Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: Love, Lies and Spies

LOVE, LIES AND SPIES
Cindy Anstey
YA Historical Romance
368 pages
Swoon Reads
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.


MY THOUGHTS
Love, Lies and Spies is a sweet young adult historical romance, giving us a heroine more interested in insect research and publishing her findings than in the matrimonial games played by the Ton, and a dashing young hero who makes us swoon in the way only a gentleman in the time of strict courtship can.

Juliana is easy to love from the moment she steps on page and promptly falls off a cliff, denying an offer of help from Spencer in order to keep her reputation-conscious aunt from falling over in a dead faint. She's accident prone in an adorably oblivious way, stumbling into situations difficult for her to see her way out of gracefully, and we can't help but smile as she eschews polite society in favor of beating to her own drum. While she does on occasion need rescuing, she proves time and again that she's quite capable of handling herself when necessary–batting away the wandering hands of inappropriate suitors and staying true to her passion for scientific research even when everyone around her is only focused on making an advantageous romantic match.

Spencer is a charming smooth-talker, easily able to banter with Juliana and sooth any feathers that are ruffled as he weaves his tall tales in order to continue his undercover work. Though he has a way with words, he never comes across as disingenuous, and he easily earns our affections as he does Juliana's. Their romance is of the slow burn variety (though they do admit their feelings for one another to themselves relatively quickly) thanks to the rules governing social interactions in Society, and it's nothing short of smile-inducing to watch the two of them literally and figuratively dance around one another.

The only mild complaint with this tale is with regard to the espionage plot that unfolds alongside Spencer and Juliana's courtship. We stay largely on the surface of the spying element, small things relating to uncovering a traitor popping up here and there, but we don't delve into that mystery as deeply as we could have. That being said however, Juliana and Spencer are hugely entertaining characters, and their romance is perfect for those looking for something to bring them a little joy on a dreary day.

Rating: 4/5

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This book was sent to me by the publisher  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

24 comments:

  1. it's nice to have a story like that where we have a story where we can connect that well with the characters!

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    1. It is. I have to confess that even after reading it, I have no idea what the keys represent. I feel dense:(

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  3. I like when Historical Romance novel features not a proper lady, but a rebel of some sorts. I’ve seen such books in adult historical romance, but not in YA. Glad to hear that Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. Glad to hear that despite your issues with the espionage plot you overall enjoyed this book. Wonderful review, Jenny!

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    1. Yes! I love women ahead of their time:) Juliana was a fantastic heroine Ksenia, I hope you get a chance to "meet" her!

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  4. I kind of wish it delved deeper into the mystery but this does sound good!

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    1. I did too, but I was charmed by the romance so it was an easy flaw to overlook:)

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  5. Love the sound of the characters, Jenny. Julianna and Spencer sound like headstrong characters I would really enjoy. And you know how I can't resist banter in my books. It's a shame about the spy aspect not being stronger though. That would disappoint me too. I'll have to keep this one in mind when I'm in the mood for a cute book! :)
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. I think you'd really enjoy this one Nick! Juliana is hilarious:)

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  6. Wonderful review! I love that this is young adult historical that isn't conventional and the characters aspire for more than just getting married. Seems like a really interesting story and I might pick it up soon. In spite of that small issue where the author didn't go deeper in a particular mystery, glad you enjoyed this one for the most part :)

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    1. YES! Both Juliana and Spencer want something more than marriage in their lives, and I loved that about them:)

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  7. This is different. I like that the heroine is interested in entomology, especially for a historical. I haven't seen this one yet, so I am glad you reviewed it.

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    1. I hope you give it a try Heidi, I really enjoyed it:)

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  8. OOo I love how this starts Jenny! Great review!

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  9. I really enjoyed this one! It was such a delightful story! I adooored Julianna!!

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  10. Hm, this does sound different and intriguing!

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    1. It was a really fun read Amanda:)

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  11. This sounds adorable and Juliana perfectly charming with her penchant for accidents as she "eschews polite society in favor of beating to her own drum" - love that. I'm adding this one to the TBR pile :)

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    1. Juliana was a winner for sure Kim! I hope you pick this one up:)

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  12. I'm so glad to see you enjoy this book, Jenny. I just bought it because I fell in love with the cover. Lol. I can't wait to dive into it. ;)

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  13. Sounds adorable, Jenny! I can definitely relate to the accidental prone heroine. Lol

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