MK McKlintock’s novel is a late Victorian adventure story about spies, murder, jealousy, betrayal and young love that begins during the heroine’s childhood and a situation which leads to the murder of her parents.
Tristan Sheffield meets her when she is grown up and although she was present at her parent’s death, she cannot remember the incident. Through some gentle probing and a kidnapping incident, Alaina recalls the face of the man who was responsible and sets off a train of events to bring him to justice.
Tristan reveals to Alaina that he is a government agent as well as being a duke, and his own father was killed at the hands of the same villain. Together they join forces with two other associates on various eventful exploits to expose the culprit.
Along the way, friends, servants and relatives alike turn out to be not quite what they seem as Alaina tries to make sense of her past and her present. Or has Alaina unwisely allowed herself to fall in love with Tristan, a man she does not know very well and could also turn out to be her enemy?
Alaina Claiborne has a promising plot for a first time novelist, though the story suffers from a lack of polish which I found distracting, as well as some anachronisms. For instance having a ‘sheriff’ investigate crime in Victorian England, and the use of 20th Century terms like ‘Hi’ and ‘OK’ .
However, the storyline is intriguing and Alaina is a brave, self contained heroine who is immediately engaging, and Tristan a well crafted hero who deserves his final reward. The story kept my attention in that I wanted to know if those I suspected were guilty and what happens at the end.
M K Mclintock shows passion in her characters’ growing feelings for one another as they set about solving the mystery of her parent’s murders. The couple’s introspection and growing feelings is both emotional and charming, so maybe readers won’t fixate on the mechanics of the narrative as I did, but as a writer I cannot turn off my internal editor!