For Crown and Country, that is the maxim that Major Langley Stanhope has lived his life by. A spy in His Majesty’s Service he’s on the hunt for an elusive codebook. He’s almost got his hands on it when disaster strikes. His operative has been discovered, followed. And worse, must ditch the book, swapping it out with another, before the precious codebook can fall into enemy hands. Now it is up to Stanhope to retrieve it… a task that is more difficult than it first appears.
All Lady Amanda Bartlett, the dowager Countess of Kingston, wanted to do that early morning was purchase a book on geometry for her eldest son for his twelfth birthday. She never expected to be plowed into by a man in a non-descript greatcoat nor did she expect to discover that the bookshop had wrapped the wrong book, a French cookbook whose proportions are all wrong, by mistake. Ah well, she’ll sort it out tomorrow. But nothing is ever easy as it seems.
When she and Langley meet, sparks fly. The kind of sparks that she’s never experienced before. But with those sparks comes danger, and possibly, quite possibly, love.
I’d had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series and enjoying it greatly. So when the opportunity arose for me to read the second, I jumped on it. I am so glad I did. This book is wonderful… quite possibly better than the first, if possible.
First, the spy portion of the series truly comes into its own in this series. The whole book is one lovely hunt for not only the codebook but also the people who so desperately want to recover it. There’s some great foreshadowing and twists and turns leading up to a wonderfully satisfying conclusion. I quite loved it.
Additionally I absolutely loved the characters and their character arcs. Which were tied inexorably to the main plot, but also added depth and enjoyment to the book. Amanda, our heroine, starts off very much a wallflower. She is not a merry widow and is being suffocated under the indomitable wills of both her mother and her sons’ guardian, who she suspects wants to marry her. She longs for something more, an adventure. And she finds what she wanted with Langley.
As for our hero, he’s a wonderful chameleon but with a core of not really knowing where he belongs. He lives outside of society never really fitting in anywhere even as he has identities everywhere. He’s intelligent, roguish, caring, closed off, and so much more. I loved that he wasn’t overly muscled or unwilling to get his hands dirty. He wears spectacles and has a classical education, but he’s also equally at home on the streets of London. And did I mention he wears glasses? Like I am struggling to come up with more than handful of Romance Heroes who do wear glasses. Heroines? Sure! But men?
Gimme those spectacle wearing men please!!!
The side characters were also well done, particularly Amanda’s sons. I loved Jamie and Pip and part of me wants their story when they are old enough to find love. Seriously. I want to read more from this author and her characters.
In all this was a lovely book to spend a weekend reading, and I give this:
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley