Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Forbidden Rose (Spymasters, #3)” as Want to Read:
The Forbidden Rose (Spymasters, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Forbidden Rose

(Spymasters #3)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,353 ratings  ·  357 reviews
Marguerite de Fleurignac, once privileged aristocrat, is on the run, disguised as penniless British governess Maggie Duncan. William Doyle, England's top spy, has a score to settle with her, recognized when he pulls her from her burned-out chateau. Drawn inexorably into mad revolutionary Paris, they gamble on an inadmissible love destined for betrayal. ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Berkley Sensation (first published May 26th 2010)
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 The Forbidden Rose, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Forbidden Rose

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,353 ratings  ·  357 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Forbidden Rose (Spymasters, #3)
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017, hr, 5-stars
Let’s start with a negative detail, shall we? I do not like spy romances. There, I said it. Spy romances are, by definition, almost always plot driven, and I simply prefer my books to be character driven. It’s also the reason why Joanna Bourne’s Spymasters series was collecting dust on my Kindle, despite the rave reviews whenever one of my friends had read one of it. This, however, shall be my only negative comment, though. Well. Almost. But I’ll get to that later.

How to explain the beauty of Th
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Sherry Thomas fans will like The Forbidden Rose. Probably. Succinct like Thomas, Joanna Bourne's prose nonetheless sings with flare, marrying original metaphors for timeless ideas (e.g. "she was a battlefield of possibilities") and a quintessentially French understatement perfect for a French setting and a French heroine. +1000 pts. for a unique setting and research.

William Doyle and Marguerite de Fleurignac meet in Revolutionary France. Aptly, principle drives Doyle and Marguerite and, in the s
Laurie  |  LOHF
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, dnf
I’m not going to write a long-winded review because I read most of this on vacation, didn’t take notes and I’m feeling rather lazy. I believe this is part of a series but it reads well on its own. The hero is a british spy, scarred terribly and not traditionally handsome, and the heroine is a beautiful aristocrat keeping secrets of her own. Both know they can’t have each other for any length of time but they are inexplicably drawn to each other and unable to resist the pull.

This book has an amaz
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I've decided to read this series in chronological order rather then published, so for me this is #1. :)

I loved this bookfor many reasons! For the place where the action is: French revolution and the Terror period! For the wonderful heroine. For the wonderful hero. For the non-stop action. For the intricate story. For the way it was written!

Just so very refreshing! There's no rake hero, OW, endless tea-drinking, balls and parties! But there's some serious spying and some tough situations! There's
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
For a straight up romance novel, this was a REALLY good book. Spies during the French Revolution, yes please! Of course it's terribly unbelievable, the plot, but the extravagant nature of this authors writing, I mean it's SO OVER THE TOP, but it draws you in, it's like a really deep dark burgundy damask drape, it's old fashioned and stodgy and heavy but damn if it doesn't STAND for something and not apologize for it! I AM OVER THE TOP AND I REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE FOR IT!

Definitely recommend based
Dec 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
William is a veteran British spy, 12 years in the service & 6 of ‘em as independent agent. His mission is to use Marguerite to flush out her dad, who’s responsible for the “Hit” list, the 1 containing the names of promising Brit officers that are marked for death. When H/H 1st meet, Marguerite is caught hiding in her ruined chateau & introduces herself as Margaret Duncan, a Scot governess living in France. William knows her real identity from the get-go, but Marguerite doesn’t know his. He feeds ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing

"Do you know. . . in the city of Paris there are magic birds? You can see them in the trees sometimes, just for a moment, if you look quickly.... They are red as rubies and green as emeralds. Some are golden. The golden ones are the smallest. They are the bravest and most wise."

I absolutely loved this one. I really didn't expect Doyle's book to be quite this good. What an interesting and compelling time in history. I would not have liked living through it. I can't wait to start the
Jun 15, 2014 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
*hangs head in shame*

Despite the rave reviews from so many readers here that I trust, I just could not get into the book. The metaphors drove me batty, as did all the spy stuff with everyone having a speshul code name. I lost interest about halfway through and other books kept grabbing my attention until the library said it was time to go home to Overdrive land and took it away.

Sorry guyz.
Courtney Milan, Eloisa James and now Joanna Bourne. All highly popular and well-respected authors - but, alas, not for me. I generally like to keep my genres pure and separated. I love espionage and political intrigue as a genre. I have devoured books by Ludlum, Forsyth, Clancy, Higgins and their likes. However, if I pick up a HR, I prefer the romance not be distracted by side plots. Knowing that, I nevertheless picked up this book after such glorious praise from my fellow GRers, hoping that the ...more
Sam (AMNReader)
Aug 30, 2019 marked it as today-is-not-that-day
Shelves: scribd, library
I go back and forth, but can say for sure this isn't what I want to read.... So putting it on hold again, and I might never return to it. Maybe audio? Idk.

