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Group Reads Discussions > September '09 BotM: My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne

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message 1: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Burket (kathleengigicompany) | 20125 comments Mod
Please post comments and discussion here for the September '09 Book of the Month:

My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne My Lord and Spymasterby Joanna Bourne

message 2: by Kathleen (last edited Sep 28, 2009 02:13PM) (new)

Kathleen Burket (kathleengigicompany) | 20125 comments Mod
Joanna Bourne is fascinated by spies and spymasters and this is the second book that she has written set during the period of the Napoleonic wars (early 1800's). Her heroines in both books are strong women who are actively engaged in espionage, but for completely different reasons. The books are not sequels, but do have a lot of parallels. And despite the fact that I adore a strong heroine, I didn't find the role for these women in the era of history in which Bourne has set her stories believable. Since most of you haven't read The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne The Spymaster's Lady, Bourne's first Napoleonic espionage thriller, I'll concentrate on this month's read, My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne My Lord and Spymaster (MLSM).

In MLSM, Jess Whitby is the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate whose father has been accused of passing secrets from an unknown government mole in London to Napoleon's forces in France. It just so happens that years before when Jess was eight years old her father was arrested in France leaving her mother and her destitute. Mother and daughter ended up in one of London's slums without a source of income. Jess became a pickpocket to support them both. Jess came to the attention of Lazarus, the leader of London's criminal underground in that era. Lazarus recruited and trained her as one of his people--no mention what mom was doing during this period. Her father gets back to England three years later, and kidnaps his daughter back (still no mention of mom). Josiah Whitby, her father, and Jess spend many years overseas building his shipping empire which insiders know that Jess is actually responsible for creating because of her aptitude with finance and mathematics. Jess has never forgotten the skills that Lazarus taught her and uses her burglary background to attempt to prove her father's innocence.

Farfetched, over-the-top, ah . . . regrettably, yes. I like imaginative, but I want my fantasy labeled fantasy on the spine. If Bourne would have peopled it with fairies, goblins, elves, and such, and placed it on an earth-like planet, this would have been a great fantasy novel and I would be urging everyone to seek it out. Sadly, this is suppose to be a historical. I think that the RITA committee was tired of all those Regencies with endless ton events and matchmaking mamas. This book is very different from most Regency historicals, but I just couldn't make the leap of faith to buy into it.

I am giving this book three stars. It flows smoothly, has snappy dialogue, and a mystery in which all of the dots are connected at the end. The hero, Sebastian Kennett, is tall, dark, and handsome, and Adrian Hawkhurst, spymaster, is a sweetie as a supporting character. Adrian is in both books, and was a favorite character of mine both times. Conversely, it is not realistic and the back story needed a little more work. (What happened to mom?)

message 3: by Gina (new)

Gina (ginrobi) | 3325 comments Mod
Wow! I didn't think I'd like this one, and now I'm sure I'm right, LOL! If you weren't able to accept the story line, I know I won't.

message 4: by Colleen (new)

Colleen (colleenct1) | 1537 comments I have both books on my night table. September was a very hetic month for me so I am hoping to read this series in about a week. I will let you know what I think then.

Kathleen you did not give it a good review, you don't do that very often.

message 5: by Kathleen (last edited Oct 14, 2009 02:38PM) (new)

Kathleen Burket (kathleengigicompany) | 20125 comments Mod
If you figure out what happened to mom, I'm assuming she died, please let me know. It is one of those small, niggling, but troublesome details.

message 6: by Colleen (new)

Colleen (colleenct1) | 1537 comments I will let you know.

message 7: by Karenb (new)

Karenb page 64 --

She felt Eunice wipe tears off her face.

Wiping her face. The last person to do that was her mother, dead of fever, ten years back.

message 8: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Burket (kathleengigicompany) | 20125 comments Mod
Thanks, appreciate the info.

message 9: by Gina (new)

Gina (ginrobi) | 3325 comments Mod
Wow. Talk about a short detail.

message 10: by Colleen (new)

Colleen (colleenct1) | 1537 comments I am going to have to pay attention while reading these 2 books.

message 11: by Kathleen (last edited Oct 22, 2009 02:51PM) (new)

Kathleen Burket (kathleengigicompany) | 20125 comments Mod
I forgot to mention during my original review of September's read that I rated The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne The Spymaster's Lady four stars and considered it the stronger of the two books.

message 12: by Colleen (new)

Colleen (colleenct1) | 1537 comments Well I have to disagree I like "My Lord and Spymaster" better, but it was the sub-plot that I loved.

While reading this book I wondered about people like Lazarus and how they made a living. I know people had a lot of children back then and they could not always take care of them but, did the children really live like that? I would like to read more on that subject.

message 13: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Burket (kathleengigicompany) | 20125 comments Mod
I suspected we will learn more about Lazarus if/when Bourne writes Hawker's story.

message 14: by Colleen (new)

Colleen (colleenct1) | 1537 comments Hmmm, I did not think of that. I would love to see Hawker find love on his own.

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