Title: Rivals in the City
Author: Y.S. Lee
Source/Format: Borrowed from the Library; Hardcover
More Details: Young Adult; Historical; Mystery
Publisher/Publication Date: Candlewick Press; March 10, 2015
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Synopsis from Goodreads...
In a tale steeped in action, romance, and the gaslit intrigue of Victorian London, Mary Quinn’s detective skills are pitted against a cunning and desperate opponent...
Mary Quinn has a lot on her mind. James Easton, her longtime love interest, wants to marry her; but despite her feelings, independent-minded Mary hesitates. Meanwhile, the Agency has asked Mary to take on a dangerous case: convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and Mary must watch for the return of his estranged wife, an accomplished criminal herself who has a potentially deadly grudge against James. Finally, a Chinese prizefighter has arrived in town, and Mary can’t shake a feeling that he is somehow familiar. With the stakes higher than ever, can Mary balance family secrets, conflicting loyalties, and professional expertise to bring a criminal to justice and find her own happiness?
What I liked most about this book is simple: the mystery, how Mary handled her new case, and the developing relationships between the characters. I won’t say too much about the villain of this case, but I felt they were worth mentioning. Their role cast a shadow on the lives of the characters. They were more than just something to talk about. They were ruthless and cunning and had the motivation, plan, and means to make them a convincing—and not to mention dangerous—villain.
This is one of the few historical series that I’ve actually finished reading. I liked how the setting was thoroughly explained, and it never seemed like the characters came from modern times. The way many of the characters behaved fit with what was considered to be the societal norm.
Mary’s come a long way from the orphan at the beginning of the series, she’s learned a lot, and it shows. Mary was, by far, my favorite character. Her life has undergone so many changes, yet she managed to handle it. I also loved her relationship with James. It was a slow-burn kind of romance, and it took three books to get to the point they were at in Rivals in the City.
All in all, Rivals in the City was pretty awesome. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it, and look forward to Y.S. Lee’s next book.