A Lark's Conceit

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Book 3 of Verity Lark Mysteries
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Pub Date 29 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2024

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Verity Lark is in a new flap!

Bedeviled by Colson Hardwicke’s treatment—summarily dumping her via tersely worded message!—Verity Lark is lying awake in her bed seething over his behavior when she hears a floorboard creak. Immediately alert to the presence of a late-night intruder, she deftly thwarts the attack.

Taking her would-be kidnapper captive is easy.

Figuring out what he wants with her—well, that part is tricky and she wonders if it could have something to do with one of her many alter egos. 

It is baffling, to be sure, but Verity has a plan.

Of course she does.

As England’s most tenacious gossip and the London Daily Gazette’s most dogged reporter, she always has a scheme afoot, and this time it entails allowing her captive to escape so she can follow him. It’s the best way to discover what the devil is going on.

The ploy works exactly as intended, which is good but also bad because the more she knows, the less she understands. Somehow, she is at the center of an elaborate plot involving the French embassy, an English spy, and a ghastly murder, and just as she is trying to come up with a way to save herself, Hardwicke turns up to complicate it all.

Welcome to the third installment of the Verity Lark Mysteries, where secrets run deep, and every move could be her last.

Verity Lark is in a new flap!

Bedeviled by Colson Hardwicke’s treatment—summarily dumping her via tersely worded message!—Verity Lark is lying awake in her bed seething over his behavior when she...

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ISBN 9781942218883
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Average rating from 40 members

Featured Reviews

I read Messina's first two books in the Verity Lark series, and I absolutely loved the third installment. My favorite part about the series is the unusual Regency heroine who is in her thirties, unmarried, and an illegitimate child to top it all. Her witty remarks, brilliant mind, and fun antics can keep you glued to the pages.

I also liked the mystery and how everything seems messed up and unconnected to the story, until it doesn't, because the mystery is resolved and it all starts to make sense. Hopefully, there will be more to this series.

Thank you, NetGalley, Lynn Messina, and Book Whisperer for this advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.

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ARC for Lynn Messina? Yes Please! She has become one of my favorite authors.

This is the 3rd in the spin off series of Beatrice Hyde-Clare Series - another great read.

You don’t have to start with the Bea series to enjoy this one but I do recommend starting at the beginning of this series.

Messina’s writing is very intelligent and fluid. All you have to do is research her resume to know she is a must read.

I highly recommend the whole series.

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This was my first book by this author. The witty writing pulled me in immediately. As other reviewers have mentioned, it is probably best to read this after reading the first two in the series 😝 So now excuse me while I go get this first two books…and then probably all her other books hehe

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I always enjoy Lynn Messina’s books for the good writing, humor, and entertaining characters. Verity Lark is back in another adventure, and I was glad to go along for the ride. I must confess to a great deal of application of suspension of disbelief in Verity’s disguises and antics while in disguise but it doesn’t distract from the story TOO much (but sometimes there’s a lot of eye-rolling as I read). Also the two to three pages of internal analysis and thought in almost every situation that requires a decision or action can be as annoying with Verity as it is with Beatrice Hyde-Clare. But it’s not enough to keep me from continuing to look forward to the next book in both series. If the book is still in galley-proof condition enough, please do fix the subject/possessive pronoun errors (“injured party . . . their” and “someone . . . their”—sorry, but that kind of mistake by such a talented writer makes me cringe). Thanks to Net Galley for the.ARC. I leave this review voluntarily. #NetGalley #ALark’sConceit

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The third in a series and the best so far. Each book is a mystery, and Verity Lark,a master of disguises and an all around brilliant woman, solves it. Better read in order, of course, we do learn a little more about her background in each book. Also, she is in her thirties and illegitimate, so not your usual Regency heroine.
The romance is particularly adorable because as the book notes, everyone but Verity knows that Colson Hardwick is courting her.
Every character is well written, and this is a companion series to her Duchess series.
I truly love this series and was sooo lucky to get an EARC from Netgalley.
This is my honest review. This is a wonderful book.