Around 25%
Jacob Proffitt
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, steamy, audiobook
This is part of a series, but ordering is problematic. They were written out of chronological order so technically this one is third. It's first chronologically, however, and it wasn't written "prequally" so personally, I recommend starting here. Of course, I've only read the "first" so I don't know the full effect of that choice, yet, but I intend to take the rest of this series chronologically because I wish I had known the characters in this one before having read the "first".

I really enjoyed
Sandy Williams
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing

I love Joanna Bourne. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed her first two books – The Spymaster’s Lady and My Lord and Spymaster – I didn’t expect to like this one quite as much. I’m happy to report I loved it just as much. Maybe more?

THE FORBIDDEN ROSE is set during the turmoil of the French Revolution. Marguerite de Fleurignac is a French aristocrat who smuggles people who would otherwise be sent to the guillotine out of the country. When her château is burned to the ground, Maggie flees to her hom
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romance fans
Recommended to Anna (Bobs Her Hair) by: new_user
The Forbidden Rose is a delightful spy/suspense/historical romance set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. It’s also prequel to Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series, which includes The Spymaster’s Lady and My Lord and Spymaster. Bourne provides an involved plot, mature characters, and a descriptive setting. If you are looking for a historical romance that break away from predictable plot devices then I highly recommend this book.

The Plot
In 1794, Marguerite de Fleurignac (“Maggie”), an ar
August 2017:

WHAT WAS I THINKING 5 YEARS AGO?!??! This book was great, so great. I fell in love with Maggie and her heart and her brilliant mind and the way she captivated not just Doyle, but Hawker, Justine and little Séverine. She was a rock star who loved her family even her mad father and her cousin who everyone else wanted to kill (gosh, he was the WORST).

And Doyle. Doyle, Doyle, Doyle. He will never not be saving young uns (Hawker, Jess, Séverine, Pax). Not in this book, not in the two prev
I've given this As for both content and narration at AAR. Audiobooks don't get much better than this!

There has been a long delay between the release of the audio version of Ms. Bourne’s début novel, The Spymaster's Lady, and audios of the other books in the series, but at last, we’re now able to enjoy this, the prequel to that book and can look forward to listening to the remaining books in the series as they are issued over the next few months.

The Forbidden Rose takes place several years befor
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
“I am starving to death, you know. Not as one starves in stories, nobly and gracefully. [...] Do not expect pity, Citoyen Rabbit. I am without a heart. It was the first thing I ate when I became hungry.”

So begins this novel, with the heroine talking to a rabbit she's snared for the entirety of the first chapter. And what a badass first chapter it was! Not many authors could pull something like that off, and Bourne did so with serious style.

While this won't wind up a personal favorite the way Th
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the series
4.5 stars. Spies, political intrigue, French heroines -- these generally top my “oh hell no” list when it comes to choosing romance. But Bourne has made the combo work for me before, so I trusted her to make it work for me again. My reward was a totally swoonworthy hero, in a character who had seemed far from typical hero material in the previous books of the series. Is there anything sexier in a dude than competence... large, quiet, total, large competence?

Set some years before the previous bo
This was a German audio version and I LOVED it.
The narrator was fabulous- just the right mix of smooth and sultry and poetic (because Bourne has such a poetic style).
The story is also gripping. The historical detail of the crazy times in France under Robespierre just come alive in this book. The hero is wonderful- strong, brutal, sensitive, passionate, protective and intelligent. Sounds too good to be true? And yet somehow he seemed incredibly real.
Marguerite was a phenomenal heroine, so coura
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
4.5 I adore Bourne's lyrical writing and this book was no exception. Couldn't put it down. ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ LOVED this one. Doyle and Maggie are fabulous characters. Now on to Hawk’s story. This series has not disappointed me yet.
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Forbidden Rose is where Joanna Bourne continues to amaze with her thought out, somewhat complex plots and characters who will take a beating and even after all the danger and life threatening action that comes their way, they refuse to be down for the count and live to fight another day. If there is such a thing as swashbuckling spies, I would say Joanna has placed her claim on it.

Marguerite de Fleurignac has been hiding in the French countryside where her family's chateau has burned to the
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very good read. I'd seen plenty of recs and good reviews, but had kept away because I'm not usually interested in the spy trope in my HRs. But now that I've finally given in and tried Joanna Bourne for myself, I can see what the fuss is about.

It's France during the Revolution. A time of fear and madness. Robespierre and his lists of those to go to the guillotine. Members of the French nobility being targeted simply because of the class they happened to be born into. Ancient buildings
Regan Walker
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful “prequel” to read first in the Amazing Spymaster Series!

For those who haven't yet read THE SPYMASTER'S LADY or MY LORD AND SPYMASTER, you should know this book comes first in time--it is a "prequel." Unfortunately it was written later so for those of us already fans to the series, we knew how it ended before it began as this is Doyle's and Maggie's story (and they are in the other books but later in time).

