Monday, March 29, 2021

On My Radar: Allison Montclair's A Rogue's Company

The subject of women in World War II seems to be a hot property in the historical mystery genre, and so far I haven't gotten my fill. There were too many unsung female heroes during that time, and I think it's going to take awhile before telling their stories-- in both fiction and non-fiction-- will begin to sour.

Allison Montclair's Sparks & Bainbridge series about two very different women who open a marriage bureau in London has been a joy to read. In fact, the second book, A Royal Affair, was one of my Best Reads of 2020. Once you know that, you have to know that I did a little happy dance when I learned that the release of the third book will be taking place in June. Let me tell you more about it.


Available June 8, 2021!


"In London, 1946, the Right Sort Marriage Bureau is getting on its feet and expanding. Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are making a go of it. That is until Lord Bainbridge―the widowed Gwen's father-in-law and legal guardian―returns from a business trip to Africa and threatens to undo everything important to her, even sending her six-year-old son away to a boarding school.

But there's more going on than that. A new client shows up at the agency, one whom Sparks and Bainbridge begin to suspect really has a secret agenda, somehow involving the Bainbridge family. A murder and a subsequent kidnapping sends Sparks to seek help from a dangerous quarter―and now their very survival is at stake.

It sounds as though this third book really focuses on Gwen Bainbridge, whose family situation is very painful to her. I'm certainly looking forward to finding out what happens!

What about you? Have any of you read the Sparks & Bainbridge mysteries? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. I love it when I discover a great new series like that, Cathy, so I'm very happy for you. And I agree that women's roles in WWII haven't been explored deeply; it's a fascinating subject, and I can see how you're eager to learn more. WWII seems close for, because my parents and grandparents remembered it and I've heard what they said about both the war and the home front. Somehow it doesn't seem that long ago...

    1. World War II doesn't seem like ancient history to me either because my grandfather fought in it, and my grandmother and mother have told me what it was like on the homefront.

  2. I'm not familiar with this series but it seems like one I would like. I've been reading non-fiction lately, specifically the autobiographies of "old-school" news reporters (newspaper, radio, and ultimately television). I recently finished Howard K. Smith's. He was originally from Ferriday, Louisiana (also birthplace of musician Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin evangelist Jimmy Swaggart) so that is what initially caught my attention. Smith certainly does not provide a female perspective, but he does write in some depth of his experiences as a reporter in Germany during the war. He studied German at Tulane, which is why he was assigned to Germany. Like Margot, I grew up hearing my parents and all my older relatives talk about W.W. II so it seemed very real to me.

  3. A Royal Affair is waiting for me at the library! I have an appointment to pick it up tomorrow. I am glad to know the third book is coming soon.

    1. I loved A Royal Affair, so I really hope you enjoy it, Gretchen!


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