Monday, April 18, 2016

Love, Lies and Spies ~ Cindy Anstey (earc) review [@CindyAnstey @SwoonReads]

Love, Lies and Spies
Swoon Reads
April 19, 2016
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

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 their 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.

If you are looking for a Victorian-set YA novel with (more than) a bit of romance and snark, Swoon Reads has you covered. First with These Vicious Masks and now with Love, Lies and Spies.

This book is great. Juliana Telford has no plans to get married - and no plans to make those plans, either. Yet, she is excited to be spending the Season in London with her cousin, Carrie. It's not hte balls, the young men or the prospect of matrimony that entices her, but the chance to publish her and her father's research.

While other young women are doing the more conventional pastimes of the era, Juliana and her father are researching lady beetles, ladybugs.

So it would seem that she and Spencer Northam are a perfect match. Not that sort of match, of course, as he secretly works for the War Office and intends to stay a bachelor, working his missions. Their arrangement benefits them both, allowing them to continue their pursuits while keeping up appearances.

But when do things go exactly as planned? Especially when love, lies and spies are involved?

Though other books I have read never felt anachronistic while I was reading them something about Love, Lies and Spies felt more true to the time period than anything else I've read. Whether it was the  characters reactions to things and each other, how they viewed certain things or some combination of everything, it felt very much like they were Victorian characters. All while Juliana was certainly not your conventional Victorian miss.

The inclusion of spies in this novel, along with who they were spying on and any, makes it unique. For me, at least, it was a new vocation for a character. With Juliana's love of insects, her cousin Carrie's personality (which I found very pleasantly surprising) and how these all impact the plot, it's a terrific read.

The progression of Love, Lies and Spies, with how Juliana and Spencer first meet; the excitement over the Season, the social hierarchy, rules and expectations; the lies they try to tell, to themselves and each other; the unexpected twists and turns; and, truly, the characters themselves make for a very enjoyable read.

Other Books You May Also Enjoy: These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas & Tarun Shanker and The Lovegrove Legacy #1 and #2 by Alyxandra Harvey

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