Shannon (Giraffe Days)'s Reviews > My Lord and Spymaster

My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne
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Dec 15, 08

bookshelves: 2008, historical-romance, mystery-suspense
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: http://community.livejournal.com/genrereviews/46385.html
Read in December, 2008

I just have to say that that hand on her back is really creeping me out. Does it not look like some kind of giant sci-fi spider? It seems out-of-proportion big. And why do the women wear the tackiest clothing on these covers? Anyway...

What we have here is a rip-snorting good adventure story, with political plot, fighting in the alleys, treason, smuggling, mystery and a shade of romance. The romance aspect is not the main focal point of the book but more like a side issue, added in for the genre and very "soft". There's only one graphic scene, towards the end, and it's very tasteful. But there is quite a bit of good chemistry and sexual tension - though it seems a bit one-sided, on his part.

Set after the Napoleonic Wars, Jess Whitby's successful merchant (and smuggler) father, Josiah, has been locked up for "questioning" - he's the main suspect for leaked secrets to France that resulted in many British deaths. All the evidence points to him, but Jess knows he's innocent and is determined to find the proof. A very smart girl who runs the Whitby company far more than her father does, she has the allies and the resources and the intellect to figure it out. At the top of her list of possible suspects if Captain Sebastian "Bastard" Kennett, who helped put together the evidence against her father.

Circumstances see them thrown together and Jess finds her attraction to Sebastian getting in the way of her growing conviction that he could be the traitor.

This is a mystery more than a romance, and a rollicking good one at that. The setting and period is wonderfully recreated, with lots of detail and wry humour - the dirty side of London is scrupulously depicted with all its prostitutes and thugs and Secret Service agents laid bare.

Jess is a pretty spiffy heroine: brains, guts and determination set her far above the usual fare. She's canny, resourceful and has a good head for business. My only quibble is that, despite the adjectives used to describe her, she's often the loser in clever banter. I would have thought a woman like her would be able to hold her own better. I did love her ferret, Kedger, though.

Sebastian makes a great hero: the typical attributes are all there: he's tall, dark, strong and ruthless. And sexy. Let's not forget that! He falls for Jess remarkably fast but is quite endearing in it. I mentioned that the attraction seemed a bit one-sided: we get more evidence of Sebastian's interest in Jess than the other way around.

For an historical romance, My Lord and Spymaster is quite original and lots of fun. If you're not big on the romance side of things but you love these kinds of adventure stories, you might enjoy this one. I'm still not sure what the title refers to exactly, though.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Shannon,
Have you read The Spymaster's Lady? I enjoyed it as well.


message 2: by Sandi (new)

Sandi This sounds like the Victoria Holt books I loved as a teen.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) Amy, no, I haven't, I didn't see it in the bookshops - does it share any characters with this one?

Sandi, people have been recommending Holt but I haven't found her books anywhere. Do you have one in particular to recommend that I could order?


message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Shannon,
It does share some characters and the general time setting, but I don't remember anything specific. It was the author's debut novel and was generally very well-received, so demand might have outpaced supply.

Sandi,
I read some Victoria Holt as a teen as well, and enjoyed them. But it's been so long that I can't remember them well. If I'm remembering correctly, they tended to be more Gothic in nature - the heroine is put in a situation where she is separated from her family and friends, and the only person she can turn to might possibly be a criminal or immoral character...
In my mind, Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart (with the exception of the Arthurian Saga) are somewhat mixed up. I believe their romances share some similarities, but it might just be that I was reading them at the same time period.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) So she's not got much in common with Georgette Heyer then...


message 6: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy In my mind, no. But I have not read any of Heyer's mysteries, only the regency romances. (Not a lack of interest- just lack of time and/or availability.)

To me, Heyer's regency romance books are more about society - what social expectations are at the time, and how people adjust in order to live according to them.






message 7: by Sandi (last edited Dec 16, 2008 05:20PM) (new)

Sandi Amy wrote: "I read some Victoria Holt as a teen as well, and enjoyed them. But it's been so long that I can't remember them well. If I'm remembering correctly, they tended to be more Gothic in nature - the heroine is put in a situation where she is separated from her family and friends, and the only person she can turn to might possibly be a criminal or immoral character...
In my mind, Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart (with the exception of the Arthurian Saga) are somewhat mixed up. I believe their romances share some similarities, but it might just be that I was reading them at the same time period."


Amy, I was reading a lot of Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney in my teens.

They all kind of had the theme of a woman isolated from her family and friends having to find her strengths. The heroines usually fell in love somewhere along the way. Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney mostly wrote modern stories and Victoria Holt wrote a lot of gothic romances--think Jane Eyre-type stuff. I can't remember any of the titles anymore and I'm pretty sure most of those books from the sixties and seventies are out of print. They might be available at the library though.




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