A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Diener

A Dangerous Madness  - 

Michelle Diener
ARC provided by Season Publishing through Netgalley

Phoebe is trapped in a loveless engagement - that is, until Sheldrake, her intended, breaks it off with her with vague allusions to a plot which will force him to leave the country.

Phoebe is relieved to be rid of Sheldrake, but suspicious when the Prime Minister is murdered concurrently with her former betrothed's departure.

James, the Duke of Wittaker, has taken leave from spying for King and Country. He's tired of playing the fop, the rake. But the Prime Minister's assassination sends him back to his old haunts. 

I had a bit of trouble getting into this book. It's slow to start, and the mystery - though I loved the way Diener mixed historical fact with fiction - was a bit dull. 
But around 24% things start to pick up so if, like me, you're having trouble getting into this book, stick with it, it gets better!

Some things didn't work very well, James is never exactly subtle when trying to obtain info as a spy, nor is he a particularly good interrogator when he interviews Bellingham. 
Maybe I'm spoiled by C.S. Harris' Sebastian St. Cyr novels, but James just wasn't clever enough for this kind of mystery.

Phoebe, apart from a moment early on when she decides to go see the prime minister's murderer, unchaperoned, not occurring to her that she wouldn't be allowed in, is a very practical and sensible character. 

The romance was the best part of the book, but wasn't a big part of it, and that was a pity. 
James spent his life pretending he was someone he was not, and Phoebe spent her life hiding her personality to be the demure lady society wanted her to be. So it was lovely that they both really saw each other, and liked what they saw.

But it's a nice historical romance with some mystery to spice it, so give it a try!

Michelle Diener's official site