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Lynn Messina never fails to delight with her Verity Lark series and #alarksconceit is no exception! The character development of Verity and Hardwicke is so satisfying in this 3rd volume of the series. If you like Regency era mysteries/romcoms then this could be up your alley. Thank you to #netgalley, #potatoworkspress and the author for this ebook arc to read and review. All opinions are my own.

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A Cozy Mystery for a cold day? Yes please! A Regency Cozy Mystery? Oho, what is this? Um, yes please! So, full disclosure, I love my cozy mysteries that are based in the Victorian era and the 1900s, but going back to Regency? I should think so! Sign me up!

This is the tird book in the series and I will certainly be getting the previous two as I am besotted. Double underline, highlighter, bold font besotted with Verity Lark. An absolute firecracker of a female sleuth and such a bright and sparkly personality! If you can imagine a light-hearted, comical yet intrepid sleuthing version of Bridgerton's Lady Whistleton, then you will adore Verity Larke (Bear in mind, the book is not a Bridgerton style romance, it is a cozy mystery and the two things are worlds apart, I was just seeking a fictional character that bore a similarity)

I digress;

Verity Lark is a corker, a bright wit, a voracious gossip and as such, a natural reporter. She does not have it easy writing for the London Gazette in a world dominated by men, but she perseveres. There is more to Verity Lark than meets the eye after all

Following a break-in and capture of the infiltrator, Verity is none the wiser as to why they are trying to capture her of all people! Lark decides to let the would-be kidnapper thinks they have escaped and follows them, to find out what the crikey is going on!

Lynn Messina is a fantastic writer and this glorious caper is at once fun and intrepid. The writing flow is authentic to the era but with a lighter prose more suited to the 21st century reader. The character building is fantastic and I have to say, the interactions between Verity and Colson Hardwick are glorious! An absolute winner for me!

Thankyou very much to Netgalley, Book Whisperer and Lynn Messina for this delightful ARC! My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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Although this is the third book in the series, it is the first I have read. The snobbery and just plain meanness of society's finest is a little off-putting. Verity's station in life, however, is much more fulfilling. Verity is a delightful character, as she is creative, obstinate and very self-sufficient. Her upbringing was horrible, making her unable to trust in anyone but herself. She learned to blend into the background, setting the stage for her escapades in which she uses disguise to obtain information. Verity has multiple characters in her repertoire, each that puts her in compromising position or peril. The author has woven elements of the time into this mystery, including the restraints on women's actions. Once Verity was attacked, the game was afoot. Verity uses her many characters to investigate the crime and finds multiple suspects and motives. The foreshadowing chapter had me confused at first because it did not seem to fit into the story ... until it did. It would likely have made more sense to me if I had read the previous books in the series. I found the book to be highly entertaining, with memorable characters and with equal parts humor and danger.

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Verity and Hardwicke are at it again
This is a fun continuation of the escapades of Verity Lark aka Mr. Twaddle-Thum, aka Robert Lark, aka any number of characters she adopts as needed. Someone has attempted to kidnap Verity from her own home in the middle of the night. Fortunately, she hears him and is able not only to thwart his plans but take him hostage. Allowing the hostage to escape, Verity follows him to the French Embassy. As she begins gathering information and clues, Hardwicke arrives on the scene in time to save her from a body falling out a window. As things begin to unfold, Hardwicke reveals that there have been five attempts on his life that he is aware of and he is concerned that the attacks on Verity may be a ruse to get to him. As they join forces to unravel the mysteries not only do they have to contend with the people wishing them harm but their own feelings and struggles. A very engaging read. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy. This is my review and all thoughts are my own.

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Verity Lake and her slew of alter egos have wormed their way into my heart and I look forward to seeing her navigate personal and professional trials in these books. On the personal side, we start with the line that everyone knew Colson Hardwicke was courting Verity Lake except Verity Lake. Her childhood trauma, which necessitated self-reliance, doesn't let her consider that Hardwicke is genuinely interested in her. In this book, he does something that makes her confront her inability to trust him and he has to realize the adjustments she needs him to make if he's to be close to her. It's complicated, messy, and a little sad, but it's also beautiful and heart-warming.

On the professional side, Verity thwarts an attempted kidnapping (of herself) and her investigation into who is behind the plot intersects with Hardwicke's work. French diplomats are at the center of this story and knowing the general events of the Napoleonic era are helpful.

