Today is just not a "get dressed" day. I've been having a slow start. I had a doctor's appointment and apparently I'm Vitamin D deficient? So...I've been trying to go out in the sun a little. Which is odd because normally I try to stay way out of the sun!
This is the exciting book where Darcy and Georgie get married! Well, mostly. There is a mystery before the wedding, and there is some luck that Georgie falls into, and of course the wedding.
Title: Four Funerals and Maybe A Wedding
Author: Rhys Bowen
Page Number: 304 pages (hardcover)
Genre: mystery, fiction, cozy mysteries, historical fiction, romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
In Georgie's Voice:
If only Darcy and I had eloped! What I thought would be a simple wedding has been transformed into a grand affair, thanks to the attendance of the queen, who has offered up the princesses as bridesmaids. Silly me! I thought that withdrawing from the royal line of succession would simplify my life. But before Darcy and I tie the knot in front of queen and country, we have to find a place to live as man and wife...
House hunting turns out to be a pretty grim affair. Just as we start to lose hope, my globetrotting godfather offers us his fully staffed country estate. Mistress of Eynsleigh I shall be! With Darcy off in parts unknown, I head to Eynsleigh alone, only to have my hopes dashed. The grounds are in disarray and the small staff is suspiciously incompetent. Not to mention the gas tap leak in my bedroom, which I can only imagine was an attempt on my life. Something rotten is afoot—and bringing the place up to snuff may put me six feet under before I even get a chance to walk down the aisle...
The book mostly takes place before the wedding. Darcy and Georgie are looking for a house on his meager salary (and her lack of any dowry). I think Darcy would have been okay wherever he ended up, although he was raised in a castle. I'm sure Georgie would have eventually bucked up but it seems to be a huge shock for her (having only lived in her brother's houses). Basically, both are penniless and are able to only afford the cheapest flats.
Luckily, Georgie's mother steps in. Well, her past steps in. Her mother, Claire, is an actress with several ex-husbands and wealthy lovers in her past. One of those ex-husbands is Georgie's godfather (of sorts?) who has made her his heir. His name is Sir Hubert and he's a wealthy adventurer, oft on a far flung adventure, possible annoying the natives of other countries for British glory.
Sir Hubert, possibly realizing Georgie would have no house once married, offers his house for her to live in. Obviously, it's still his house until he dies, but since he's barely there, he wants her to move in and start making it over how she likes. The house is called Eynsleigh and was featured in an early book in the series (where Georgie was at a country house party).
Having the house sorted, Darcy accepts a job from the British Government. So he pretty much is absent for the rest of the book. The letter, allowing Georgie access to the house, also comes with a slight warning that things might not be on the up and up at the house. Georgie heads out there anyways, determined to make herself mistress before the wedding.
She arrives to the grounds in disarray and the house a complete mess. The staff are new and mutinous. Nothing seems quite right. Georgie decides to begin putting things right in the house, she wants to hire more gardeners and orders the house to be put to right. When she goes to sleep that night, she discovers her gas tap has been left on. This appears to be an attempt on her life.
Despite this attempt on her life, Georgie keeps at the staff and tries to set the house to rights. There's obviously something happening at the house but (and this is my first complaint), Georgie seems to ignore this and is insistent on her perfect house. The mystery is happening around Georgie and in fact, despite Georgie. Sadly, because of this, Georgie is almost superfluous to the book, as Darcy and Belinda are in scenes for a short moment, and all her scenes are her ordering people around. The plot is secondary and it's an odd read at times. Every point of the mystery that Georgie is involved in only occurs because she stumbles upon it (and then usually tries to ignore it). What could have been a great country house gothic turns insipidly dull.
The second issue I have is that Georgie comes off as a huge snob. Considering she has no money of her own, this is ridiculous. Her snobbery has come out a few times in previous books (mostly with her Grandfather's neighbors), it's quickly overcome by her manners. Not here. Georgie leans into the upstairs/downstairs aspect of servants. She's hugely classist. A massive asshole. Even though the staff try to kill her, I was kind of like, "well, she asked for it." If she has such an issue with staff, fire them! She's there all alone, with a dangerous group of people and acting like it's all going to work out because she's a titled nabob. It's just too stupid. Ugh, Georgie!
My third issue is again with Georgie (she's really annoying this book). A theme in many of the previous books is Georgie's over the top jealously of Darcy. She assumes the worst of him, always. Is he talking to another woman and she happens to see them? Must be a full flown affair. Is he playing with a child? Obviously it's his secret love child. Is he at a party without her after telling her his on a mission? The only explanation is that he lied to her and he's secretly married. He's always behaving well and chides her when she tells him what she thinks but I'd be mad! This drops off once they're married but it's so annoying.
There are many aspects to this book that are great. Darcy and Georgie get married in an intimate ceremony (at the end). Belinda, Claire, Grandpa, and Queenie show up. Queenie has really come into herself and is such a fun character (to me).
The story does move along at a decent pace (despite Georgie), the mystery is really interesting so it's a shame it's in the background. Overall, it's not one of Rhys Bowen's strongest books. I think anglophiles will enjoy the fact that Elizabeth and Margaret are the flower girls in the wedding. The next books are more interesting, so this was just a little hump to get through.