I’m super delighted to be taking part of this blog tour and to share my review about the book.
Book Title : Bloomsbury Affair
Book Author : Anita Davison
My Rating :⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : November 20th 2018
About The Bloomsbury Affair
1905 London is a heady mix of unimaginable wealth and simmering political tensions, and with war looming Flora Maguire wants to keep her family safe.
So when her beloved charge Viscount Edward Trent is accused of murder, she’s determined not to leave the investigation to the police. Flora has trodden the path of amateur sleuth before, but with so much at stake, this time it’s personal.
Slowly the body of the victim found stabbed on a train bound for Paddington starts giving up its secrets, and Flora and her husband Bunny become mired in a murky world of spies, communists and fraudsters. And with the police more sure than ever that Edward is their murderer, Flora must work fast to keep him safe.
Anita Davison’s compulsive story-telling, combined with the irresistible mix of historical drama and gripping mystery, make this unputdownable.
It was a delight to be introduced to Flora’s world as this is my first of hers.
I couldn’t say no to a mystery and as a big historical fiction fan, I was sure this was the book for me.
It wasn’t easy for me to get into the book at first, felt there were so many characters and names which I’m sure were introduced in the first books of the series and I felt I am missing out on some traits of them.
But still, I was told this could be read as a standalone and it is certainly so.
Set in 1900’s, a murder investigation where our Protagonist Flora have set to make things right and assist her friend, Viscount Edward who was accused of this murder.
Well written with relatable characters. I find that I have I loved Bunny’s character the most, who was Flora’s husband, as he made the book quite enjoyable as a sidekick. My issue was it was a bit slow at times or maybe I was just impatient to know what just happened.
I certainly do recommend reading it and I feel like I need to get and check out the rest of the series.
I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review
An excerpt from The Bloomsbury Affair, courtesy of Aria
Eaton Place, London, April 1905
‘Good evening, Stokes.’ Bunny’s voice from the hall brought Flora to her feet.
Issuing a brief apology to her two dinner guests, she left the dining room, shivering in the blast of cold air that rushed through the open front door.
Tall and muscular with slightly boyish looks which sent females of all ages checking their hair in nearby mirrors, Bunny’s pale skin was flushed from the cool night air, his blue eyes bright behind rimless spectacles.
‘I’m horribly latefor dinner, Stokes. Is your mistress very angry?
He handed the butler his hat and then shrugged out of his overcoat.
‘I would rather not speculate, sir.’ Stokes placed the hat on a hook, took his coat and gave it a shake, scattering raindrops over the tiled floor. ‘I’ve laid out your dinner suit in your dressing room. Would you require my assistance to change?’
‘Not necessary, thank you, Stokes. I’ll manage. If you could just tell my wife I’ll
be down as quickly as I can.’
Flora stepped from the cover of the archway from where she had observed them.
The butler froze, the overcoat held out in front of him.
‘Ah, there you are, Flora.’ Bunny cleared his throat before summoning a
conciliatory smile. ‘I intended to be here on time, but it couldn’t be avoided, sor
ry.’ He lifted his arms intent on a hug, but she sidestepped him. ‘Ah, I’m not forgiven,
‘What kept you?’ Her fierce whisper held the mounting irritation she had nursed
all evening. ‘You’ve almost missed dinner.’
‘If you’ll excuse me, sir, madam. I must see to my duties.’ Stokes divested himself
of the coat and, head down, fled in the direction of the kitchens.
‘How’s the reunion going?’ Bunny fingered an arm of his spectacles nervously, his
gaze going to the closed dining room door.
‘Don’t change the subject.’ Flora brushed a hank of damp hair from his forehead.
‘Better than I could have imagined, actually.’ Her attempt to stay cross was ruined as
his cologne stirred her senses. ‘It’s as if they have never been apart. I doubt they’ll
even notice I’m gone.’
As if on cue, a baritone chuckle drifted into the hall, followed by a gale of relaxed
‘Why the sad face?’ Bunny ran a finger along her cheek. ‘Sounds to me like your
parents are getting along splendidly.’
‘They are, and I’m delighted, of course. It’s just– oh, never mind, we’ll talk later. I
should get back to our guests.’
