I feel I should lead with a disclaimer: This is the first ever romance novel – historical or otherwise – that I have read. However, I have heard Joanna Bourne’s name frequently and thought I’d give her latest a try.
During the years after the French Revolution, Camille Leyland is wrenched from her tranquil life with the “Fluffy Aunts” – English code breakers – by a blackmailed threat. Thomas Paxton is in London trying to prove his loyalty to the country he once spied upon. The two of them are forced back into the dark, murky realm of spies to uncover what the blackmailer truly wants from Camille.
Joanna Bourne’s writing is crisp, witty, and begs you to read more. Her London is a place you can smell off the pages, and her characters are taut, meticulously defined, and sexual, but not overtly; there is a subtlety to their lusts and desires. What kept my interest was the spy vs. spy aspect that Bourne handles with aplomb. As someone who stepped into the 5th book of the series, I felt a bit out of sorts with its interconnectedness, but not enough to feel that I was aimlessly wandering through this book. It stands alone well despite having characters from the previous novels. I can see why Joanna Bourne has a devoted following. A good read.