Series Name: Dangerous Damsels #3
Alice had never met people so dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. She could not approve of this, nor of their determination to drag her along – literally, in the case of the conga oh sure, when off duty she enjoyed such pleasurable activities as giving the bedroom a good sweep and rubbing the entire body of her silverware collection until it shone. But wanton cheerfulness was like reading a book without first checking how it ended. The risk of surprise was simply too great.
India Holton ends her Dangerous Damsels series with a bang.
Known as Agent A, Alice is the top operative within the Agency of Undercover Note Takers, a secret government intelligence group that is fortunately better at espionage than at naming itself. From managing deceptive witches to bored aristocratic ladies, nothing is beyond Alice’s capabilities. She has a steely composure and a plan always up her sleeve (alongside a dagger and an embroidered handkerchief). So when rumors of an assassination plot begin to circulate, she’s immediately assigned to the case.
But she’s not working alone. Daniel Bixby, otherwise known as Agent B and Alice’s greatest rival, is given the most challenging undercover assignment of his life— pretending to be Alice’s husband. Together they will assume the identity of a married couple, infiltrate a pirate house party, and foil their unpatriotic plans.
Determined to remain consummate professionals, Alice and Daniel must ignore the growing attraction between them, especially since acting on it might prove more dangerous than their target.
India Holton has become an autoread author for me. Her historical fantasy romances are imaginative, funny and smart. I use the words bonkers to describe them to friends. They are just a delightful read and you can’t be in a bad mood while reading them. The Secret Service of Tea and Treason is no different.
In the final installment of India’s Dangerous Damsels series, the story focuses on secondary characters from the series: servants who are actually spies, Alice and Daniel. Alice and Daniel have given their lives to their service: in fact, they never had a choice. They were placed in service after being plucked from orphanages. Friends, hobbies, loves and life experiences are not encouraged or allowed in the service. Through their work with witches and pirates, however, Alice and Daniel begin to realize that there’s more to life than work. There’s a fun mystery: who is plotting to blow up the queen? But really, the book is more a joyous romp through Alice and Daniel learning about themselves, what they desire, and if they can make room for emotions and feelings in their organized lives. I absolutely adore Alice and Daniel together. India notes that both Alice and Daniel are neurodivergent and that she wanted their experiences and relationships to be authentic to their experiences. Alice and Daniel begin their relationship as competitors, both trying to be the best agent, but when they have to work together on a mission, they learn to respect, then like and then admire each other. They support each other in their successes but also help each other when situations become too much for them. I loved their romance because it was as much about being good partners and supporting each other as it was about their attraction to each other.
Of course, India’s books are filled with a host of other characters. I was so happy to see Ned, Cecilia, Alex, Charlotte, and so many other familiar characters come back together in these pages. Getting to spend more time with these characters and seeing how they had all grown over the series was the perfect way to finish this book.
Thank you to Berkley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.