Published by Swoon Reads on April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
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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.
It’s the early nineteenth century – the time of the war against Napoleon and the Regency in England. Young people of the Aristocracy and their overbearing parents are descending on London for a summer of parties, gambling and general licentiousness, to see and to be seen, and to snag a spouse.
Juliana Telford is a young lady of eighteen. She is heading to London with the aim of having the research she has been working on with her father accepted for publication. Mr Spencer Northam is visiting his front Lord Bobbington, but in fact has a rather more furtive mission – to root out French spies for the War office. Neither of them has much interest in the institution of marriage, that is, until they meet each other by chance on a cliff top by the sea.
Love, Lies and Spies does just what it says on the tin, although it is a romance at heart so there’s a little more love than anything else. And a rather swoony (yet clean) affair it is too! Not a triangle in sight, although there is some unwanted affection directed at each of them at times.
Juliana is delightfully different from the other ladies of her time – not inclined to find a husband during her time in London with the aristocracy, but would rather live with her father in the country and study ladybirds. Despite her intelligence and wit, she does still seem to get into scrapes that require her knight in shining armour, Mr Northam, to come to her rescue.
We are treated to hearing the story from both Juliana’s and Spencer’s points of view, so we get to see both sides of the attraction, as well as the reservations and the suspicions that come along. They are both as reserved as propriety dictates, but you can bet that Mr Darcy was also thinking that he would like to “gather [her] into his arms and kiss her until her toes curled.” (p155)
Read this book because: I thoroughly enjoyed Love, Lies and Spies! It’s a perfect light read and had me grinning to myself all the way along. The only reason I took half a star off was that the damsel-in-distress aspect of the story annoyed me a bit. Still, this is a promising debut from Cindy Anstey and I’ll be looking out for her next book, Duels and Deception, due out in 2017.
I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.