Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tainted Angel (Regency, #1)” as Want to Read:
Tainted Angel (Regency, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tainted Angel

(Regency #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  273 ratings  ·  60 reviews
A deadly game of deception
A notorious beauty with a shadowy past

In the time of Napoleon, Vidia Swanson appears to live a gilded life of ease and luxury. Beneath this façade, however, she works for the Home Office as an ‘angel,’ coaxing secrets from powerful men who may or may not be traitors to the Crown. In the course of her latest assignment, matters take an alarming tur
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tainted Angel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tainted Angel

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  273 ratings  ·  60 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Tara Chevrestt
This is a nonstop Regency thrill ride. There's not a single dull moment in any of its pages.

Vidia is a spy...and she appears to be a double agent...or pretending to be. England or France? Where does her loyalty lie? Her "agency" has come to suspect her and has even gone so far as to send a fellow agent to seduce her, get her secrets, marry her, etc. And the entire book has a reader wondering just who is playing who.

I LOVED this heroine. Vidia is a woman not ashamed of who she is, not afraid to g
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Twists and turns abound in this exciting Regency adventure. Anne Cleeland meticulous attention to historical details brings the reader fully into the world of spies, traitors, and espionage against the backdrop of Regency historical fiction. The setting is Regency England in the time of the Napoleonic war. Our heroine Vidia, is a spy and she is one of the most intriguing, dynamic characters that I have ever read about. Vidia is in service as an “angel” a woman who uses her beauty to lure secrets ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
My thoughts:
This was a spy/mystery/romance/historical. A nice little mix and I thought I knew, but I had no idea at all ;)

Vidia was an enigma. Her fellow spies believes she is tainted and I was unsure. She was way too comfy around her mark. So I kept wondering about her and her benefactor. In the end I wondered about everyone. You can't really trust anyone in this book and first at the end I could relax and trust people, trust them to know what they were doing.

That is the whole thriller/mystery
I didn't love this one, but it had great potential. The "distracting" beauty of Vidia was continually mentioned through the entire book and was, quite frankly, distracting. I didn't believe that she was a capable spy because she seemed so caught off guard in so many situations.

I really wish that this was a sequel. Cleeland gave so many glimpses into past missions and character relationships, and I think they would have made a great read. Because of the sequel-feel of this book, I always felt li
Megan Joice
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Vida is absolutely gorgeous. And absolutely dangerous when she wants to be. Now Vida finds herself tangled in conflicting loyalties and unsure of how best to proceed.

Vida herself is a fun interesting woman character. I love the wit and power she displays at times throughout the book. Unfortunately, I thought the story itself didn't live up to her as a character. The story was very flat at times and the ending was very disappointing. And the love story was really frustrating as just didn't match
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Recommended for: people who like romantic spy adventures, Regency/Georgian/Napoleonic period

When starting a new book, context plays a big part of getting into and staying into a story. So without detracting from the importance of a killer opening paragraph, it probably doesn't bode well that I kept wondering if I was reading a sequel of a series where a lot has already happened. Let me make this easier on ya'll who are looking at this fresh: this is a stand-alone where the characters have a lot
Linda Banche
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Double and triple talk, threats and counter threats, plots and counterplots. Games of cat-and-mouse, crosses and double-crosses, lies, lies and more lies. Nothing is as it seems in TAINTED ANGEL by Anne Cleeland, a complex tale of spy and counterspy in Regency England.

Vidia is no stranger to the double-dealing, underhandedness and betrayal of the espionage world. As a so-called angel, her job is to use her considerable beauty and charm to ferret out secrets from powerful men. But now, someone ha
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love a good spy book and this story really kept me in the dark, like a stranger overhearing conversations and not understanding what is really happening.

During the Napoleonic war, the English home-office would sometimes recruit young women, with no connections, as “angels”, special agents who would use their powers of seduction to extract important information from the enemy. Vidia Swanson is one of these agents and her current mission is to spy on a very wealthy man, named Brodie, who has bou
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although this is a spy story, it has intrigue, suspense and romance with a twist. The action takes place in Regency England during Napoleon’s war. England is on the brink of financial disaster. The twist is a strong beautiful woman who is a successful spy with years of experience.

