This book has so many things to like about it, but for some reason I really couldn’t get into it. I wanted to rate it higher, I truly did. But I just…can’t.
I don’t normally do reviews in the like/dislike format, but I really have had a hard time reviewing this book. Because it didn’t work for me, but I can see the marketability of this book, I think this format works.
I’ll start with the things I liked:
-The heroine is a spy, and a really great master of disguise
-The book mostly takes place in France during the Napoleonic War
-The hero is imprisoned in a dungeon for 10 excruciatingly long years
-His PTSD is never glossed over, he’s not miraculously “normal” once rescued
-The heroine rescues the hero
-The hero is attracted to the heroine while she’s in disguise, so he really is attracted to her personality and wit
-The book is well-written
What I didn’t like:
-The first 8 chapters or so are done in a back and forth format (10 yrs ago, present time, ten years ago, present time. etc)
-I couldn’t get into the heroine’s character
-There was a bit of predictability to it
-The heroine never could see her beauty, but in one scene she admits she that with her looks, she looks like a man’s high price mistress
-It took Cassie way too long to even consider the prospect of marrying Grey
-The ending was too tidy
Basically Grey, the golden child and heir to an earldom, is playing at being a spy in France. He sees a married woman who is known for her indiscretions, and he thinks to seduce information about her husband from her. Her husband finds them in bed together and imprisons Grey. In his private dungeon. For ten long years.
Cassie was minor English/French nobility, her family was killed during the beginning of the Revolution whilst in France, and she was the only remaining member. She became a spy, and worked her butt off to get rid of Napoleon. Cassie became a master of disguise and espionage. When she has a chance to help her boss Kirkland find information on his friend Grey, whom everyone has assumed dead, she heads off to France. What she finds is Grey is alive and she is able to free both him, and his only companion a priest.
I think that while this book wasn’t for me, that many readers will enjoy it. You have all this action, all this emotion and tension, and then for a short bit, we see Grey trying to readjust to society. Then a bit more espionage and action. I think Grey was a great character. His imprisonment forever changed him, he didn’t miraculously hit English soil and become normal. He had panic attacks, he had issues with too many people and close spaces. He had a violent temper. Cassie helped him, she was stable, and he liked her. His like blossomed to love, but she couldn’t accept it. Not just for the whole “I’m a spy, you’re going to be an earl” bit, but because she genuinely felt it was just that she was the first woman he’d been with in a decade.
I think this is where I began to have issues with Cassie. She was so intelligent and cunning, yet she couldn’t believe that he would ever want her. She’s damaged goods. But so was he. And I feel like his pain and angst was forefront, and hers was glossed over. She quickly and easily was able to leave the spy game and jump into her future, no problem. The ending was sweet, but predictable, as was the use of the bad guy and his plot.
Again, this didn’t work for me, but I can see many other readers enjoying it. And there were a lot of great points to this book.
***Thank you to Kensington for the ARC