Friday 19 May 2023

The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray - Review

Today the blog tour for Claudia Gray’s The Late Mrs. Willoughby stops by for my review. Let me share the blurb with you, and then I’ll tell you what I thought of the story.

Book cover: The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray. Picture shows silhouetted figures
Book Description

The suspenseful sequel to The Murder of Mr. Wickham, which sees Jonathan Darcy and Juliet Tilney reunited, and with another mystery to solve: the dreadful poisoning of the scoundrel Willoughby's new wife.

Catherine and Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey are not entirely pleased to be sending their eligible young daughter Juliet out into the world again: the last house party she attended, at the home of the Knightleys, involved a murder—which Juliet helped solve. Particularly concerning is that she intends to visit her new friend Marianne Brandon, who's returned home to Devonshire shrouded in fresh scandal—made more potent by the news that her former suitor, the rakish Mr. Willoughby, intends to take up residence at his local estate with his new bride.

Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley are thrilled that their eldest son, Jonathan—who, like his father, has not always been the most socially adept—has been invited to stay with his former schoolmate, John Willoughby. Jonathan himself is decidedly less taken with the notion of having to spend extended time under the roof of his old bully, but that all changes when he finds himself reunited with his fellow amateur sleuth, the radiant Miss Tilney. And when shortly thereafter, Willoughby's new wife—whom he married for her fortune—dies horribly at the party meant to welcome her to town.

With rumors flying and Marianne—known to be both unstable and previously jilted by the dead woman's newly made widower—under increased suspicion, Jonathan and Juliet must team up once more to uncover the murderer. But as they collect clues and close in on suspects, eerie incidents suggest that the killer may strike again, and that the pair are in far graver danger than they or their families could imagine.

The Late Mrs Willoughby by Claudia Gray - Review

Book cover: The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray
Two of my favourite genres of story are Austenesque and cosy mystery so a story combining the two is definitely something that will make it onto my to be read list. The Late Mrs Willoughby by Claudia Gray is the second in Mr Darcy & Miss Tilney Mysteries series. I am so pleased there was a second book, because I enjoyed the first in the series (The Murder of Mr. Wickham) very much and was really hoping for there to be a sequel because I wanted to see more of the two investigators (the son of P&P’s Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet and the daughter of Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey).

You don’t need to have read The Murder of Mr. Wickham to read this story, but I would strongly recommend it – firstly because the identity of the murderer of Mr Wickham is mentioned in this book so reading them the wrong way round would ruin the first book for you, but mainly because in the first book there’s quite a bit of character building of Mr Darcy and Miss Tilney and there’s much less of this in The Late Mrs Willoughby. I grew very fond of both of them during the first book, and I think that made me enjoy this book more, because I knew the characters and was invested in them.  

As you can tell from the title, this mystery is what happened to Mrs Willoughby. The story is set a relatively short time after the end of S&S so the Willoughbys haven’t been married all that long… but it’s long enough for poor Mrs Willoughby to have realised that she was just married for her money. 

Willoughby has inherited Allenham, the house in the area that the Dashwoods and Colonel Brandon live in, and he has come with his wife and a party of friends to celebrate his inheritance. Well, I say friends, but the people he has invited are an unsuccessful suitor of his wife, and two people he bullied at school, including Mr Jonathan Darcy.

Visiting the Colonel and Mrs Brandon is Miss Juliet Tilney. They met during the events of the first book and have struck up a friendship. Juliet hadn’t expected to meet with Mr Darcy again, but when Mrs Willoughby dies, and it is suspected to be murder, they fall back into their previous roles of investigators.

One thing I very much enjoyed about this book was the humour; so many of the inner thoughts of the characters, and some of their misinterpretations or misunderstandings gave me amusement:

I must go into Barton eventually, she thought. No one could hide within Delaford forever. (Marianne had considered this seriously enough to have determined its utter impossibility.)

I was a little disappointed with the mystery in the first book feeling that any of a number of people could have done it, but I found the mystery in this book more satisfactory. I worked out whodunnit this time (woohoo!).

I enjoyed watching the relationship between Jonathan and Juliet develop. I fell a little bit in love with him in the first book, which made me feel very sour towards Willoughby and his bullying and unpleasant ways.

I found the ending of the book a little bit disappointing as it was so abrupt. However, it gives clear indications of there being another book to come so I will forgive this. To be clear, the murder mystery is neatly solved by the end of the book, it’s not a cliff hanger in that respect.

I am really looking forward to reading the next installment in the Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney Mysteries series when it comes. I found The Late Mrs Willoughby to be a book I didn’t want to put down, and would rate it as a 4 star read.

4 star read

Author Claudia Gray

Author Bio

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline, and Jane Austen-inspired series, A Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney Mysteries. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 



Book Cover: The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray
Buy Links

The Late Mrs. Willoughby is available to buy now in Paperback, e-book and audio.





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