This most interesting and dynamic woman can successfully understand and undermine the powerful men she meets. I cannot stress enough her strategic powers and how she is able to meet and beat her aggressors. Her great b
I am a big fan of Cleeland’s weirdly compelling Acton and Doyle modern British police procedural series, and I love Regency romances, so this book seemed just the ticket. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it features a beautiful and clever woman who may or may not be a double agent, and the handsome agent she loves who may or may not be double-crossing her.

Honestly, I could not even begin to follow the intrigue, so I stopped trying. There are cloaks upon cloaks and daggers upon daggers. Way too co
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm telling you straight away, if you like Michelle Diener and her 19th century spy historical novels, you'd really enjoy Anne Cleeland.

She calls Tainted Angel "regency Mr. & Mrs. Smith" but I'd say, add "Ocean's Eleven" to this mix. Tainted Angel is a delightful regency heist with some pretty phenomenal banter between its main characters. I loved it!

Vidia is a British spy who is suspected of double-dealing. Enter Lucien Carstairs, who is sent to determine if she is indeed a "tainted" angel.
Susie Fitzwater
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I give it five stars. When I started reading it I had a very hard time putting it done. I wanted to keep reading it. I love how the story is woven and how it ends up. In the beginning I did question if she was a double agent or not and enjoyed the ups and down of the story. It was an incredible read that had me guessing till the end. Which is hard because most books don't. I also was sitting on the edge of my seat because it plays on all emotions. I love reading books that are exciting and this ...more
Laure Reminick
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I could hardly keep up with the intrigue; who was after whom. Romance, intrigue, spies, in a historically lush environment. I now want to know more about what went on during the time of Napoleon.

Trust is a big issue, on all sides. And trust saves the day, though it is hard-won. I enjoyed enough to read it within 24 hours. That fact is the reason I give it five stars. Not many stories will keep me going, like this one.
Jeanette Hubbard
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-books
I love Anne Cleveland's heroines. They're smart and sassy and boy do they keep the men hopping. Vida is a spy with more than one master. How she keeps them guessing about her loyalty will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is a fun adventure, love story, and mystery. You'll love it.
I have to admit, this book made me really confused at the beginning. I was starting to think that I was reading the second book by mistake, but then it all turned out well at the end.

I enjoyed reading this book because it had a little bit of everything. Mystery, romance, badassery ( on the female side :D) and a weird kind of friendship circle they had going on LOL.

All in all, I would recommend this book as a comfortable read, and let's just say I enjoyed it (most of it, anyways)
Amanda Savig
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-won
Took me a few years but I’m now able to write a review for this book that I won in a giveaway! Cleeland is a new author to me so I didn’t set that high of a bar, but even then, she did pretty good! I loved the strong female leading role and her inner conflicts that she had! It reminded me of a female version of James Bond almost! Very well done and great read for anyone interested in spy books/movies!
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a thrilling, twisty spy novel. Almost impossible to determine the loyalties and alliances between all the characters. Fascinating history after the first Napoleonic war and rich back stories of the main characters. This is also a love story and has a tough, clever heroine. Great read!
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was nothing special, the intrigue was rather convoluted and the romance overblown. Meh.
Mary G.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I found the characters a bit flat. However the plot did make up for the lack of in depth characters. It was a good read but I do like Cleeland 's modern police procedurals.
This review originally posted on my blog, drey's library.

I have to admit to being a bit confused at the beginning of Tainted Angel, when we meet Vidia, the grey-eyed man, and a fellow spy, Lucien Carstairs. It’s probably because I wasn’t familiar with certain terms, for example “out of coverage,” which brings to (my modern) mind cell phone coverage. But that’s neither here nor there in this review, so let’s keep going, shall we?

Vidia Swanson is beautiful, and has made a life working as a spy for
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Vidia is a spy - but for whom is she spying? That is the question that drives the plot of this suspenseful novel. She is what is known as an "angel" - a woman who is placed with a man to try and learn his secrets so as to pass them on to her agency. The concern is that she has become tainted and can no longer be trusted. but is that true? The man sent to seek the answers is the one man that Vidia cannot resist but she must for the sake of her mission.

This was a book chock full of twists and turn
I requested to read Tainted Angel by Anne Cleeland because the premise sounded promising. Who wouldn’t want to read a Regency historical romance novel with a female lead who is essentially a spy? Needless to say my expectations for this book were pretty high.

