A Spy's Honor

Charlotte Russell
A Spy's Honor
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Boroughs Publishing Group
Release Date
July 2014
Historical Romance

At seventeen, Lady Claire Talbot thought she'd found her one true love. But after rescuing her from a dangerous situation, in undue haste he fled to the Continent instead of marrying her. Now, after years of suppressing her romantic side and honing her practicality, Claire is on the verge of an altogether convenient match.

A man of few words but much passion, Lord John Reyburn always regretted his decision to turn back from Gretna Green. Now, wounded in more ways than one, he is in the place—but not the position—to correct his mistake. His mission in England is to capture an assassin. And, so, one of His Majesty's more unconventional spies, John must add yet a further deceit: cold indifference to Claire's impending marital bliss. For unless sweet loyalty and devotion couple with suspicion and betrayal, nothing can make things right.

Book Review by SawyerBelle (author,reviewer)
Dec 09, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
235 people found the following review helpful
Suspense, intrigue and sizzling sensuality await in this refreshing new take on Regency Romance.

Lady Claire Talbot and Lord John Reyburn court scandal in their youth with a planned elopement to Scotland, not out of love, but out of Lord John's noble desire to rescue her from an undesirous arranged marriage, an offer that tugs the fanciful ideas of her young, romantic heart.

When their plans are foiled by Lord John's heroic and overshadowing older brother, the former marriage contract is dissolved and the pair is free to go their separate ways, despite the passionate stirrings that awoke in the carriage that night.

Lord John flees to the continent, determined to make himself as desirable and heroic as the sibling upon whom she doted, leaving Lady Claire to the cold bedfellows of rejection and abandonment. When they meet again five years later, it is only because he has been recalled to England on a confidential mission with the motherland's national security at stake. He must unravel a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister and arrest the culprits.

He resumes his role as the duke's brother and joins the festivities of the ton in the hopes of routing out the traitors. What he learns is far more disturbing. The beautiful Lady Claire is more alluring than before, maintains a fierce claim on his heart, and is engaged to be married to one of his prime suspects.

Lady Claire is anything but indifferent to Lord John's return to England. It has taken his entire five-year absence to replace her young heart's love with a matured woman's cynicism. Having just settled into an engagement with a decent gentleman, her life is ordered and everything it should be, even if passionless, a fact she is satisfied with until the only man to stoke her passion returns from the continent.

In a time of civil unrest, Lady Claire and Lord John are thrown together in society, fighting its demands as well as those of their hearts and bodies. As they work together to discover a secret that will shift the future of England, they discover a love long-denied.

One of the strongest parts of this story is its atypical hero. A somewhat shy, quiet wallflower, Lord John is a spectacled man of intelligence and wry humor reserved for only a privileged few. His work on the continent is an effort to gain confidence and courage, which he does. What I love most is that he gained his confidence and courage without changing who he was. I appreciate that the author didn't mold him into the typical rakish hero. Lady Claire, too, is a very sensible and likable heroine. Both practical and passionate, she is a perfect match for Lord John.

My only complaint about the novel is with its beginning. The first chapter is laboriously long (at fifteen pages to the average four pages of every other chapter), and I don't think it served the story well. I understand what the author was trying to do with that chapter, but I feel that the story would have been enhanced either by leaving that chapter completely out and weaving nuggets of the past in with the present story, or by making the beginning of their romance longer.

As it was, I didn't feel the stirrings of "true love" convincing enough after one evening dance and a carriage ride of stolen kisses. It certainly didn't cry of a love intense enough to span five years. In truth, if I had picked up A SPY'S HONOR on my own for pleasure reading, it is likely I wouldn't have continued reading beyond the first chapter.

But I'm glad I did.

From the second chapter until the very last word, I was hooked and pulled in, turning pages well into the night. If not for the opening of the story, this would have been a solid five-star read for me, easily.

A SPY'S HONOR by Charlotte Russell is a breath of fresh air for Regency-era romance, weaving excitement beyond the general scandals of society in a game of cat-and-mouse with larger political implications. If you enjoy the world of the haut ton but want a little adrenaline with your frippery, A SPY'S HONOR is an excellent read.
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