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A Royal Affair

(Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery #2)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  497 ratings  ·  151 reviews
More goes wrong than could be imagined when Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau are unexpectedly engaged to dig into the past of a suitor of a royal princess in Allison Montclair’s delightful second novel, A Royal Affair.

In London 1946, The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is just beginning to take off and the proprietors, Miss Iris Sparks and
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 28th 2020 by Minotaur Books (first published June 9th 2020)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Barb in Maryland
A quick read of the blurb will reveal that the author is involving real people, who are of note and who are still living, in the plot of this book. I did cringe a bit when I first read the book description because I am not a fan of such ploys and I worried about how the author would handle it. I am happy to report that it was handled fairly well--my cringe was reduced to some heavy eye-rolling.

The emotional core of the book centers on our two heroines: their individual journeys toward emotional
The Lit Bitch
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
After reading the first book in this new historical mystery series last year at about this same time, I was eager to read the next installment and see how well the next mystery satisfied.

I remembered really enjoying the relationship between the two main characters, Iris and Gwen. I thought they were funny and paired well together so I was eager to see how that translated in this latest mystery.

The other thing that I thought sounded so much fun was this book was that this time the mystery was to
Two unusual women ... and intrigue!

This continuation of the series is as good as its predecessor. London 1946 and The Right Sort Marriage Bureau owners Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge who were both affected by the war, although in different ways find themselves investigating a potential groom in a whole new way. Both women have their own devils to conquer. Their joint business venture is one way of moving forward. But this is something from left field.
Gwen seems like a privileged ex debutan
Oct 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first book in the series The Right Sort of Man so I was eager to read the second book A Royal Affair.

I have been debating between a 3 star and or a 4 star rating. The three star due to the book was slow for me and didn't hold my interest. The four star due to the characters of Gwen Bainbridge and Iris Sparks. They met after the war and have set up a matrimony service for clients who are in search of a partner for marriage.

Gwen is an aristocrat who has been widowed due to WW2. She
Susan Johnson
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I quite enjoyed this second book in this new series. Sparks and Bainbridge are two friends who run a marriage bureau. This seems to be a forerunner of a dating site but apparently more serious. They get paid when people actually get married. Sparks worked in intelligence during the War and it's with this background and Bainbridge's top society connections that they get called in by the palace to investigate a possible blackmail in Princess Elizabeth's budding romance with Prince Phillip.

There i
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
By Allison Montclair

“A Royal Affair” is the second in the Sparks and Bainbridge series, and what a wonderful and enjoyable read this one was for me. I really enjoy a fantastic cozy and this one was a really fun read. I did not have the chance to read book one, but did not hinder my enjoying the characters and I feel that it worked well as a stand alone. I will be reading book one since I fell in love with the characters in this book.

This book had it all from a twisty mystery, to qu
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the publisher for the free e-galley. A Royal Affair follows the hilarious and exciting post-WW2 adventures of Iris and Gwen, owners of the Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Iris, an ex-spy, and Gwen, an aristocratic war widow and single mother, seem to come from different spheres of society. But their deep camaraderie and snappy dialogue make the story shine. The first half of the book is spent unwinding political histories and secrets, and the dead body doesn't show up til about halfway ...more
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau are enlisted to investigate the prince about to be engaged to Princess Elizabeth. It takes them on a dangerous, deadly, and sometimes hilarious journey to find the truth.

I'm not much of a royal watcher but I did enjoy how these ladies outsmarted many men in this intriguing mystery.
Cathy Cole
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having enjoyed the first book in the series, The Right Sort of Man, a great deal, I looked forward to A Royal Affair with a great deal of anticipation. I am so happy to say that this second book met and exceeded all my expectations. Isn't it great when that happens?

Iris Sparks and Gwen Bainbridge are two excellent characters. They both bring completely different skill sets to the table. Gwen is widowed, with a young son who is in the custody of his rich, titled grandparents. Gwen loved her husba
Niki (mustreadalltheromance)
In 1946, Post-War London, Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are finding that their risk-taking is paying off and their fledgling business, The Right Sort Marriage Bureau, is beginning to take off. In fact, they could use a secretary and a bigger office, but they don't yet have enough capital for the expansion. So, when a well-connected cousin of Gwen's arrives with an intriguing and lucrative task, they're happy to hear her out.

Gwen's cousin, Lady Matheson, is mysterious and tight-l
Susan in NC
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars - no sophomore slump for this second in a favorite new historical mystery series, only a rather unrealistic ending kept it from a full 5 stars.

