa Romain’s Royal Rewards series, Lady Notorious, is a delightful, enthusiastic jaunt through Regency-era London. It picks up with another tale of the Bow Street Runners—focusing this time on a twin sister and brother duo—and the case of the Duke of Ardmore, who needs protection from an unknown foe.
When the duke’s son, George, Lord Northbrook, learns his father entered a wager with 10 men 40 years ago, and all but one of the investors have died (three under suspicious consequences in the last year), he decides to hire Cassandra and Charles Benton. But early on, Charles breaks his leg, so it’s up to his sister to forge ahead and ultimately save the day.
It takes a certain moxie and cleverness for women in historical fiction to make their way in life as independent, modern characters that contemporary readers can connect with. Romain often writes about characters that aren’t nobility, which is refreshing in historical romance, and Lady Notorious is doubly refreshing with its stalwart, investigative heroine. Cass may remind readers of Irene Adler in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes—adventurous and confident, taking no quarter from the men around her.
Lady Notorious is a quick read, with a busy cast of main and secondary characters. The pacing lags in some places, and reading the first three books in the series is a good idea, but it’s an enjoyable book all the same.