Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Spymaster's Lady

Book: The Spymaster's Lady
Author: Joanna Bourne
Grade: A

It's always the books I love the most that I'm unable to put into words.

Don't let the bare chested, man titty cover fool you, this is a very good book. So good, in fact, that I have read it twice. I have nothing but good things to say about The Spymaster's Lady, which makes it hard for me to review. So instead of going through the whole summary, I'm just going to point out a few things that made me love this book so much.

She's braved battlefields. She's stolen dispatches from under the noses of heads of state. She's played the worldly courtesan, the naive virgin, the refined British lady, even a Gypsy boy. But Annique Villiers, the elusive spy known as the Fox Cub, has finally met the one man she can't outwit.

  • I loved the heroine, Annique Villers. Annique is a spy for the French. She was smart, crafty and witty. Her external and internal dialogue was engrossing and I became totally enamored with the character. Not a usual occurrence with me and romance heroines but Annique was not the average heroine.

  • The hero, Robert Grey. Grey is an English Spymaster. He served his time in the war and became the British Head of Section. Grey isn't the normal, run of the mill romance hero. He isn't rakishly handsome or brooding, he doesn't need reforming or saving. Though he is intelligent, cunning and quite delicious in his own right.

  • The Romance. Annique and Grey don't fall for each other immediately. It's gradual and while it's not the foremost running theme in this story it is a strong one. A romance between the two isn't easy under the circumstances. Annique is a French spy and Grey is an English one. Each can use the others secrets against them for the gain of their own country. Therefore they are inevitable enemies. But even with this big elephant between them they are realistically attracted to each other.

  • The setting. Even though this is a historical there are no pretty, formal Balls and no fancy dresses. Thank goodness, finally! There is lots of movement in terms of location, which I loved. Part of the book was in France, part in England and some of it was spent on the countryside. There was plenty of action and never a stagnant moment. Thumbs up to that.

  • The secondary characters. I love when secondary characters are fleshed out without taking over the story. Bourne did a great job of that. Adrian and Will were just as entertaining as Annique and Grey. I especially liked Adrian and wonder if Joanna might intend on writing a story for him. I'd love to read about Adrian and his mystery lady.

  • Last but not least, the language. Annique was very French from her speaking patterns to her internal speech -all French- and Grey was completely English in the same respect. The dialogue stays this way throughout the whole book. There is never a lapse in Annique's french speaking, never a moment when I thought that Grey didn't come off as an English man, which could have easily happened with a lesser writer.

The Spymasters Lady was a lovely book. If you haven't picked it up yet, please do so. Or you could enter this contest for a chance to win your own autographed copy of The Spymaster's Lady. Grade A.



  1. Sounds like a good one. Have to check it out. *grin*

  2. Jace, It's really good. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

  3. Brie,

    You are absolutely right. It's always the books I enjoyed the most that have me struggling to write about.

    I finished the book today and I've been trying to put my thoughts down on paper. "Good book, go buy," just doesn't capture the scope of my thoughts.

    I don't know if reading reviews is helping any. All I do is nod my head in agreement. I feel like a bobble-head. I'm at the point where, "What she/they said" with links, sounds like a very good idea.

    Or, I can just put off writing it until the weekend.... :-D

  4. Hi Christina! I'm glad you enjoyed the book, I really loved it.

    I can't wait to read your review on TSL. Each time I read a new review it's like rereading the story through another readers eyes.

    Thanks for stopping by. :)