War widow Gwen Bainbridge and former spy Iris Sparks have become friends and formed the Right Sort Marriage Bureau in postwar London. The time and setting are accurately evoked with rationing, burned out bomb sites still uncleared, and geopolitical issues. Among these are the postwar jostling for power in England and Greece; communists, pro-mona
So much fun! Great characters, sparkling dialogue. I appreciate how the author has the ladies working through their PTSD and grief from their war experiences and losses. But I hope romance finds them in future books! I especially enjoyed the impromptu dancing lesson and the poignant dance with a royal.
Were I to choose actors/actresses to fill these characters' shoes, the roster might include Veronica Lake (Bainbridge), Claudette Colbert (Sparks), Cary Grant (Archie) & Walter Pidgeon (Sally) . .
☼Book her,   Danno☼
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-series, 2020, mystery

I love this series. Strong female characters who develop a close relationship despite their sharp differences.

The writing is excellent, smart and witty; and the plotting is marvelous. As far as the setting the author knows her stuff when it comes to post WWII Britain. She also knows how to write up secondary characters so you want more. More, more, more.

Oddly enough, the only thing I didn't love about this book was the ending. It wasn't horrible, just a bit theatrical. But please don't let this
Lady Shockley
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Allison Montclair's Sparks and Bainbridge series is one of my new favorites. I've read mysteries and police procédurale since my teens, and have grown weary of the predictability of brooding, anguished detectives, serial killers who inexplicably must have a flashy murderous signature, and crimes which are complicated only so the author can impress us all with the ingenuity of the plot, never mind that the crime could never be pulled off in real life. Sigh.
In contrast to those disappointment, Ir
Susan Willis
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having not read book 1, it took me several pages to get into the book. However, once there I absolutely loved it. The pairing of characters and their skills, the witty dialogue and the interesting plot made for a wonderful read. I highly recommend.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Iris and Gwen, owners of the Right Sort Marriage Bureau, are asked by Gwen's cousin, Lady Matheson, to investigate a possible blackmail plot against the royal family. It looks like an engagement is imminent between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and there appears to be someone who has damaging information on the Prince's family that could stop the marriage from occurring. In their effort to discover the truth, Iris and Gwen find themselves embroiled with British intelligence, the Greek co ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a perfect escape for those of us who enjoy historical fiction with unbelievably intrepid heroines who have brains, a sense of humor and more than a little bit of luck. This novel is for the reader (like me) who is totally willing to suspend their disbelief in the service of entertainment.

A Royal Affair was a great escape during a period when we are confined to home, with no escape in sight. I loved every minute I spent with the two protagonists and look forward to more adventures with th
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This mystery started off absolutely charmingly. Were those faint hints of Wodehouse I was picking up on? And with "My poor wounded Gwendolyn!" a definite nod to Oscar Wilde. Sparks and Bainbridge are delightful heroines.

The humor tapered off as the plot thickened, which I thought was too bad - I think it's possible to have a mystery that's both lighthearted and serious-minded. :) I found my attention wandering in places and the plot seemed to get a bit murky at points. (But that could definitel
When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I have played a zillion games of scrabble, done a zillion crosswords and I AM BORED!!!)

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the aut
Michelle Kenneth -
For those who loved Jennifer Robson's "The Gown," you will love this book. This book was so entertaining.

This matchmaking agency is tasked to research blackmail letters Princess Elizabeth received re: Prince Philip's legitimacy. While the young princess is awaiting Prince Philip's proposal, a socialite and a former spy investigate these letters, including where they came from, who is sending them, and what is in these letters that could jeopardize Prince Philip's claim to the young princess's h
Janine Ballard
3.25 stars

After The Right Sort of Man, this was a disappointment.

Joint review with Jayne on DA:
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books
This series and this book are just a delight to read! I enjoyed the first book in this series (The Right Sort of Man) last year so I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book. This book was just as fun and pleasurable to read as that first book! One of the things that I adore about this series is the two main characters of Gwen and Iris. They are two very different women but they work together so well and really complement each other. With a book that has two main characters, as the ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was so excited to read the second. We find Iris Sparks and Gwen Bainbridge fresh off of the publicity surrounding their success of solving a murder case while running their matchmaking business. They receive a call from one of Princess Elizabeth’s staff to ask for help with vetting one of the Princess’ suitors, Prince Phillip. Naturally, things become more complicated, when one of their contacts is murdered, a gangster, Iris has to ask for hel ...more
Carol lowkey.bookish
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun historical mystery. I especially enjoyed reading about all the clients who visit The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. I also loved the humor and witty banter between the main characters, Gwen and Iris. They are interesting characters that I want to learn more about.

