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The Counterfeit Guest

The Counterfeit Guest

A Novel

  • reading group guide
In this rousing sequel to The Blackstone Key, Rose Melikan’s heroine returns to the world of espionage for an intelligent, thrilling adventure in Georgian England.

When the story begins Mary is a wealthy heiress. Young ladies in her situation ought to marry well—as her friend Susannah Armitage has. But is Susannah’s marriage to Colonel Crosby-Nash all that it seems? Mary thinks not, and when her suspicions lead to a meeting with the elusive spymaster, Cuthbert Shy, he reveals the terrible truth—the colonel is a traitor. At Shy’s request, Mary agrees to accompany the Crosby-Nashes to their country estate, in order to discover his secrets. It is a perilous assignment, and the danger increases when her only means of communicating with Shy is murderously cut off. If only Mary could contact the redoubtable Captain Robert Holland, but as he has inexplicably ended their friendship, his help seems out of reach.… In the grand tradition of Charlotte Bronte and Daphne du Maurier, Melikan presents a gripping tale of adventure and romance, while enhancing both with flawless details of time and place. The combination will keep readers holding their breath until the next explosive installment.
Choose a format:
  • Touchstone | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416560876 | 
  • August 2009
List Price $29.99

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Counterfeit Guest includes discussion questions and a Q&A with author Rose Melikan. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Questions for Discussion

1. Discuss the development of Mary Finch’s character. Have wealth and social status changed her? Do you agree with Mary’s self-assessment that she has become “concerned only with satisfying her own vanity”? If not, provide evi­dence to the contrary.

2. Explain Captain Holland’s reluctance to pursue a romantic relationship with Mary. Do you believe his fears are justi­fied? How does Mary attempt to reassure him? Do you think she is successful? Why or why not?

3. What are the central elements of the plot regarding the military installations at Spithead, the Nore, London, and Woolwich? What roles do Crosby-Nash, Rabelais, Major Whittington, and Phoebus play with regard to mutinies at these locations, and why do their plans succeed or fail?

4. Compare Major Whittington’s way of thinking about his duties with Captain Holland’s. What insights do you gain about their characters and motivation? Do you believe that each could stand to learn from the other’s approach? Why or why not? see more

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About the Author

Rose Melikan
Photo Credit: Jeff Cottenden

Rose Melikan

Rose Melikan was born in Detroit, Michigan.  Since 1993, she has been a Fellow of St. 
Catharine's College, Cambridge.  Her academic research centers on 18th and early 19th 
British political and constitutional history.  She lives in Cambridge, England with her husband.

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