The Scarlet Spy

Written by Andrea Pickens
Review by Nanette Donohue

Sofia may be the picture of Regency femininity on the outside, but she’s got a secret—she’s a trained spy, the product of Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies, a school that trains young female orphans in the arts of espionage and seduction. Despite her rough beginnings, Sofia is one of Mrs. Merlin’s most glamorous graduates, and her assignment—masquerading as a widowed Italian countess in order to expose a society of dissolute young gentlemen of the ton who may be involved with drug smuggling—is dangerous. Lord Deverill Osborne, engaged as Sofia’s guardian during her entrance to Society, finds it difficult to fight his attraction to Sofia, but her continued insistence on mixing with the wrong company raises questions he can’t answer—and puts her in significant danger.

Like the previous two volumes in Pickens’s series about Merlin’s Maidens, The Scarlet Spy features clever dialogue, a sensual love story, and plenty of action. Sofia is capable, clever, and self-sufficient, and tough, and though Deverill wants to be her knight in shining armor, Sofia doesn’t need saving. Fast pacing, an exciting plot, and vivid characterizations make this a cut above the average Regency romance.