(Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: Duels & Deception
Published by Macmillan on April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical, Love & Romance, Renaissance, Young Adult
In Love, Lies and Spies, Cindy Anstey's hilarious homage to Jane Austen, a lady with a penchant for trouble finds a handsome spy much more than merely tolerable. Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She's much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she's determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish her research.Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana's traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
The minute I read the summary and saw the cover to Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey I immediately wanted to read it. I love historical romance – add in the spy aspect and I am totally on board.
Juliana Telford is the main character and there is more to her than meets the eye. As a girl growing up in the nineteenth century, she should be interested in attending parties and finding a husband but really, none of that is important to her. Instead, she would prefer to continue to study the bugs she and her father have researched for so long. Unfortunately in order to try to get a publisher to consider publishing their research, she has to jump through some hoops and that includes pretending she is interested in parties and a husband.
Our hero is Spencer Northam and like Juliana, he is hiding something about himself. As a spy for the War Office, he is on a mission to find the truth about the traitors he has been directed to watch. As he and his good friend, Lord Randolph Bobbington spend some time outside of London, conveniently near the home of the supposed traitors, they cross paths with Juliana and things become super interesting.
I have to admit, I love the way Juliana and Spencer met. It was one of my favorite parts and you don’t have to wait long for it as it is the first chapter of the book. With that said, the book is written well and the rest of the book provides fantastic interactions between these characters. As Juliana continues to investigate her publishing options and Spencer continues to investigate the traitors, they cross paths quite a bit. To make it easier for both of them to avoid potential matchmaking – since neither of them are looking for a spouse – they pretend they are interested in each other and the development of their friendship and eventually a romance was well done. Please note, the romance is very PG but I loved seeing how their relationship evolved. The banter between these two and getting to peek into the development of their relationship was fantastic.
In addition to the above, there is an added layer to the story. Someone (nope, I’m not saying who) has decided they want to compromise Juliana in order to be able to marry her and have access to her money. I won’t go into much detail on this aspect of the story only because I don’t want to give it away but he has a connection to the family that Juliana is traveling to London with and when things start to fall apart for him things become more dangerous for Juliana. Other secondary characters include Juliana’s aunt, uncle, and cousin. All of them add something to the story and help keep the story moving forward.
Overall I thought this was a fantastic YA historical romance. It was exactly what I was looking for and I can’t wait to read more by Anstey. If you are looking for something light with a historical feel and well-written characters, consider checking this book out. There really is something for everyone in this book – romance, intrigue, and a bit of adventure to keep you turning the pages.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!