My Lord and Spymaster

Written by Joanna Bourne
Review by Margaret Barr

In her quest to expose the spy known as Cinq and secure her father’s release from prison, Jessamyn Whitby relies on the cunning she developed growing up in a thieves’ den and the analytical skills gained by managing her father’s successful shipping business. Attacked by a murderous gang, she falls into the clutches of her prime suspect, merchant captain—and intelligence expert—Sebastian Kennett. Instantly enraptured, Sebastian quickly discovers that she’s the traitorous Whitby’s daughter. Placing her in a charitable relative’s household to recuperate from her injuries, he discovers Jess to be as independent, determined, and aggravating as she is tempting.

This exceptional historical romance offers not only a pair of well-matched lovers, but a darker and more complex view of Regency London than usually depicted. Dock workers, merchants and their warehouse personnel, the master thief to whom Jess is irrevocably tied, the clergyman who ministers to the downtrodden—are exceptionally well drawn. The characters live and breathe on the page, fluently speaking the vernacular of their time and place. A vibrant mix of betrayals, passions, and mysteries, this tale is not to be missed. Even readers who prefer the more typical ballrooms and fashionable frocks of the traditional courtship novel should be impressed by Bourne’s achievement.