The Secret Life of Mary Bennet: Book 3
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
What is a spy willing to do when both her heart and her country are at risk?
Life changes once again for British spy Miss Mary Bennet when Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from the Isle of Elba. Mary quickly departs England for Brussels, the city where the Allied forces prepare for war against the French. But shortly after her arrival, one of the Duke of Wellington’s best officers is murdered, an event which threatens to break the delicate alliance between the Allies.
Investigating the murder forces Mary into precarious levels of espionage, role-playing, and deception with her new partner, Mr. Withrow-the nephew and heir of her prominent sponsor, and the spy with whom she’s often at odds. Together, they court danger and discovery as they play dual roles gathering intelligence for the British. But soon Mary realizes that her growing feelings towards Mr. Withrow put her heart in as much danger as her life. And then there’s another murder.
Mary will need to unmask the murderer before more people are killed, but can she do so and remain hidden in the background?
The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception is the third installment in the series, The Secret Life of Mary Bennet, by Katherine Cowley. It is a Pride and Prejudice-related book that imagines sister Mary Bennet as a British spy.
After the death of their father, Mary and Kitty are pulled into the spy life. Now Mary and her colleague, Henry Withrow, are sent to Brussels to assist Wellington in the volatile times when Napoleon escapes from Elba.
Initially, Mary and Henry are just information gatherers, but a series of murders draws them into greater danger as the world moves toward the Battle of Waterloo.
I enjoyed seeing Mary change and grow, discovering love with her companion. At the beginning of the book, we still see Mary’s moral strictness and naivety. She was challenged on many levels—using a pistol, disguising herself as a man, learning to waltz, and more.
In Henry, she found someone who appreciated her logical mind and innate kindness. Mary discovered new dimensions of herself, and Henry gained the confidence to connect with her.
The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception is an engaging mystery with a budding romance and an interesting look at historical events. The events leading up to the Battle of Waterloo and the battle itself are described with many details. Placing the main character in this setting allows the reader to see events through her perspective. It is an ambitious topic for the author to tackle, but she does an admirable job.
Katherine Cowley read Pride and Prejudice for the first time when she was ten years old, which started a lifelong obsession with Jane Austen. Her debut novel, The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her Mary Bennet spy series continues with the novels The True Confessions of a London Spy and The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception. Katherine loves history, chocolate, traveling, and playing the piano, and she has taught writing classes at Western Michigan University. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her husband and three daughters.