A Lark's Flight
by Lynn Messina
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Pub Date 02 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 01 Jun 2023
Verity Lark, Unraveling Deception.
Verity Lark — England's most tenacious gossip, the London Daily Gazette's most dogged reporter — relishes a challenge, which is why she refuses Colson Hardwicke's offer of menial employment. If the infuriating scoundrel really needs the sister of a radical reformer to be distracted with girlish chitchat, he can bloody well erupt into giggles!
She has more important things to do — figuring out why Hardwicke is interested in the radical reformer. During her previous run-in with him, he had shown himself to be the superior tactician, and she is determined to even the score. Proving that the radical reformer is an escaped fugitive is one way. Saving the country from a Luddite insurrection is another.
But when Verity stumbles across a dead man in a rundown boarding house, the competition suddenly stops being a game. There is more going on than she had ever imagined, and as she struggles to untangle Hardwicke's web of machinations, she is forced to wonder if she has been a pawn all along.
Welcome to the second installment of the Verity Lark Mysteries, where secrets run deep, and every move could be her last.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 31 members
I was thrilled when I saw A Lark’s Flight on NetGalley - thank you for the advanced reader’s copy.
I really enjoy Lynn Messina’s writing - it is always very clever and this did not disappoint. This is a great read and goes by fast. I could not stop until I knew.
I enjoy Verity Lark as much as I enjoy Bea. I hope there will be more to this series. I’m rooting for the whole family!
I just reviewed A Lark's Flight by Lynn Messina. #ALarksFlight #NetGalley
Verity on the trail!
What joy it is to make Verity Lark’s acquaintance again. Shrewd, with an Holmsian intellect, an ingrained sense of honor, and able to think every way which on a problem. No straight lines for this woman. Working incognito using three major personas there’s newspaper gossip columnist, Mr. Twaddle-Thum, as a serious writer masquerading as her non existent brother, Robert Lark. Holding these together plus being herself is incredible.
When Colson Hargreaves throws down the gauntlet, (or at least that’s how Verity sees it )by inelegantly asking her to spy on an Arnold Fitch for him just using her“girlish laugh,” Verity is incensed into action. She refuses Colson but determines to investigate secretly without knowing. When she presented her information he would know her abilities,
This leads her to a reform movement which consisted of the Blanketerring movement and the Yarwellians protesting over machinery taking away people’s livelihood, and an involvement with a murder. All the while Verity is searching for evidence of Arnold Fitch’s involvement under the auspices of the Home Office spying against the Movement in these matters and simultaneously managing to enlarge his own coffers. And then there’s the Duke of Kesgrave! Now Verity had always known they shared a mother, the courtesan Duchess La Reina, but the Duke was unaware of Verity’s existence. Happenstance or something else’s leads the Duke and Duchess to Fortescue’s Asylum for Pauper Children, just as Verity is exiting. Mr Twaddle-Thum inside Verity’s head composes various scenarios for what might be. But for Verity,
“It was utterly bewildering, his presence at Fortescue’s, the way he had suddenly appeared, like Banquo at the banquet, an inexplicable figure, so ghostly and strange. In all her imaginings, she had never pictured him there, in the shadow of that crumbling old pile of stones she used to call home…
But for Damien, Due of Kesgrave, it’s a different type of mystery,
Damien “assured himself again that the woman whom he had seen on this very threshold a few days before was not his sister. The resemblance was only a coincidence or—and he considered this prospect to be the more likely one—a mistake on his part.” Still Damien is disturbed enough to keep searching.
Verity’s alter egos are on their job, Twaddle-Thum and Robert Lark. Not to mention her 101 other useful, often hilarious and frustrating disguises
Her ability to make herself into someone else, from a less than respectable boarding house madam to a footman or intrepid business man is breathtaking. I’m thoroughly besotted with Verity.
The link with the Duke and Duchess of Kesgrave is becoming even more fascinating.
I left her with a whole lot of suppositions about what could be and I’m definitely wanting more.
A Book Whisperer ARC via NetGalley.
Many thanks to the author and publisher.
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
Have you ever tried to untangle a particularly complicated series of knots in the chain of a favorite necklace? There are times when you aren't sure you're making any progress, moments when you think you've made progress just to find out the knot you've just loosed is setting up another one to take hold, times when you worry that you'll never wear your necklace again, and then there is that wonderful moment when you realize you see the route to the end of your task. That moment is almost more rewarding than actually putting that necklace on.
That is the experience of reading A Lark's Flight by Lynn Messina. To be fair, that's the experience of reading every book by Lynn Messina. They are complex, layered mysteries, thick with internal dialogue, and are absolutely delightful.
This second book in Verity Lark's series has the heroine diving into a murder investigation that intersects with an investigation of insurrectionists that her potential love interest, Colson Hardwicke, is pursuing. Colson is fascinated by Verity, but in the potentially beautiful moments where he tells her of his esteem, she deflects. Verity can't fathom that this man is giving her authentic compliments. These little moments, where she's on the cusp of trusting him, are bittersweet. She's so close to letting him in, but her past, including a childhood spent in a miserable orphanage, has her misconstruing his words into challenges or veiled insults.
At the same time, we have a promise of an interaction with Damien, Duke of Kesgrave, and Verity's brother right in the prologue. Anyone who has read the Beatrice Hyde-Clare series in which Damien sleuths with his wife will delight as the timelines of the two series come together after running parallel for two books.
If one does jump into Lynn Messina's universe with this book or this series, I can't help but hope the urge to read her other series will be followed.
This was absolutely delightful. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were charming and witty. I highly recommend this fun and quick read! Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.