Title: Love, Lies and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: Historical Young Adult
Release Date: April 19th 2016 by Swoon Reads
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.
Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
*I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.*
I love smart heroines. Those who have an interest in books, sciences…anything that marks them as intelligent. Of course when you combine this with historical romance, I’m there. This book looked interesting because it was classified as YA. Pretty much every historical I’ve read has featured a woman who’s already out in society, so I was eager to read about someone who was making their debut.
Juliana, the aforementioned heroine, pretty much made this book. When I read the synopsis,I picked it up because she was interested in studying insects. While reading this novel, I enjoyed her intelligence,wit, and her focus on getting published by a London publishing house. I found Juliana to be very likable, and despite the fact that she had a large fortune, she was very down-to-earth.
Spencer was the hero. As I’m not a huge fan of spies, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like him. I needn’t have worried though, as Spencer was a genuinely nice man. Where he could, he didn’t keep secrets from Juliana. I liked how both Spencer and Juliana talked to each other, and the growth of their relationship was very natural.
There were a few notable side characters in this novel. Lord Bobbington, Spencer’s friend, turned out to be more layered than I thought, which was a great surprise. I liked Juliana’s cousin Carrie, who could easily have been materialistic and mean. However, she was actually a very good friend to Juliana, which I liked. Who I did not care for, though, was Carrie’s mom, Juliana’s aunt. She was a socialite, and only out for more money and a high place in society. I liked her husband though, especially when it came to his relationship with Juliana.
This story followed Juliana and Spencer as they got to know one another while dodging fortune-seeking men, keeping secrets, and rescuing one another from peril-filled situations. Granted, most of the rescuing was done by Spencer as Juliana got into some rather interesting scrapes, which I usually don’t like. The author pulled it off well, though. I found the book to be fun, although at times I did get confused by the writing. I expected more conversations with Juliana about how Spencer was a spy, but none of that really got much page time.
Overall, I liked this book. It made me laugh in places, and I liked reading about Juliana’s debut Season. Spencer made a nice hero, because he wasn’t very tortured. Despite his work, he wasn’t dark and broody. I think the reason I’m only rating this book 3.5 is because of the writing. There were places where I lost track of what was going on, and had to reread. Conversations I wanted to happen never really did, so I suppose things were a bit anticlimactic. I do recommend this book if you like historical romance, unconventional heroines, an a touch of intrigue. It made for a fun read, and one I certainly don’t regret picking up.
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.
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A print copy of Love, Lies and Spies