When Lydia Bennet is seen with George Wickham, nearly two years since his last appearance, can private eye Eli Bennet save her sister from Slick Wick?
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Source: I received an ARC of this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
No one knows Hell’s Kitchen, NYC like private eye, Eli Bennet; sexy and curvaceous on the outside, smart and full of moxie on the inside. When George Wickham, aka Slick Wick, reappears in Spanish Harlem almost two years after the disappearance of Mary King, Elizabeth is hot on his trail. The fact that he’s been seen with her sister Lydia only adds fuel to her fire. Is he leaving a trail hoping she will follow them or does he have other plans for Lydia? And why was he seen arguing at the El Barrio with Fitzwilliam Darcy, the wealthy, brooding, aspiring politician who prefers to keep his private life undercover?
There’s a reason that the first alternate era JAFF book I ever read was Cat Gardiner’s book, “Lucky 13,” and why her last book, “Villa Fortuna” earned a Just Jane 1813 2015 Reviewer’s Favorite Award for Favorite Modern JAFF story. Ms. Gardiner knows how to take the essential elements of Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and reimagine them within an alluring new era. This time, she’s decided to take Austen’s characters where they’ve never been before; Hell’s Kitchen, NYC, during the early 1950’s, at a time when every woman knew her place was at home, with her man and her family. Every woman, that is, except for the sexy gumshoe, Eli Bennet.
Ever since the disappearance of her friend, Mary King, she’s left the case wide open, eagerly anticipating the day when she can find George Wickham and gather the leads she needs to bring Ms. King safely back home to her parents. Now that Slick Wick has been seen in some of the seediest places in NYC, she’s hoping she can solve the case. But when she becomes involved in Fitzwilliam Darcy’s tangle with Slick Wick, will she be able to solve the one crime that’s been tugging at her heart without losing herself in their games of deceit and corruption?
“Undercover” takes readers from the smoke-filled nightclubs of NYC to the sizzling scenes at the Tropicana in Havana, Cuba, as Eli and Darcy race against the clock to stop another young lady from the treacherous schemes of Slick Wick. Yet, this time, Slick Wick isn’t acting alone, and now that some lethal Russian Communists are involved in his dangerous plots, the stakes are higher than ever before! Filled with delicious diversions and bold adventures, “Undercover” shows us how Ms. Austen’s characters neatly transform themselves into an intriguing cast of players in this Austen-inspired noir story.
Ms. Gardiner’s Darcy and Elizabeth sizzle together as the unlikely couple who just can’t get enough of one another. Once Darcy falls for the bait and finds himself at Eli’s doorstep, all bets are off that Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor has solemnly sworn off matrimony for life. But will a man like Fitzwilliam Darcy get serious with a gumshoe from the wrong side of the tracks?
Cat Gardiner takes us to the very edge of our sheets and then gently reigns us back in during Darcy and Elizabeth’s steamy hot love scenes. Their relationship practically smolders through the pages as the sexy couple entertains us with their special brand of magnetic sex appeal. I found their relationship equally rewarding on an emotional level, as Darcy and Elizabeth grew to respect and trust one another other without trying to change or compromise each other. I loved how Elizabeth’s career choice was developed throughout the story, demonstrating how, once again, Darcy and Elizabeth refused to conform to society’s expectations during a time when there were limited options for women outside of the home.
The imaginative ways that Cat incorporates Austen’s supporting characters into her story provide a nice balance of humor and intrigue into her plot. Although the relationships between the Bennet sisters are quite changed from canon, I really found these differences to be welcomed and liberating. We are even treated to some appearances by a couple of Austen’s other well-loved heroes.
Ms. Gardiner’s book also includes a glossary of terms dedicated to this time period, which serves as a resource to help readers navigate their way through specific terms and phrases that help to bring this era to life. She has also once again created the ultimate digital treasures to enhance our reading experience of “Undercover.” Here, and in the inside of her ebook, she shares her “Undercover” Pinterest board, her energetic “Undercover” Spotify playlist, and her “Undercover” YouTube video playlist. These features are a great way to immerse yourself in the settings throughout this story.
Why not also treat yourself to the popular Cuban cocktail, El Presidente? The recipe shared below is brought to you from Imbibe Magazine and will certainly get you into the mood for a little dancing, Havana style.
Cat Gardiner would like to offer two Just Jane 1813 readers an opportunity to win an ebook copy of this Austen-inspired noir story. Please enter a comment on this post by midnight ET, April 27th. Our giveaway winners will be announced on this blog on April 28, 2016.
I’d like to thank Cat Gardiner for allowing me to post this first blog review for “Undercover” and most of all, for writing an alternate era JAFF story that’s hotter than a cat on a hot tin roof! I’d also like to thank her for offering our Just Jane 1813 readers these generous giveaway opportunities!
Visit Amazon to check out all of the 5 star reviews this book is already receiving.