Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.
Lady Anna Gaunt is not what she seems. Yes, she's the sister of the Marquis of Tamar, but her visit to her brother in Blackhaven has nothing to do with family. Anna is here on the Foreign Office mission to free a French prisoner and turn him onto the British side. But the man manages to get free without her help, she merely intercepts him in the woods, cares for his wound...And the man has the gall to disappear again. And he doesn't go far.
Louis Delon stays in Blackhaven under the guise of a British nobleman, waiting for his moment to strike down at the man who betrayed him. But the enemy is already in town, waiting for something or someone else and Louis is determined to stop him at any cost, even by putting his trust in the hands of the enigmatic British beauty...Which turns out to be a rather pleasant prospective as the lines between pleasure and duty start blurring on both sides.
This is the first book in this series with a strong suspense sub-plot, which also turned out to be its strongest point.
I loved the intrigue and the mystery of it all, the skulking around in the middle of the night, the hidden stilettos and daggers, the "masquerades", secret identities, and the assassination plot. It was intense, interesting and the pacing complimented the rising excitement beautifully.
Also, the premise of two enemy spies falling for one another promised to make things even more interesting. Alas, the story didn't deliver on the promise. I simply didn't find the rushed romance believable. I didn't even find the possibility of friendship believable. The two simply spent too much time (in an otherwise rather short book) lying to each other, mistrusting and trying to use one another for the romance between them blossoming so fast (or at all) to actually make sense.
It felt more like attraction and passion as they found some common ground between them, as they could remove their masks in each other's company and be (more or less) themselves, but in the end, the first thought that came to my mind was "I give it a couple months".
I didn't much care for Anna and Louis separately, either. The rest of the cast worked much better, especially seeing how they were old friends (and it was lovely to see Rosa finally speak). As I said, the suspense saved it.