This is a story where all the chapters are given a day, date, and time. The action spans just a few days, but it's important to notice the dates, as the prologue is actually the "action scene" at the end of the investigation.

As always, Lynn Messina's fantastic sense of humor and wit is on full display. I'm familiar enough with her work that I no longer bark out loud with laughter as I read like I did with the early Beatrice Hyde-Clare books, but I am giggly as I anticipate the brilliant, funny banter and asides. This is yet another gem from one of my favorites!

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A reporter and renowned gossip, Verity is surprised by an intruder after being dumped by Hardwicke. She discovers a complex scheme involving the French embassy, a spy, and a murder. As she investigates, Hardwicke reappears, reawakening her complicated feelings.

This is the third book in a series best read in order. The novel is fast-paced with numerous characters, so don’t blink or you’ll miss something. Verity has a huge chip on her shoulder, believing that everyone misjudges her, when half the time she’s the one misjudging others. Hardwicke seems to be gradually wear down her walls, but he’s still got a way to go.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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The novel is well written and fast-paced with numerous characters involved so the books are best read in order to keep track. The banter is a treat as usual and this book feels more about the attempted courting of Verity by Hardwicke where he seems to be gradually wearing down her walls but he’s still got a way to go as her childhood leaves her unable to trust easily. This causes lots of angst and misunderstandings which seemed to take over more than the mystery. Can't wait for further developments. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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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.

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Squeeee!!!! This is the best Verity adventure yet. It's action packed, funny and romantic. As usual Verity makes a simple matter a lot more complicated but this time I didn't feel like the investigation went on too long. The romantic drama took awhile to conclude but when it did, it was very sweet and lovely. All the romantic drama felt realistic for the characters as if they were real people with real problems to solve. I liked that even if it felt like too much at times. I was very good and didn't race ahead. The mystery was a little confusing and I didn't see the who and why coming at all. I thought it was someone else. The mystery veers into the political a bit and it sounds very timely.

Verity is a tough nut. She experienced a traumatic childhood in a pauper orphanage with a cruel matron who lined her own pockets and abused the children. She survived but not wholly in tact. While her especially keen intelligence and wit allowed her to physically survive, emotionally Verity has a long way to go to overcome her demons. Her big issue in this novel is trust. She doesn't trust anyone except Freddie and Delphine, her childhood friends who survived the Fortescue Asylum with her. They survived because of her and she feels responsible for them and their safety. Verity does not trust the nobility, all of whom surely know who her mother is and possibly even her father's identity as well. No nobleman or woman can have honest and good intentions towards her, including Hardwicke. Verity has built up walls around herself to keep her spirit from being wounded. She laughs through the pain and almost makes light of terrifying situations. She has extreme self-confidence and she's aware of what she can do because of what she endured as a child.

Lord Hardwicke is a charming rogue and while the Duke of Kesgrave stole my heart, I quite like Lord Hardwicke. He's no match for Verity though. While I think Hardwicke is rather intelligent, he isn't quite as astute as Verity and his status as the second son of a Marquess has made him pampered and a bit emotionally naïve. He doesn't understand ladies, certainly and because he's unaware of Verity's backstory, he doesn't understand HER. He could have asked and this seems like a communication error. She didn't ask either. She thinks she knows what's in his mind because of his social status. Verity doesn't like to admit she's wrong but she already knows she was wrong about the Duke of Kesgrave and probably was rather cruel to his Duchess. I know she and Bea would get along great if they got to know each other. They both had traumatic childhoods and they're both intelligent, tenacious, astute, incredible problem solvers and love disguises!

While Damien always seems to know what Bea is thinking, they had more time to spend together and more time to get to know each other than Hardwicke and Verity, who are not even on a first name basis yet. I detest when gentlemen fall on their swords to protect the heroines without giving them a choice. If Hardwicke really understood Verity he should have told her what was going on. They could have put their heads together to figure it out sooner and solve the problem and all would have been well. But nooo... he has to "Holy" her (you must read A Boldly Daring Scheme first to understand that concept). HOWEVER... when he explains himself, his reasoning makes sense but he should have told her! She asks herself how can he say he's ready to commit when he can't be honest with her? I would agree with that statement. He wasn't open with her and now she trusts him even less. Great job, Hardwicke! He can be sweet and swoony when he wants to but for most of the book they're at odds because they don't know how to communicate well yet. (They're also not making out in carriages like Bea and Kesgrave!)

