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Beauty and the Spy (Holt Sisters Trilogy #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  983 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews

London's belle of the ball, Susannah Makepeace, is the last person who should suddenly be stuck in the sleepy village of Barnstable. In town, she would never have seen a man swimming naked in a pond. And she certainly would have resisted the urge to draw every single bit of him in astonishing detail!


Very few people know that Viscount Kit Whitelaw is the b
Paperback, 377 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Forever
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Rosina Lippi
Jan 11, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it really liked it
Here's the good news: I just read the four novels Julie Anne Long has out. Historical romance, mostly regency. And she's good. She can write a sentence, she can tell a story. The first two novels are light(er) reads. With her third one -- Beauty and the Spy -- she really finds her footing.

There's an interesting plot here, one that actually had me wondering how things would resolve themselves -- and that is unusual. This is not bragging. This is somebody who reads and writes for a living just sta
Jun 01, 2011 Ilze rated it did not like it
Shelves: julie-anne-long, dnf
Really disappointed with this one, because Julie Anne Long is one of my favourite authors and so far she hasn't had a single miss. But this one - made it to page 64 and had to set it away. A few of my reasons:

1. Huge age difference between the hero and heroine (17 years).

2. The hero is supposed to be 37 years old but his personality is portrayed as if he were at most about 24 years old and in the scenes with his father he acts about 18 years old. But because of the plot, the hero has to have so
Holy guacamole, straight up awesome beginning. The prologue has the Holt sister's dad being murdered, their mom going on the run, and them being given over to their parents friend James Makepeace. I hope Long can keep this pace and amount of intrigue throughout the book!
Wonderfully written characters, can not wait for Kit and Susannah to meet. They both seem very immature and I am interested in how Long will get them to grow up.
Great. First. Meeting. Between Kit and Susannah ;)
Ooh the character
Elis Madison
Premise: Anna Holt was the much-loved and deeply loving mistress of Richard Lockwood. Together they had three daughters, Susannah, 3, Sylvie, 4, and Sabrina (not much older). One awful night Richard's good friend James Makepeace gave Anna the dreaded news: Richard was dead—and there's a witness who claims Anna was the killer. James advises Anna to flee—without her three tiny girls, since the authorities will be looking for a woman with three young girls. James promises to see Anna's daughters ar ...more
I wasn't sure how to rate this, or rather what standard to hold it to - in comparison to the majority of other books in this genre (it's better)? Or in comparison to Long's later books (it's not as solid)? And then there's the complication of the fact that I suspect that Long has even better books she's yet to write.

So I'll ambiguously say 3.5 stars here, but click four stars.

Long's greatest strength lies in the depth, intimacy and detail of her characterization. She writes slow, nuanced stori
Shabby Girl ~ aka Lady Victoria
You know what? Nearly every time I pick up a Julie Anne Long book I am amazed at what an effortlessly fantastic writer she is. Steadily she has climbed in my heart to become one of my most favourite writers. I am quite amazed this book only rates in the 3s. Stupidly I put off reading this because of the rating, thinking it wouldn’t be the best. I was wrong. Even if the story doesn’t enthral (can’t see why it wouldn’t) the writing alone is worth a much higher rating. The story held me riveted rig ...more
Jun 11, 2009 Nailah rated it really liked it
After a sudden murder a widow Anna Holt, suspected off killing her husband must leave and break away from her 3 very young daughters in order to protect them and stay alive. Hoping one day to be able to see them again. Susannah Makepeace, who was the eldest daughter taken in by one of the widow's and her husbands close friend, James, is doing very well off and she is engaged. Suddenly, James who was investing the murder of his best friend realizes the killer, who is a consultant who got to wher ...more
Jul 20, 2012 ARomanceLover rated it really liked it
When Susannah Makepeace loses everything she has to go live with her aunt in the country. There she meets Kit, a viscount exiled to the country by his father. Throw in mystery and murder and you have an engaging romantic novel.

I have read Julie Anne's Pennyroyal Green series and going back to her earlier books has been a treat. She writes to beautifully and eloquently, I'm jealous. I adored the interplay between the hero and heroine and can't wait to meet Susannah's sisters in the next two book
Apr 27, 2010 Melanie rated it really liked it
It was so cute! Not as good as Celeste Bradley, but very sweet..
I would give it 3.5 stars if I could: I enjoyed it because of the relationship between Kit and Susannah, but I would have liked more of a threatening element. I just didn't feel that gut clench I got in Celest Bradley's The Pretender, for example (when Agatha finds out the truth about Simon).. Kit was a sweet and strong Beta hero (for me):-)
Loved this trilogy!!! If you get the chance, read it in order as it will make more sense. I read the trilogy in reverse order and was annoyed with #3 because I didn't understand a lot of the stuff that it built upon.

