Friday, January 15, 2016

Title: Love, Lies and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

Is that cover not adorable?!? If you answered that question with a resounding YES then you will probably like the story on the pages of this book, as well, because it is equally charming. I've really gotten into Regency period romance novels lately, this novel included. I've mentioned before that I think that has to do with the sense of decorum that comes with these stories…but especially when those rules of propriety are inevitably broken.

That being said, I like Juliana's character for the opposite reason. Yes, she is unconventional and a little quirky - and yes, a little single-minded when it comes to the ladybugs she studies - but she doesn't intentionally set out to break the rules or bring shame upon her family as some Regency era heroines are wont to do. Juliana has no desire to end her Season in London by making a match; romance is the furthest thing from her mind. So it goes without saying that any breaches in etiquette on her part are largely due to her need to publish her and her father's findings on the lady beetle so that she may return home and remain his caretaker. No stolen kisses or secret rendezvous in her future; nothing to necessitate a quick match to end a scandal.

And yet, Juliana can't seem to stay out of trouble. Whether it's driving her buggy off the side of a cliff or dealing with insufferable mean girls who are determined to ruin her, she is destined to be a damsel in distress. Which is perfect because Mr. Spencer Northam is perfectly suited to be her knight in shining armor. And he does it so well that the two form a friendship, grounded in their mutual desire to remain unmarried and in control of their futures. I loved their subtle banter and the immediate sense of camaraderie that develops into much more, something neither of them expected.

This story employs the fake relationship trope to an extent but it's very well done. As in, the interfering mothers and aunts are so busy with their machinations that they don't care one iota what their children desire, so it's almost as if Juliana and Spencer's efforts are wasted. Except that they aren't because - as with most stories that involve the fake romance - real feelings develop.

Love, Lies and Spies is an adorable little romp in Regency-era London, perfectly-paced and delightfully entertaining. It had me grinning from ear to ear, cover to cover. And the best part of all is that it seems to be a stand-alone with none of those ridiculous miscommunications. It really was just a pleasure to read!

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found--actually, not found--adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and... a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

Find Cindy:

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


  1. I didn't realize this was set in Regency era London! My favorite!!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. I'm really excited for this one and I love the cover! Juliana sounds awesome :D

  3. I love the cover, it's just so unique. And I loce historical fiction, so I hope I could read this soon :D

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

  4. I could definitely see myself rereading this book in the years to come!

    Definitely a must read for YA historical fans!

    Dundalk Carpet Stretching


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