Love, Lies, and Spies
by Cindy Anstey
Edition: paperback, 2016
Synopsis: 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.
Julianna is determined to find a publisher for the research she and her father have done, and to do this she agrees to endure the tedium of London. Spencer has a job to do: find a traitor. Neither has any interest in love and romance, but their minds are about to be changed.
This is full of witty dialogue and fun characters. Not only are Julianna and Spencer enjoyable, the side characters are as well. Even the villains are colorful enough to be entertaining. The plot is quick moving and there is never a dull moment.
Is this better than Georgette Heyer, as a reviewer brags on the back cover? I wouldn’t go that far, though it is a superb story. To me, it falls into a different, little-explored aspect of the Regency genre: YA. I can only think of a few that have done it well.
For readers who enjoy Historical romance with a dash of adventure and mystery, you won’t go wrong with this one.