A Fatal Illusion, by Anna Lee Huber

September 4, 2023 Book Reviews 6 ★★★★½

A Fatal Illusion, by Anna Lee HuberA Fatal Illusion by Anna Lee Huber
Series: Lady Darby #11
Published by Berkley on 6/20/2023
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle or ebook
Source: the publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Chirp
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Also in this series: The Anatomist's Wife, A Perilous Perspective
Also by this author: The Anatomist's Wife, A Perilous Perspective

New parents Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage look forward to introducing Sebastian’s father to his granddaughter, but instead find themselves investigating an attempt on his life...

Yorkshire, England. August 1832. Relations between Sebastian Gage and his father have never been easy, especially since the discovery that Lord Gage has been concealing the existence of an illegitimate son. But when Lord Gage is nearly fatally attacked on a journey to Scotland, Sebastian and Kiera race to his side. Given the tumult over the recent passage of the Reform Bill and the Anatomy Act, in which Lord Gage played a part, Sebastian wonders if the attack could be politically motivated.

But something suspicious is afoot in the sleepy village where Lord Gage is being cared for. The townspeople treat Sebastian and Kiera with hostility when it becomes clear they intend to investigate, and rumors of mysterious disappearances and highway robberies plague the area. Lord Gage’s survival is far from assured, and Sebastian and Kiera must scramble to make the pieces fit before a second attempt at murder is more successful than the first.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Kiera and Gage investigate the shooting of his father, in a village determined to keep its secrets

Anna Lee Huber offers up another well-written historical mystery in her Lady Darby series featuring the intrepid investigators Kiera (formerly Lady Darby) and her husband, Sebastian Gage. The plot centers around an attack on Kiera’s father-in-law, Lord Gage, by a gang of highwaymen. Injured and bed-bound, Lord Gage is forced to sit on the sidelines while Sebastian and Kiera investigate. But their inquiries are stymied at every turn.The villagers seem curiously reluctant to talk about the robbers. Lord Gage is uncharacteristically reticent. And the local doctor and his wife may be hiding their own secrets…

While the mystery is challenging, the family relationships proved the real draw for me in this novel. Gage has a painful history with his father, and Kiera’s relationship with him is similarly fraught. Lord Gage is a complex man, difficult and controlling. The presence of Sebastian’s recently-discovered illegitimate brother, Henry, whom Lord Gage refuses to acknowledge, adds an additional layer of tension. Yet there are hints in this book that he has a softer side, though he hides it well. His delight in his infant granddaughter serves to humanize him, making me just a little more sympathetic to him despite his obfuscations and bluster… for Lord Gage, it seems, knows more about his attackers and their motives than he is willing to share. And there is more going on in the village of Wentbridge, and in the home of Dr. Barton (where the Gages are staying) than just a simple band of highwaymen. 

The warmth and commitment of Kiera and Sebastian’s marriage provides a welcome contrast to the strained family relationships mentioned above. Add in the setting’s vague connection to Robin Hood, a more definite connection to the Yorkshire West Riding Revolt some years earlier, and the intriguing Dr. Barton and his wife, and the novel is quite compelling. I really enjoyed it, and of course, I can’t wait for the next Lady Darby mystery!

Challenges: Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge; COYER Upside Down, Chapt. 2


About Anna Lee Huber

Anna Lee Huber (author photo)

Anna Lee Huber is the USA Today bestselling and Daphne award-winning author of the Lady Darby Mysteries, the Verity Kent Mysteries, the Gothic Myths series, and the anthology The Deadly Hours. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana with her family and is hard at work on her next novel. Visit her online at www.annaleehuber.com.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Upside-Down 2023: Chapter 2
  • NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2023

6 Responses to “A Fatal Illusion, by Anna Lee Huber”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      No, I’m still catching up on some in the middle of the series. She only writes one per year, and I don’t want to run out too soon!