Sophia Elliot is distraught when her brother's best friend unaccountably takes himself off to the continent with his only word being some idiocy about them being best friends.
For Sophia, their time together had been more than that. Indeed she'd thought Anthony Blake, the Earl of Wilshire felt likewise. The signs were all there.
Anthony, is in reality an English spy and he's been called back into service on the eve of him declaring his intentions towards Sophia. The task he's charged with reveals that Sophia along with many others are in danger. A coded document detailing the English spy network, their names and their loved ones has been stolen. The whole network maybe compromised unless Anthony can track it down.
Two years later Sophia decides to join the Fishing Fleet for Bombay (This was the name given to the annual exodus of young women to India seeking husbands each season).
And it's here that Sophia unexpectedly comes face to face with Anthony. Can Sophia survive this test? Can Anthony? And what of Anthony's task? A task that's dragged him across the continent all this time and now here. Why has his path led him to Bombay?
The mystery continues as Sophia and Anthony try to take up the reins of a relationship defined as friendship, with the beating heart of love barely disguised.
Allen brings alive the times and the colour of India, all underscored by the heady secrets revealed. Alongside this Allen hints at the disparagement and clashes between these two cultures.
To my mind the title, Secret of the India Orchid reflects the exoticness, the culture, the flora and fauna of a setting that the of Anthony's search deserves, bringing the secrets of love and betrayal that intertwine to a satisfying conclusion.
A NetGalley ARC