Contains spoilers for the first two books in the trilogy
Late for the Wedding is the third book in the Lake and March trilogy by romance writer Amanda Quick. The series is set in the early 1800s, for the most part in London.
Lavinia Lake did not like Tobias March when they first met. It may have had something to do with the fact that he was destroying the shop that she ran with her niece. However, over the course of the first two books Lavinia and Tobias get over their initial dislike of each other and become business partners and lovers. Together they investigate crimes and catch criminals.
Emeline is Lavinia's niece who she has been taking care of for many years. Lavinia is determined that Emeline will marry well.
Anthony is the brother of Tobias' dead wife and determined to follow his brother in law into the investigative business.
In the first two books Emeline and Anthony fall in love but Anthony believes that he must be financially stable before he can propose to her.
Years before the start of this book (or even the start of the series) Tobias was a spy. During that time he had an apprentice, that apprentice went on to become the second "Memento Mori Man", a murderer who killed for money but only killed people who he thought deserved to die. When Tobias figured out who he was the Memento Mori Man killed himself.
At the beginning of this book Lavinia and Tobias are attempting to enjoy a house party, a chance for the unmarried lovers to be intimate in a more comfortable setting (rather than making use of carriages, desks and the park). Things don't work out quite as they planned when they discover that there is a new Memento Mori Man and then a man is murdered right there at the party.
Lavinia and Tobias are once again hired to investigate.
I have read and enjoyed the first two books and I was very much looking forward to reading this one but I was very disappointed.
I guess the real disappointment was that it wasn't very romantic. There are few sweet scenes between Lavinia and Tobias but it's nothing like the explosive passion that was present in the first two books. It's almost like they've already passed into that steady, stable phase of the relationship which isn't very interesting to read about in my opinion.
Anthony and Emeline's relationship has progressed in this book but you don't get to read much about it, it's all very brief and left me feeling like I had missed something.
The main focus of this book was the investigation into the Memento Mori Man which was actually really interesting but this wasn't meant to be a crime novel so for me the investigation should have been secondary to the romance or it should have been marketed as a crime novel.
As a crime novel I don't think it was that good either. I did find the whole Memento Mori Man thing to be very interesting and I love books where I can guess who the murderer is but it really wasn't up to the standard of actual crime books, which of course you can get away with if the genre of the book is romance. The main problem was that a lot of things didn't make sense. I don't want to give away spoilers because the main strength of this book is that you can try to guess who the murderer is but Quick doesn't really tie up all of the lose ends in a way that is logical. There are many twists in this book so things that at first seemed completely logical are no longer logical and Quick doesn't seem to have factored that in so some things go unexplained, or you have to just suspend logic in order to make her explanations work.
There were still many things about this book that I did like.
The characters are great and are probably the main reason why I have enjoyed the trilogy so much. Both Lavinia and Tobias are stubborn, independent and intelligent which makes for some interesting interactions between the two of them. I liked that they had both taken on parental responsibility for children who were not their own and that they have loved them and cared for them as though they were their own children.
I liked that the book explored some very real issues for that time like how marriage was a real risk for women who would have very few rights and may be married to men that they didn't like. There was certainly a feminist element to this book, as there are to many of Quick's novels, which I also liked. I can't enjoy a book where the women aren't strong, or where the women do nothing except have children and I always find that Quick's books are a safe choice in this respect. Late for the Wedding is no exception. Lavinia doesn't let any man push her around and she is very insistent that she be involved in all aspects of the investigative business even when it means having to deal with unpleasant things like dead bodies.
This book probably could be read as a stand alone novel but I would really only recommend it to people who have read and enjoyed the first two books and want to know what happens to Lavinia, Tobias, Emeline and Anthony.