Title: Once Upon a Spy
Author: Sheridan Jeane
Series: Secrets and Seduction #3
Genre: Victorian Romance
London, 1854 ~ Robert, Earl of Wentworth, isn’t a spy, and he never wants to be one, but when his brother is injured and needs his help stealing an important book from the Russian embassy, he can’t refuse.
Antonia has lost everything. If she wants her life back, she needs that book. The problem is, Lord Wentworth just stole it from the Russian Ambassador.
The reluctant spy and the daring thief find themselves at cross-purposes. Who will win in this dangerous game of nations— especially when their hearts are at stake as well?
Source: Review copy from the author via email
What a fun romp this novel is. If you like a bit of instant attraction, plenty of diplomatic tangles, some family drama, secret treason and lots of haring around and going back and forth over stolen items, then this book might be for you. It is packed with all this sort of derring-do and amateur spy work, with a few foolish mistakes and a cute romance at the heart. It’s fun, frivolous, occasionally absurd and possibly a touch overlong, but if a historical romp with a touch of heat is what you’re after, then this book delivers it in spades.
Robert, Earl of Wentworth, was introduced in the last book as the hero’s best friend, a little short on temper at times, but generally a good sort. This time around he’s all of that plus very observant and useful when it comes to helping his brother in his spy work (although I find his observant nature kind of amusing when he failed to tell Grey wasn’t a man in the last book, and missed the obvious choice for who Antonia hands the book onto in this one). I liked Robert, he’s never rude or dismissive of Antonia, given her fall from grace, and he treats her with respect throughout. He also has a sword stick, which gives him bonus points.
I liked Antonia too. She’s a capable, resourceful woman who has had a pretty bad year, but is doing her best despite the many, many obstacles thrown in her way. The pair of them make a good team, and I liked how they worked together to try and achieve all goals.
Admittedly, the whole reason for the Russians wanting the book seemed pretty unlikely to me (and the outcome obvious because of history) but it was still fun to see how the story twisted and turned and finally finished up. I was slightly confused by Antonia’s lack of worry concerning her sisters (surely if she was in danger, they would be too) and I’m still curious as to how Robert’s brother, Frederick, knows all about their father since their mother swore Robert to secrecy.
However, on the whole, I enjoyed this. If you like your historicals with plenty of twists, a bit of espionage, diplomatic dealings and drama, then give this a try. If you’re already a fan of the series, this book neatly ties the previous two together, but if you’re new to it all then it stands alone perfectly well. I can’t wait to read more about Frederick in the next book.
Once Upon a Spy is Out Now!
Visit Sheridan Jeane for more details.