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    Amazing, as expected!

    Olga Novikov is now the head of housekeeping of London’s Grand Russe Hotel. It’s a far cry from her former life as an Imperial Princess, but she is moving on in the world one tiny step at a time. The Grand Russe has been attracting a somewhat disreputable clientele recently, Russians who are up to no good, and Douglas Childers, Viscount Walling, of his Majesty’s Secret Service is keeping an eye on them, as well as looking for an elusive bomber and a killer. Olga and Douglas’ paths inevitably cross, and against all odds, they find that they enjoy very much each other’s company. But with danger lurking at every corner, is there a future for a former princess and a secret agent? LADY BE GOOD is the third instalment in Heather Hiestand’s dazzling The Grand Russe Hotel series and I could not wait to read Olga’s story, as she is a powerfully intriguing character, and Ms. Hiestand did Olga justice. The story is set in the late winter of 1925, and I think the author’s recreation of the era is even more stunning in LADY BE GOOD than in the other books: one can see the opulence of the grand places as well as be privy to spying in a bygone era, and the amount of research Ms. Hiestand has done is astonishing. I so enjoy the tiny and historically accurate details such as mentions of Al Jolson, Chanel and Patou, Agatha Christie, Pathé newsreels, switchboards; the fashion, the art, the political context, the author’s knowledge of Russian names, as well as splendid dialogues with the vernacular down pat. Olga is just as wonderful as I expected her to be: of regal bearing yet modest demeanour; loyal and determined, and a talented painter, she has suffered great losses and there is a melancholy about her. Douglas is just as complex a character as Olga: an aristocrat whose life was changed by the Great War, he has vowed to keep Britain safe. Ms. Hiestand has created a world that has become real to me: the Hotel, the recurring characters, and I embrace the newcomers as well. It is due, naturally, to the fine storytelling, but also because the author does such an amazing job of making the Roaring Twenties in London come to life with exquisitely drawn characters of every ilk. The writing is flawless, the dialogues are perfection itself, and the secondary characters just as carefully crafted as the principals. The romance between Olga and Douglas is unusual; they share much tenderness but the bumps along the road are not what we are used to see in romances, which pleased me greatly. The conflicts were real, unexpected, and entirely in tune with the characters and the setting. LADY BE GOOD is not only a beautiful romance, but a terrific spy story as well, and both of them seamlessly woven into a fabulous book. Every installment in The Grand Russe Hotel series has been a very special treat so far, and I hope that LADY BE GOOD is not the last in this fantastic series, because more characters have stories to tell. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

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