YA Historical Romance
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.
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.
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.