The mystery itself is very complex and in the middle I got a little lost in all the details and different parties in play. However, it all gets brilliantly wrapped up by Gwen and Iris in a stunning Agatha Christie-style endi
Our intrepid lady marriage-brokers turned detectives are back. This time they have been approached by one of Gwendolyn's distant cousins, on behalf of the Queen, to investigate a letter which was sent to Princess Elizabeth, attempting blackmail in relation to her latest beau, a dashing Greek Prince!!

Intrigue, double-cross and triple-cross are all in evidence as Iris and Gwen attempt to determine whether the blackmailer has any real evidence, the reasons for the blackmail and who is behind the pl
2020 bk 272. Montclair does it again. She continues to wrap us up in the world of the Marriage Bureau and the various tasks the two owners are called upon to perform. This time a cousin of Gwen pulls them into vetting prospects for royalty, based on a viscious letter that besmirches the name of the mother of a possible groom. The search into the young man's background pulls the two into espionage agents and actions from the early 1920's, the Greek multi political feuds, and plain and simple blac ...more
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
The first book in this new series was enjoyable, and Montclair takes on a slightly more complex subject in book 2, which features a royal entanglement, more characters, and a confusing sequence of events--all are handily resolved by the end. The author is excessively fond of dialogue--pages and pages of it, and if you read this when tired you will find yourself skipping pages just to find some story movement. That said, the two protagonists are well drawn and interesting to get to know. The book ...more
Iris and Gwendolyn own The Right Sort Marriage Bureau, a matchmaking service in post WWII London. They have also gained a reputation for solving mysteries, even though they have only solved one. This mystery involves finding out some information about the possible future husband of Princess Elizabeth. It all gets very tangled before it gets resolved, and along the way, at least one couple finds out each other is the Right Sort.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Royal Affair is an entertaining mystery set in post WWII London. Iris Sparks and Gwen Bainbridge run The Right Sort Marriage Bureau, a matchmaking agency. They are enlisted by a contact in the British royal household to investigate a suitor for the Princess.
A Royal Affair has a lot of action, twists and turns. I did not read Ms. Montclair’s first novel, but this one does stand alone.
I received this book through a goodreads giveaway.
Niki (nikilovestoread)
I absolutely love this series! Filled with a stellar cast of characters, lots of intrigue, and witty humor, what's not to love? I loved the first book, too, but this one might be even better. I love that each book builds upon the previous and we learn more about our main characters as the stories go on. Can't wait for the next in the series!

Thanks so much to the publisher for the review copy!
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ALLISON MONTCLAIR grew up devouring hand-me-down Agatha Christie paperbacks and James Bond movies. As a result of this deplorable upbringing, Montclair became addicted to tales of crime, intrigue, and espionage. She now spends her spare time poking through the corners, nooks, and crannies of history, searching for the odd mysterious bits and transforming them into novels of her own. The Right Sort ...more

Other books in the series

Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery (3 books)
  • The Right Sort of Man (Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery #1)
  • A Rogue's Company (Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery #3)

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
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“There were many women I have had to dance with tonight,” he said as they whirled around the room. “There is only one I wanted to dance with.” “Then I’m sorry she couldn’t be here, Your Majesty,” replied Mrs. Bainbridge. “I hope that I prove an adequate substitute.” “You are very well informed,” he said, laughing ruefully. “Still, it is a lovely thing to dance with a beautiful woman, no matter what the circumstances. One can forget that the world exists outside the dance floor. One can forget that one is no longer young, or healthy. Or king.” “There are things I should like to forget as well, Your Majesty,” said Mrs. Bainbridge. “Let us be amnesiacs together.” 0 likes
“ALLISON MONTCLAIR grew up devouring hand-me-down Agatha Christie paperbacks and James Bond movies. As a result of this deplorable upbringing, Montclair became addicted to tales of crime, intrigue, and espionage. Montclair now spends their spare time poking through the corners, nooks, and crannies of history, searching for the odd mysterious bits and transforming them into novels of their own. Montclair is the author of The Right Sort of Man, the first Sparks & Bainbridge mystery.” 0 likes
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