How could she explain? William and Alice might have put the past behind them,
but theirs weren’t the only lives disrupted by twenty years of lies and secrets.
‘Your guests, this was all your idea, remember?’ Bunny planted a swift kiss on her
forehead and headed for the stairs. ‘By the way,’ he halted halfway up and leaned
over the handrail, ‘your trip to Harvey Nichols was very much worth it. The gown is
magnificent. I love that shade of blue on you.’
She waved him off impatiently, but her steps lightened as she returned to the
dining room, relieved he was home and the weight of the dinner party no longer lay
entirely on her shoulders. ‘I’m sorry about that.’ Flora resumed her seat in a room where soft golden light reflected off crystal and gilt, the crackle of flames and shift of coals in the Adam fireplace completing the cosy ambience. ‘
Bunny promises to be with us shortly.’
‘You’ve no need to apologize, my darling,’ William patted her hand. ‘I haven’t
enjoyed a dinner this much for a long time.’ His gaze shifted from Flora to the lady
opposite. ‘Although Flora did insist under no circumstances was I to cry off—
‘Which you have done on two previous occasions,’ Flora added.
He had retained a muscular physique into his mid-forties, honed from years spent
in the saddle on the horse ranches of far-flung continents. Tiny lines carved into his
tanned skin beside intelligent dark eyes that sparkled with private amusemen
t, hisdark hair sporting half-inch wide silver wings at his temples.
‘It’s been a wonderful surprise.’ Alice’s cheeks warmed to a becoming pink. ‘I had
reconciled myself long ago to never seeing William again.’ She tore her gaze away
from him only long enough to rearrange her napkin on her lap. ‘He was a secret I
imagined keeping forever. I could hardly believe it when Flora told me you lived in
London and she saw you regularly.’
Alice too wore the years lightly, with her girlish slenderness, unblemished
porcelain skin and the same wide, hazel eyes Flora saw in her own mirror every
morning. When Stokes had shown William into the room where Alice waited, his soft murmur of her original name, Lily, followed by Alice’s sharp exhalation of breath, spared Flora the task of having to explain her reasons for deceiving them.
Silent, awestruck seconds passed in which, had they been alone, Flora had been
convinced they would have rushed into each other’s arms, and only kept a respectable distance between them for form’s sake.
‘Had I known what you had planned, Flora,’ William said, ‘I would have cancelled
my trip to Moscow and told Balfour to go to blazes.’
‘How would you have explained that to the Prime Minister?’ Flora laughed as she
set down her wine glass, belatedly realizing what he had said. ‘Russia? When you
said you were taking a northern holiday, I imagined Scotland, or Belgium. Not
‘Oh, you know me, my love.’ He adjusted his tie avoiding her gaze. ‘I’ve always
had a yen for exotic locations.’
During Flora’s childhood, ‘Uncle’ William descended with no warning on Lord
Trent’s family at Cleeve Abbey several times a year laden with gifts for his nieces and nephew. There was always something for Flora; the butler’s daughter, as well when she was invited to join them on cold evenings in front of the fire to listen as he
recounted his adventures. He would stay a few memorable weeks, then disappear
again as quickly as he had come. Her discovery three years before that William was
her natural father was something she was still coming to terms with. This evening
meant such a lot to her, in that she had recently discovered her mother was also alive and bringing them together at her dining table for the first time in twenty years was a huge gamble; one she hadnot told either of them in advance. Was matchmaking your parents socially acceptable, or would she forever be a pariah for interfering?
‘What’s Russia really like?’ she asked carefully, conscious of the secrecy connected to William’s work with the Foreign Office. ‘We see the newspapers, but
it’s hard to form a true picture.’
The fact William could summon several armed men at a moment’s notice and his
driver was a burly six feet four who sat in the lobby of his apartment at night
contradicted his claim of being, ‘merely a lowly diplomat’.
‘Colder than anywhere on earth.’ William accompanied his broad smile with a
contrived shiver. ‘St Petersburg lay under several feet of snow when I left, and
—’ he broke off as the door clicked open to admit Bunny.
About The Author
Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical. She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.
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