Cover of Suspicion, featuring a woman in a white dress running through a dark maze made up of purple hedges

About the Book

Title: Suspicion
Published: 2014
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Get Lost
BFF Charm: Eventually?
Talky Talk: She Said
Bonus Factor: The Princess Diaries
Anti-Bonus Factor: Paranormal Activity
Relationship Status: See You on Social Media?

Cover Story: Get Lost

At first glance, this cover’s a decent one. There’s none of the typical tropes YA books often fall upon—even though Fancy Dress would have actually fit a book about a Duchess—and the maze is fittingly suspenseful for a book called Suspicion. However, what is going on with the woman in the corner? The movement blur makes the whole thing feel poorly Photoshopped.

The Deal:

Imogen Rockford is a member of the Rockfords, a British family that is a member of the peerage. Because she’s the only daughter of the younger brother of the eldest son of the current Duke, however, Imogen’s never going to need worry about becoming Duchess…or so she thought.

When Imogen returns to her family’s home in England after living most of her life in New York City, she’s not prepared for the life that she must lead. Nor is she prepared to unravel a mystery that leads back to a Rockford ancestor who Imogen has more in common with than anyone would ever expect.

BFF Charm: Eventually?

BFF Charm with a sweatband on

On a wholly superficial level, I would love to be friends with someone who suddenly found themselves royalty-adjacent. I would love to experience that life somewhat removed from it all. I wouldn’t want it to happen to me; I’m too much a fan of having a private life and too much not a fan of having my picture taken to want that life for myself. So yes, on that level I’d like to be friends with someone like Imogen.

However, on a personality level, Imogen leaves a little to be desired. At the start of the novel, Imogen is about to graduate from high school. She’s not a bad student, but she’s not a dedicated one. She doesn’t really want to go to college, but she knows people see it as an important next step. She’s waffling about what she wants to do with her life (which makes the whole Duchess thing very convenient). I understand what it means to be uncertain about the future, but this hesitant nature overshadows many of Imogen’s other traits as well.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Imogen has been in love with a certain boy for basically her entire life. This equates to a distinct lack of any sort of swoonbuilding, even when Imogen and said boy meet up after many years apart.

Talky Talk: She Said

As is the case with most suspense stories, Suspicion is told from the main character’s point of view, so we know as little about the mystery at the heart of the story as they do. As Imogen discovers more about her family and the circumstances surrounding her rise to power, so do we, as readers. Alexandra Monir has created an interesting story, but it doesn’t feel entirely fresh or as intriguing as I would have liked. Some of the plot points feel a tad contrived.

Bonus Factor: The Princess Diaries

Princess Mia (The Princess Diaries) in a tiara, ballgown, and gloves

Unlike Mia Thermopolis, who was completely blindsided by the news that she was a Genovian princess, Imogen is at least somewhat familiar with her family’s role in British society. Still, getting the news that she has to step up as the head of the Rockford family comes as a shock, and she has nearly an equal amount of etiquette classes to attend before making her first public appearance in the new role.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Paranormal Activity

Sam and Dean Winchester surrounded by paranormal creatures in a cemetery.

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of the paranormal. But in some stories, it just doesn’t fit. Such is the case with Suspicion, in which the fantasy aspects seem out of place. Had they been fleshed out more, I think they could have worked well. Perhaps if there had been more pages in the book devoted to worldbuilding?

Relationship Status: See You on Social Media?

Well, Book, our date wasn’t awful. Sure, you went off on a few random tangents, but I chalked that up to nervousness at trying to fit everything into the short time we had together. I liked you well enough, but I’m just not feeling that spark. I wouldn’t ignore your friend request on Facebook, but I’m not sure our relationship will ever become more than that.

Suspicion is available now.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from publisher. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.