The Dowager Duchess of Kesgrave is awesome and I want a whole book from her POV! She's been amazing and accepting so far but here she starts to sound like a cranky old lady and the noblewoman she is. She's blunt and honest but also a great judge of character. She's astute enough to judge someone on first impressions and revise her opinion if warranted. She's kick butt awesome too and I want Bea, Verity and the Dowager to join forces in a future mystery. I have always liked her and was happy I did not have to revise MY opinion!

Verity's would-be abductor is no match for her intelligence, wit or survival skills. He's a comical villain for sure but who is he and why did he try to abduct her? First, he was going off the assumption that Robert Lark, Verity's "brother" was away from home. Next, he believed Verity was an old spinster too weak and timid to leave her home. Of course the reader knows that's Verity's cover story and a way of keeping nosy neighbors at bay. It's a lot of fun watching her thwart her abductor. The poor man had no idea what was about to happen to him. V
Verity's best friend Delphine is lovely and gracious. She's eager to promote a match between Verity and Hardwicke but is a true and loyal friend to Verity. Delphine is passionate and when she feels strongly, she doesn't hesitate to speak up. While Freddie is a good friend, he's a man and doesn't quite understand the undercurrents of the Hardwicke situation.

The suspect list is small and none of them seem to have the means or motive. It must be someone they least expect or is the villain more clever and cunning than they expect? It was not who I expected either or for any reason I could have guessed. It was a LOT of bother for a simple motive!

Lynn Messina almost never misses and she has another winner on her hands with this one. I hope there will be more Verity adventures. She has yet to meet Bea!

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I love both Beatrice Hyde-Clare and Verity Lark's series so I could not wait to jump into the third installment of Verity's.

As usual, I was not disappointed and I am eagerly waiting for Verity and Hardwicke's next adventure.

The bickering between the 2 is really fun to read and never fails to amuse me. Delphine and Freddie 2 amazing sparring partners.

I find myself growing to like more and more the character of Delphine. The way she is always speaking her mind and trying to make Verity see reason
is always so enjoyable.

The appearance of the Dowager Duchess of Kesgrave made my day.

I received an advance copy for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily, thanks to the author for it.

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The 3rd book in Verity Lark series…which has some tie-ins the Messina’s other Regency mystery series, Beatrice Hyde-Clare. I don’t think that you need to read the Hyde-Clare mystery series to enjoy the Lark books, but I think it would enhance their enjoyment/amusement. I do think that you should read the 1st two Lark books before this one…they are so much fun. In this 3rd installment, Verity is still her fiercely independent and stubborn self. This time, she’s survived a kidnapping attempt at her house and become embroiled in a post Napoleonic Wars murder plot within the French embassy which could cause the fragile peace between the 2 counties to break and puts Lord Colson’s life in grave danger. With the assistance of her 2 stalwart friends Freddie and Delphine Verity’s uncannily successful use of disguises is put to good use as she infiltrates the plot and ends up meeting her step-brothers’s mother, the dowager Duchess of Kesgrave.
I really enjoy these mysteries and the Hyde-Clare ones, But, there are 2 things that make this a 4 rather than 5 star review.
While I understand that her horrible childhood and subsequent clawing to get anywhere as an adult have made her extremely untrusting and wary, sometimes it feels a bit over the top. especially in her working and personal relationship with Lord Colson. Even when her two trusted friends are telling her one thing, she always assumes that she knows the opposite. As an extremely intelligent and accomplished 34 year old woman, I feel that her more recent experiences would have tempered that knee-jerk reactions. It’s one thing to always be on guard but it’s another to be completely blind to possibilities.
The second is a formatting issue. In many (most?) instances, dialogue is not set apart but part of a narrative paragraph. We get a lot of interior thoughts from Verity which is great but less dialogue and it sometimes makes me feel like I’m missing something or that there should be more actual discussions among the characters.

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