Title: India Black (Madam of Espionage #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction & Mystery
First Published: November 2010
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)
When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.
Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.
I have been eyeballing this book for a while now especially thanks to Blodeudd and Anachronist reading and reviewing this. When I got a gift card for Christmas, I went on a book binge and bought a few books. Since it was cheap on Amazon, I went ahead and nabbed it up. However, I continued to put it on the back-burner. Why? I have no idea. Other books found itself on my plate and so I pushed it back. What the hell is wrong with me? I'm an idiot of course.
This is a lot like my Pink Carnation series, but instead with a top whore playing spy. Love spies and I love that the government had to turn to this poor chit. Yes, I do feel bad for her. All she wants to do is run her whore house in piece, but the government can play nasty and force her to join or they'll shut her down. What is a girl to do in Victorian England? You must do what you have to do.
I liked her a lot. She made me laugh with her honesty. It did read as a diary of sorts and I liked it. Maybe not a diary, but more of her writing her tale down. I am curious to see what happens next.
I did enjoy French. I want to see more of him. I want to learn more him. He was daft some of the time. Do I think they should get together? Maybe....I am unsure, but I do like them working as a team. I am glad, though, that this didn't turn into a romance, I would have lost respect for India if she swooned over French and etc. India is a hardened mistress of her own establishment, so swooning would ruin her character. They do make an epic duo though: The whore and the prime minister's whore of a sort (doesn't matter who the PM is, he is to do whatever he wants for pay...so yes, I call him a whore of the PM). Honestly, she seems to be the brains and he the muscles at some points.
Speaking of the word "whore". Such a strange word especially back then. Humanity has put such a strong disdain in that word. Its so harsh sounding and ugly. Just thought I'd add that bit.
My biggest complaint was indeed the lack of mystery. It was a mystery, mind you, but it not overly exciting and easily guessable. Especially with the conclusion. Everything seemed for naught. Maybe the next book will have a deeper mystery and challenge India more. Maybe this was a simple one just to warm her up? I am ever so hopeful.
There also seemed to be some plot holes laying around.
In the end, this was a fun book. I loved the narration style and I loved India. I am interested to read the next one of the series. The mystery was meh and there seemed some plot holes scattered about. I highly recommend this to those that like some intrigue in their historical fictions. Or for those looking for something to shake up their reading. This shall be stamped with 3 stars.