Title: My Lord and Spymaster
Author: Joanna Bourne
Page Count: 324 pages
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Genre: historical romance
Copy for review compliments of the public library
50 words or less: When Jess's father is imprisoned for treason, she uses all of her skills as a trader, merchant, and former thief to find proof he's innocent. Too bad this plan involves meeting, robbing, and falling for Sebastien Kennett, a captain, spy, and the guy who put her father in jail.
Well will you look at that, I finally got current on a series! This is a pretty big accomplishment for me, as I tend to start a series and not finish it, even if it's good, just because I read so much other stuff.
I'm happy to say that this is a series that was well worth getting current on. I use the term series very loosely, as both this book and the one before it (Spymaster's Lady) are sort-of stand alone books. There are some character crossovers and the settings are similar but you could easily read either one without having read the other and it wouldn't detract from the experience at all.
This is the kind of book that you could read over and over again and take something different away from it every time. The book is set during the Napoleonic wars and the characters are realistic and entertaining from the first page to the last. The banter is witty and sparkling, and there were several times that I had to reread passages because I missed some turn of the conversation. This is a good thing for sure, the story kept me on my toes and I don't mind rereading things to get a better understanding of what's going on in the story.
Jess is the kind of heroine that's really refreshing to read about. While everyone around her is wailing and gnashing their teeth, Jess calmly and quietly goes about her business and does what she think is best, regardless of how ludicrously dangerous that course of action may be. She causes a lot of people a whole lot of heartburn, but she never does things just to make people mad- everything has a purpose.
In contrast, Sebastien is a genuinely good guy trying to deal with some complicated feelings. He only wants Jess to be safe and happy but has a hard time understanding her feelings and loyalty to her father. I have to admit, I had a hard time understanding her feelings or loyalty to her father, but I respected that he tried to be understanding and tried to prove that he was a trustworthy guy. Watching him try to win Jess over and watching their relationship blossom was one of the best parts of the book.
In addition to the really entertaining relationships between the various characters, there's a lot of interesting historical information that makes for an excellent backdrop to the story. Spying, smuggling, overseas trade, thievery, the black market, it's all here.
According to goodreads, the next book in this series will be out in 2010, and when it does I will definitely keep going with this series. In the meantime, I may end up getting the first two books for myself, since rereading them would definitely be a lot of fun.
Overall Grade A
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