Set in 1794 in France, it's a great tale of English spies and French undercover w
Aly is so frigging bored
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Joanna Bourne writes marvelous historicals. She is officially one of my auto-buys.
Pamela Shropshire
Book 3 of the Spymasters series. I complained in my review of the last book about the stupid heroine trope and I’m happy to say, this one was MUCH better.

This book is set some years before book 1. In The Spymaster’s Lady, we meet Doyle and Marguerite (Doyle calls her Maggie and The Forbidden Rose explains the origin of that nickname).

The heroine is Marguerite de Fleurignac, daughter of a marquise, lately - denobled? disennobled? Anyway, when the book opens, she is hiding from the men who burned
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Joanna Bourne is one very talented author. Her crisp, unfettered style is brilliantly lacking the over-wrought sentimentality that often prevails in historical romance, and results in moments of breath-taking poignancy. She is a striking talent bringing a fresh and unique voice to the genre. It’s no surprise that she has rocketed up the list of my favourite authors.

The Forbidden Rose is a prequel to the amazing The Spymaster's Lady and My Lord and Spymaster, and doesn’t disappoint on any level.
4.5 stars.
The Forbidden Rose was an excellent read - still not as good as The Spymaster's Lady - but very good (I like the cover and title better, tho). It is set in France again, starts out in countryside and they travel into Paris. Things are super crazy there as they are in the middle of the revolution and Robespierre is having everyone sent to the guillotine and no one is safe. Marguerite de Fleurgnac is part of a secret network that works underground to get people out of Paris who are thoug
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've read many romances set during the Napoleonic Wars but very few set in actual France during the Terror. Kudos to the writer for developing a romance in such a frightening setting.

Marguerite is hiding in the burned remains of her chateau, when she meets M. Le Breton, a supposed bookseller. She immediately suspects that he's more than he seems so when he insists to escort to Paris, she agrees. On the road, they get to know each other and realize they are very well matched. These are two very i
Rosina Lippi
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've reviewed Jo Bourne's novels before, and here again I am full of praise. Historical fiction is not easy to write. That is, it's harder to write than contemporary fiction, and she pulls it off beautifully.

We're in France, close to the end of the Reign of Terror. Everybody fears for their lives. Think Stalin, but not quite so grand a scale. We have the young woman, daughter of nobility, who has been busy smuggling aristos (as they are called so charmingly) out of France. We have the English sp
Laura (Kyahgirl)
Really good historical romance with a touch of humour thrown in.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Feb 13, 2015 09:09AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • His at Night (The London Trilogy #3)
  • For My Lady's Heart (Medieval Hearts, #1)
  • The Duke of Shadows
  • The Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless, #6)
  • A Notorious Countess Confesses (Pennyroyal Green, #7)
  • The Shadow and the Star (Victorian Hearts, #2)
  • The Luckiest Lady in London (The London Trilogy, #1)
  • Not Quite a Husband (The Marsdens, #2)
  • My Dearest Enemy
  • It Started With a Scandal (Pennyroyal Green, #10)
  • Between the Devil and Ian Eversea (Pennyroyal Green, #9)
  • The Legend of Lyon Redmond (Pennyroyal Green, #11)
  • The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (MacKenzies & McBrides, #3)
  • Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10)
  • As You Desire (Braxton, #1)
  • What I Did for a Duke (Pennyroyal Green, #5)
  • Lord Perfect  (Carsington Brothers, #3)
  • Lessons in French
See similar books…
Joanna lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge with her family, a medium-sized mutt and a faux Himalayan cat.

She writes Historical Romances set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars. She's fascinated by that time and place - such passionate conviction and burning idealism ... and really sexy clothes.

Other books in the series

Spymasters (6 books)
  • The Spymaster's Lady (Spymasters, #1)
  • My Lord and Spymaster (Spymasters, #2)
  • The Black Hawk (Spymasters, #4)
  • Rogue Spy (Spymasters #5)
  • Beauty Like the Night (Spymasters, #6)

Related Articles

In most historical romances, love and marriage go together like...well, a horse and carriage. But what if the girl part of the girl-meets-boy...
55 likes · 15 comments
“And fetch some straw.
We’ll put it between us and the ground. No reason we shouldn’t sleep soft tonight.”
“Straw. I love luxury.”
“Her breasts were nudging out of her bodice. And . . . he had his hand on one of
them. When did that happen? God. He jerked away fast and took hold of her shoulder instead. That was neutral ground up there. “Sorry. Don’t mean
anything by that. An accident.”
Fine pair of breasts she had. White as split almonds. Round as peaches. The nipples peeked out, since the fichu wasn’t doing its job. A pair of
dark little roses, pulled up into buds. Tasty looking. And if he got any closer he could put his mouth down and lick them.
That’s going to reassure her—you slavering at her tits.”
More quotes…