I liked this one the best in the trilogy because I loved KIT!!! Swoon!

I wrote a review for this on Amazon already, I read this before I got on GR.
Apr 14, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it
Love all Julie Anne Long's books. So cool - I like a good spy novel and this was excellent. Storyline was fab and the characters wonderful.
3.5 stars
When Susannah Makepeace's kind, but distant father dies, leaving behind him nothing but debt, Susannah's engagement to a young gentleman is broken, and she has to move in with a distant cousin in the little village of Barnstable. She's barely arrived before she runs into the notorious Viscount Whitelaw, diving naked into a pond mere feet away from where she is sketching.

Kit Whitelaw is a spy, but his somewhat scandalous personal life of late has forced his father to present him with a
Nov 21, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
After finishing the Pennyroyal Green series, I needed more Julie Anne Long. NEEDED! And as soon as I finished Beauty and the Spy, I needed more Holt Sisters Trilogy, too.

Because that's just how Julie Anne Long writes. It's addictive and it's awesome and I always want more. Always. ALWAYS.

The prologue sets us for some interesting back story that will no doubt stretch the entirety of the series. (I've already requested and downloaded the next book in the series from the library because NEED IT NOO
This was a really well-written, enjoyable regency romance. Rating this book was one of the times I feel like there's a difference between a five star book and a favorite book, and this one was definitely a five star, but not a favorite.

I really, really liked Kit and Susannah, I thought the plot was interesting and moved forward well both in terms of their relationship and in the overall scheme of the trilogy. Kit and Susannah were funny together and their relationship was realistic and sweet -
Julia ♥Duncan♥
Wonderfully and unexpectedly funny. A complex and intriguing mystery. The romance was sweet and I adored Kit and Susannah together. I especially adored Kit, who could be very witty and funny but also sweet and serious. I loved that the romance took its time as well. So nice to see characters actually getting to know each other.

Favorite bits:
(view spoiler)
Perdani Budiarti
Actually 2,5/5

At first I was curious about how the heroine's past would cross the hero's path. But then the execution is too flat. The death of some people was just happened without explaination. And the spy's activity was that?

The romance's interaction between the hero and the heroine worked just too fast. Without too many intrique, the heroine just fall into the hero's arms.

But I do like the idea about the heroine who could draw and made a beautiful and meaningful sketch. Even thou
Sep 26, 2010 May rated it liked it
Shelves: ye-olde-romance
I really like Julie Anne Long's style and how full her stories are of plot detail and twists... but overall this book lacked a satisfaction that I hoped to find.
While the characters are fun, and the action and twists non-stop... once the last page had been turned I just didn't care. In fact, I never was engaged enough with this tale to actually care what was going to happen. We have a young lady who has everything stripped from her and finds out that her life isn't anything like she thought it
Nov 03, 2014 Béria rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
This book in short: Nice story, great background, complelling couple.

So, I have the tendency to judge the books by it's heroine. In this book, I quite hated Susannah's shalow nature. As the book goes about and she discover herself, I was starting to like her more and more, until I got to a point when I did really loved her.

The only point I have about this book, is that I didn't get to see the vilan go down. (view spoiler)
Apr 04, 2012 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Three sisters, whisked away from their mother and into secret and separate homes when their natural father, a government spy, is brutally murdered. This first volume in the Holt Sisters series follows the adventures of Susannah, brought up by a kind but reserved gentleman and then looked after by an impoverished aunt when he dies.

Her tedious rural existence is enlivened by the appearance of a rakish government spy, exiled to his country home and ordered to catalogue the flora and fauna of the r
Mar 11, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
Susannah Makepiece has it all, money, friends and a fiancée with a title. Then her dad is murdered, pennieless, and she finds herself with a distant aunt out in the backwater without anything.
What shes not aware off, is that her real dad was murdered 15 years earlier and her mother was forced to flee the country to not be framed of his murder, so Susannah and her two sisters are hidden away.
While shes out of the ton she stumbles upon a man, Viscount Kit Whitelaw, who is a spy and through coinci
Janice Hougland
Mar 26, 2015 Janice Hougland rated it it was amazing
My heart went pitty pat all the while I was reading this stunning romance by Ms. Long. Kit, the spymaster who has been sent off to their country house on a fool’s errand by his father (to get his son away from a certain woman) finds himself falling for a lovely, mysterious woman who has a history that they have yet to discover. The lovely, mysterious woman is Susannah, who has only dim memories of a mother and sister and is devastated to discover that the “father” that was killed was not her fat ...more
Barbara ★
Jun 13, 2009 Barbara ★ rated it really liked it
Susannah Makepeace was adopted at a young age and spent her life thinking her adopted father was her real father. It isn't until he is killed that the truth comes out.

