If you love historical mysteries, you will want to make time to read Secret of the Sonnets by Samantha Hastings. It’s a great way to start your new year! Ms. Hastings is a new-to-me author and I really enjoyed her writing style, witty conversation, and balance of mystery and romance.

In Secret of the Sonnets, readers are introduced to Miranda Hatch a twenty-six-year-old spinster scholar with a particular interest in William Shakespeare’s sonnets. Her research leads her to a possible piece of correspondence between Shakespeare and the ancestor of a nearby marquess, Lord Robert Hamilton. Miranda writes to Robert and asks if he has any family papers that could be from Shakespeare’s time. Her letter comes at a good time, since Robert is trying to sell anything of worth to save his estate from the debts his father incurred before his death. Gathering what papers he can, Robert visits the Hatch family, hoping he has something of worth that could save his heavily mortgaged home. During his visit, they uncover a clue that might lead them to Shakespeare’s lost manuscripts. It doesn’t take long before Robert and the Hatch family are drawn into a web of intrigue. The closer Miranda and Robert get to finding the manuscripts, the closer they become as a couple who may have a future together—but an enemy is waiting to come between them and are ready to do whatever it takes to keep the secret for themselves.

I have always loved Shakespeare’s plays and this book has a surprising twist on some of the controversy that surrounds him as an author even today. Readers will be riveted to the page as Miranda and Robert try to untangle a centuries old mystery regarding the Bard. Not only is the author skilled at weaving the clues to the mystery into the story, she also expertly entwines a tender romance with Shakespearean discussions and references that are delightful and charming. Our hero and heroine were intelligent and believable, and the supporting cast felt real with their quirks and nuances, adding an extra layer of depth to this imaginative and clever story.

But this treasure hunt is about so much more than Shakespeare’s secrets as Miranda and Robert begin to see that perhaps the treasure is each other. However, with danger surrounding them and Society’s expectations a heavy weight to bear, can they really find a way to be together? Readers will definitely want to set aside enough time for this book because they won’t want to set it down.

Secret of the Sonnets by Samantha Hastings, published by Covenant Communications, 293 pages. Available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook.

Samantha Hastings met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, having tea parties, and chasing her four kids. She has degrees from Brigham Young University, University of North Texas, and University of Reading (UK). She writes cozy murder mysteries under Samantha Larsen.