Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Congress of Secrets by Stephanie Burgis

Standalone
340 p.
Publisher: Pyr
Published: 11/1/16
Source: From publisher for review
In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon…among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy. 
Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael Steinhüller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever. 
The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering façade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?
My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Stephanie Burgis's last historical novel, Masks and Shadows (review linked) so I was thrilled that this one came in the mail for review. This is based on some historical events (Congress of Vienna) and people ( for example Pergren, a villain in the book, was a real villain in life). The author even suggests books at the end of the story if you would like to further your education on the time or people of the book.

Of course not everything is based on truth and usually that is the part that I enjoy. I would have thought the alchemy would have drawn me in... well, it did, but what really captivated me was the mystery. Caroline was the mystery. Her past, present, and what she wanted all intermingled with the political intrigue of the time period.  How those puzzle pieces came together is what really what had me turning the pages of this book.

There are other POVs within the book which enhances the political mystery as well as brings to light other aspects that Caroline did not and could not have known or expected. One of them is the viewpoint of Michael who was an old trusted friend whom she felt abandoned her. You also get a viewpoints of Emperor Francis and Peter who is part of an actors group caught up in the intrigue. These viewpoints are well placed and so it wasn't confusing to the reader.

Without revealing what happens I have to say I really enjoyed the ending. I did not want to put it down and it was quite satisfying, especially with our main character, Caroline. This is a solid mystery with some paranormal happenings to enhance the threat. I give this book 4 stars.

30 comments:

  1. Ooh, I haven't heard of this or the author before but it definitely sounds like something I'd enjoy a lot! I love a good mystery so thanks for putting this on my radar, Melissa!

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  2. at first, i was like, ohhhh a political fiction, then i read the rest of the review and I'm like. Oh, not that kind of political fiction. Lol.

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    1. Yea, my kind. LOL What can I say I like the side of weird. :D

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  3. I read this one too and really liked it as well, it was a fun book full of surprises for sure.

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    1. Oh I'm glad you enjoyed it as well. Did you try her first book? Liked that one as well.

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  4. Hmmm...I didn't think this would be my thing but the more I read of your review the more interested I got.

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    1. LOL! She does like to throw in surprises of the paranormal nature. :)

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  5. I really liked her MG series though I still need to finish the last book but I'm curious about picking up this one. It sounds like something that I would enjoy.

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    1. Oh I haven't read her MG stuff. I think I do need to check out more of her stuff.

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  6. Haven't read this author before, will have to give her a go one day. And I love when I get that can't put the book down feeling :)

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  7. Yep..I loved the mystery of Caroline too Melissa. So glad you enjoyed it as well :)

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  8. Good to hear that the mystery was good, but the politics don't do it for me personally.

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    1. Not heavy on the politics so I think you could stand it.

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  9. I love it when authors mix in some historical truths into their stories. It is great that she shared places to get more information about those truths. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

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  10. Not normally a fan of historical fiction but would read this if I came across it xxx

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. I really have liked her work and it is a bit different than most historical fiction.

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  11. I love Stephanie Burgis' childrens books - will have to give this adult series of hers a go :)

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  12. mixed bag of reviews I read on this one, but I love the fact that she used history in the story, that in itself is exciting

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    1. I think I did enjoy her other one a bit more, but I still loved how she wove this one.

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  13. This is a new author to me. I love the sound of the story.

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    1. She's still pretty new to me and I've really liked her stuff.

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  14. It's good that there were other perspectives in this read. That way you could understand the overall story arc a little better. Great review Melissa!

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    1. It was interesting and she always seems to be able to enhance the story with the perspectives.

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