I had some conflicting emotions while reading this book. To begin with, I did like this book overall, but there were times I didn’t enjoy reading it. My major complaint about this book was the extremely slow pacing of the plot; at times it
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
So, I can't really decide if I like the way Cleeland reveals her plot twists. She doesn't reveal anything until her characters tell others in the plot, so you are just as lost and in the dark as some of the characters themselves. In other books, I have loved the character development and witty dialogue, but I felt that this book just fell a bit short. Lina had the potential to be a great character but I just got lost in all of the gimics (different languages, references to past assignments, etc. ...more
Jul 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Vidia Swanson is an "angel," who tries to charm information out of men who may or may not be traitors to the crown. She is quite successful until her latest mission, which involves a target suspected of stealing gold from Wellington's troops. However, it is Vidia who is suspected of being a double agent for Napoleon. To complicate matters, she becomes involved with a fellow spy, Lucien Carstairs.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this mystery-spy novel. You never known who's on what side or
Stephanie Lee
Jul 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-disliked
I'm only on chapter 9, 21% and the book is real confusing. You don't know whos side she is n or who the people around her are. There is a lot f back story that is talked about, but not enough to understand. I am hoping that it becomes more clear as the book progresses.

I have to say that half way through I ended up giving up in this book and just skimming through the last pages to find out what happened in the end. There is such a huge back story that it makes it soooooooo confusing for the reade
Eileen Iciek
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book gets two stars only because I think there is the kernel of a good story in it. I had to stop after just about 100 pages, though. The plot was confusing - assuming there was a plot - and the repeated references to how beautiful the POV character was rapidly became annoying. It was very difficult to figure out what was going on in the story. The author was so oblique in the telling of this Regency romance/spy story that it was impossible to understand it. She had too much telling about t ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lost-interest
I really really tried to read this. It started off really good. A kick-ass heroine. But then I realized that it's slow-paced. I don't know how many times the author described that the heroine was beautiful and alluring to men. And the author strings us along slowly to describe the background of said heroine. The one redeeming quality is that the sex scenes aren't very explicit which adult books usually exploit. The one looming question... is she on the Brit or French side???? Apparently I don't ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I do love a good mystery and this was one of the best. I had no idea who was double crossing whom and why at any point up until the end. The ending by the way did explain everything it was not one of those where you end more confused than you started.

The romance was much faster than I had expected and far less filled with tension. There were some external forces at work but I wasn't too stressed that there'd be anything other than a happy ending.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and am looking
Aislin Brunt
Jun 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books-read
This was a pretty interesting book for me. When it started I was all ready to do a 4 star review. But as it went I found it more and more a 3 star book. It started strong but quickly lost its steam. The romance seemed rushed and most put in just because the author could and not because it was needed for the story. Too many times when the plot hit a wall it seemed like the author looked for the "quick way out" rather then trying to make it intriguing.

It was a good story that had the potential to
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Dead Bore (John Pickett Mysteries, #2)
  • Vienna Waltz
  • True Spies (Lord and Lady Spy, #2)
  • Defending the Duchess (Protecting the Crown, #2)
  • The Mistaken Wife
  • The Sparks Fly Upward
  • Bought for Revenge
  • Neria, The Future Demon Huntress (Huntress Series, #1)
  • The Jubilee Plot (Sherlock Holmes & Young Winston #2)
  • Strange Tales From The Scriptorian Vaults
  • Death and the Running Patterer (Curious Murder Mystery #1)
  • The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes
  • What a Gentleman Desires (Redgrave #3)
  • Hunter of Sherwood: Knight of Shadows (Guy of Gisburne, #1)
  • Personal Demons (The Jake Helman Files, #1)
  • A Spy Unmasked (In the Crown's Secret Service #1)
  • Lady of Mallow
  • Touching Evil (Leila Marx, #1)
See similar books…
Anne Cleeland writes a contemporary Scotland Yard mystery series that is featured in the Amazon top 100 best sellers. She also writes a historical series of stand-alone books set in the Regency period. A member of International Thriller Writers, The Historical Novel Society, and Mystery Writers of America, she lives in California and has four children.; @annecleeland.

Other books in the series

Regency (2 books)
  • Daughter of the God-King (Regency, #2)