Sophie D’Artiers has been living a double life. By day, she’s meek and sickly, her beauty hidden underneath shapeless clothing and stage makeup. By night, she’s The Brazen Angel – the mysterious thief who first seduces London’s most notorious rakes and then fleeces them for all they’re worth. Her intended, Giles, The Marquess of Trahern, is on her tail. Working for the government, he’s after the Brazen Angel – a woman who sets his blood aflame – even as he’s wooing his sickly fiancée at his father’s request. When Sophie and Giles's lives collide, they face more than just an unmasking. The Terror is on and the two are caught smack in the middle of it.
This is not your mother's old school romance. Set during the height of the Terror of the French Revolution the story is technically NOT a Regency even though the author classifies it as one. (Probably to get in with the huge Regency readership) Instead of Beau Brummell there’s Robespierre. Walks in the park are replaced with exciting nighttime chases. It’s a historical romantic suspense.
It was the cat and mouse aspect that drew me in, jewelry heists, daring escapes, delicious taunting. But it was the characters that made me stay. Sophia is a refreshing heroine. High spirited, intelligent, and sensual. She gets into scrapes and predicaments but she doesn’t need the hero to save her. She saves herself. This is no retiring virgin or virtuous widow.
Sophie owns her sexuality and desires… Something sorely lacking in many historical romances. She’s frankly awesome. But that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have her faults.
In the hero, Giles, we get her foil. A spy who's as dogged as he is passionate. He’s an alpha male, but he does care and eventually listens to our heroine. He does not know best. And I liked him for that.
The plot was fun and not completely predictable. There was a lot more going on than just the simple “Will they/Won’t they?” And each of the characters had goals outside of the romance. The book also passes the Bechdel test, rare in historicals.
This was a wonderful read and I hope the other offerings are as good as this.
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