Review: On Good Authority by Briana Una McGuckin

Review by Eliza

A farmer’s daughter, Marian’s family fell on hard times. She suffered loss after loss, but became close friends with Valentine Hobbs, until he was sent to work for a family. Marian finds herself in a new position as a lady’s maid, and soon finds herself in trouble when she catches the master’s eye. When Valentine’s sent to work at the same house, the feelings they share are still there, but complications threaten to tear them apart.

Title: On Good Authority | Pub Date: 2022-10-11 | Pages: 336 | Genre: Historical Romance | Source: NetGalley | Starred Review

On Good Authority Review

This is an engaging read. Marian is a complex, but ultimately likable, character I was happy to spend some time with, and the author does a great job building the atmosphere and tension throughout.

The relationship aspects are interesting. On one hand, Marian and Valentine share some interests in BDSM. However, she’s very resistant to her master’s efforts to abuse her and have his way with her. In that respect, this book draws a clear line about consent and lifestyle. What you consent to do with a romantic partner doesn’t give anyone else license to do the same to you. I will admit that the inference about the content initially made me think the book was going to head in some different directions, but no complaints.

In fact, this book has a solid plot and hides some things in plain sight to keep you guessing. There were unexpected twists along the way, and I genuinely thought the ending would go one direction for a while. Instead, it surprised me and for me, the ending elevated what was already a strong read. 

The author’s done their homework about the time period and done a fantastic job immersing the reader in the historical setting. This works well, and the author also delved into some areas we rarely see in historical fiction, such as the homes where women and children went when their families fell on hard times. In that respect, parts of it are challenging and infuriating, because a bad harvest can put a man in jail and leave their family destitute. This book also looks at the abuses levied against servants by the upper class, which also doesn’t seem to happen often enough. 

I definitely think anyone who likes historical romance will enjoy this. I also think it will appeal to historical mystery fans who don’t mind a strong romance theme throughout. 4 stars. 

Eliza Bio

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