A Darker Shore (Lady Evelyn Mystery #2) by Malia Zaidi
Publication Date : December 13th 2016
Publisher : Bookbaby
Read Date : April 1st 2019
Genre : Cozy Mystery / Historical Fiction
Pages : 383
Stars : ★★★★★ /5
1926: A year has passed since the events of “A Poisonous Journey” and Lady Evelyn has made a home for herself in Greece, living with her cousin, Briony, her husband, Jeffrey and Daniel Harper. Disturbing this island idyll is a letter, which arrives from France with troubling information about the Daniel’s long-believed-dead brother, Henry. A new journey awaits! With the shadows of the Great War reaching out, Lady Evelyn and Daniel voyage to Amiens in Northern France with the aim of discovering the truth behind the ominous letter. Upon their arrival, they are met not with clarity but rather with crime. Murder, to be precise. Is it linked to their presence in France, or even worse, to Henry himself? Evelyn and Daniel must confront their history as they try to make sense of the present before the killer can strike again, and the secrets of the past are lost forever.
A Dark Shore was a cozy historical mystery that took protagonist Evelyn to a far shore, a foreign country to support her friend and love that turned to dark with mysterious death. It was about learning various aspect of humanity, post war trauma, coming out of grief and loss, and finding peace with past.
Evelyn was fabulous. She was developed character and yet learned more from the mysteries and aspects of humanity she encountered in this installment. She also realized her responsibility that she was ignoring till now. She was clever, wise, sensitive, inquisitive and well-mannered English lady and not at all a damsel. Her bravery and strength again surprised me. She had knack for communication, reading person and their emotions and best at judging the situation. I was impressed by Evelyn’s random act of kindness. She was great, I wouldn’t be so lenient to someone responsible for the worst deed. Yes, I would like to know why they did so but won’t feel pity like she felt. I bet, this can be her fatal flaw at some point in this series. Her view towards world and humanity was the best thing I like about her.
Daniel was charming. I got to know him and his past in first book but in this we know him more as a person, who he really was outside the shadow of his past. I liked him for strength and courage he showed throughout the book and when the time came he acted reasonably with conscience. At some point like Evelyn I thought he might not be same when all this will be over but he surprised me there.
All secondary characters were brilliant. I didn’t feel they were just side characters, they were as important as Evelyn and Daniel. What was best was, they all including main characters and their emotions felt real.
The title was so fitting. And I loved that cover.
Book started with an intriguing prologue from the past and life of Evelyn in Crete one year after the previous mystery. In this Evelyn embark on another journey and mystery in France along with Daniel when he received a mysterious letter about his late brother. Leaving behind the peace and beauty of Crete both traveled towards dark past of Daniel in France. Little they knew on reaching to Amiens they will tumble upon a dead body. And so the mystery of finding a reason behind death that looked like a planned murder and finding Daniel’s brother began.
Along with the many questions regarding these two mysteries there were another questions that worried Evelyn and so readers– how Daniel is going to face past; will Daniel be the same after finding about his brother; what will be the future of Evelyn and Daniel’s relationship; where they will go from here, to Crete or back to their homeland and responsibilities they were avoiding long.
I could see brief description from the first book here and there but you know Evelyn, Daniel, her cousin and their story best in first Book. So I advise to read this in order. Evelyn’s love for books makes her fascinating character to all readers. Her monologue were great to read that assessed situation well.
The story was written fabulously. I loved narration of some geographical and historical facts related to war in engaging tone of Evelyn. The culture and social beliefs and constitutions were in keeping with the era. Plot, history, characters and their characteristics, development, mystery and suspense everything was perfectly balanced.
Travel is not complete if you don’t meet people, make friends and learn about different cultures and place. Author made sure Evelyn experience it as well. She met some amusing people, explored wonderful places and learned about culture and history of the place. I feel like I have visited Amiens, interacted with people and tasted the delicacies myself along with her.
I liked relationship of Daniel and Evelyn. They were couple now but they gave each other enough space and both were happy not tying it in serious bond. The way they supported each other in all situations was remarkable. Evelyn traveling so far with Daniel, which was his journey not her, was something not all can do and that also ages ago in 1926 takes courage and will! I so admired her for that.
The theme of impact of WWI, wisdom of characters on humanity and life done well in this book again along with a new layers of loss, family drama, revenge and social prejudices. Insightful thought provoking lines in-between chapters made me stop for a while and ponder over characters emotions and their mind. It was hard not feel their sadness, anguish, inner turmoil that they faced in past and still facing in present.
Mystery of finding Henry was stretched without much hope or hint and somehow shadowed by death of their one and only clue. When all clues lead to dead end there came a mysterious letter that boost their hope and search. But it took unexpected turn at climax. Secrets of secondary characters, their life story and Evelyn and Daniel’s attempts of solving the problems made the book interesting. Their efforts of unburdening their present pain, sorrow and worry by bits of normal chats were welcoming relief.
Suspense and mystery was strong. When the climax came, the mystery was unveiled. It was shock. At some point I almost believed what Daniel felt and believed but nothing could prepare me from the shock. If I haven’t been sentimental with characters I might have guessed mystery related to Henry earlier but what came after that was unpredictable. I couldn’t imagine that person to be a murderer. It was bit gloomy with all the unexpected findings and untoward occurrence but was also hopeful of Daniel and Evelyn’s future.
Pace was little slow but I can ignore it as I really enjoyed the story. I can’t wait to read third book and see what new mystery is in store for them.
Overall, it was thought-provoking, engaging mystery with elegant writing and wonderful characters. I surely recommend this book for a cozy read.
Author: Malia Zaidi
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author via damppebbles blog tours, in exchange for an honest review. ***
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