Kit Whitelaw is a spy for the English crown. He is investigating a member of Parliament for treason when he stumbles on Susannah and her family(s). Kit and Susannah fall in love and work together to unravel the truth.

Julie Long writes very romantic stories. The bantering between Kit and Susannah was laugh out loud funny at times.
Feb 05, 2013 SandyBeachReviews rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! It was delightfully entertaining! Never a dull moment in this well written story! The Charactors have depth and intrigue. The storyline is believable, but sensual. I was completely engrossed in this story until the very end! It is full of twists and turns so not predictable, but extremely entertaining. I was truely surprised by the many twists and turns until the very end! This is one of those "can't put it down until I'm finished" books that I will definately add to my "Keepers ...more
A wonderful story! Honestly this is one of the more intriguing novels that I have read recently and I would say in the top 5 so far for this year. From the very start you are caught up in a story of love, murder and espionage. And even better yet this is the first of a three part series that is intermingled with a purpose! I cant wait to see what happens with Susannah's two sisters and her mother, and how they find each other again. I could write a detailed review with spoilers and all, but hone ...more
Diana (DomesticGoddess)
"He wasn't precisely a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Perhaps a treasure chest instead. The kind one finds at the bottom of the ocean, filled with rubies and doubloons, guarded by snapping crustaceans and darker things that perhaps no one had yet discovered or named."

The Holt Sisters was published before Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green series (which I adore), and, if this first book is any indication, doesn't have the same flair, sophistication and humor. Beauty and the Spy isn't a bad
Oct 31, 2013 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
LOVED! Were there holes? Sure. The resolutions for a couple of secondary characters were ridiculous, but the core story was great. Kit and Susannah were fantastic characters, funny and smart and a blast to follow and to root for. The central thriller was interesting and somewhat believable. Best of all Julie Anne Long is a very good writer, and that is essential for me. Her prose is lovely, things happen in their own time, and nothing ever heaves. This is my first book with this author, and I ca ...more
Jan 14, 2016 Mikka rated it liked it
This is a decent story, it's a little on the slow side in every way, but it was a very satisfying read and a good first book for a series. I'm looking forward to seeing if (view spoiler)
Sep 13, 2007 Chris rated it liked it
Old TT review:

This is a new author for me that I am reading on the basis of a trusted recommender. Despite the corny title and awful cover (what *is* this trend of beheaded torsos clinching?), it's actually very good (if you like Regency spies, that is). The ending was actually better than I had expected -- rather clever. I'll definitely look for her next, due out this fall.
Apr 01, 2013 Kristen rated it liked it
Hmm. I am obviously reading these out of order, but still - this was just average. A disappointment, considering how bowled over I was by book three. Apparently, she hadn't hit her stride yet with this one. The great vocabulary is here, but isn't executed with quite the finesse yet. Not sure I will even bother with book two, unless I can get it at the library.
I think I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't seen some of the same elements done again - and better - in the Pennyroyal Green series.

Still. Enjoyable. Although the chemistry was never quite there for me, and I have no idea what the rest of the trilogy is going to be about since it seems they've tied everything up already.
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Well, where should I start? I've lived in San Francisco for more than a decade, usually with at least one cat. I won the school spelling bee when I was in 7th grade; the word that clinched it was 'ukulele.' I originally set out to be a rock star when I grew up (I had a Bono fixation, but who didn't?), and I have the guitars and the questionable wardrobe stuffed in the back of my closet to prove it ...more
More about Julie Anne Long...

Other Books in the Series

Holt Sisters Trilogy (3 books)
  • Ways to Be Wicked (Holt Sisters Trilogy, #2)
  • The Secret To Seduction (Holt Sisters Trilogy, #3)

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“It knew things, that smile.” 8 likes
“She charmed and sparkled and said witty things, but she knew very well she was being charming and sparkling and witty while she was doing it, which somehow felt wrong.” 1 likes
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