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Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne

Rogue SpyWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  For years he’d lived a lie. It was time to tell the truth…even if it cost him the woman he loved.

Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever…

Warning:  Series spoilers follow. 

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Joanna Bourne writes such beautiful prose. I get lost in it from time to time. Fortunately, she uses the beautiful language to tell a good story as well. It would be a great pity for it to be otherwise. 

The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne, narrated by Kirsten Potter

forbidden rose audioWhy I read it:  I received a copy of the audiobook as a gift.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  A glittering French aristocrat is on the run, disguised as a British governess. England’s top spy has a score to settle with her family. But as they’re drawn inexorably into the intrigue and madness of Revolutionary Paris, they gamble on a love to which neither of them will admit.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I briefly reviewed the print version of this book back in March 2011. 

I said then:

I’ve had this one on my TBR for ages and I really don’t know what took me so long to read it.  However, inspired by the DABWAHA tournament, I decided to pick it up.  I’m very glad I did. This is kind of a prequel to Bourne’s first book, The Spymaster’s Lady.   Set shortly after the revolution in France, it follows the story of English spy Doyle and French aristocrat Marguerite.  Bourne has such a wonderful touch with prose.  You can tell when the point of view is from an Englishman or a Frenchwoman – there’s just something in the way the words are placed which make it obvious.  And her phrasing, the pictures painted with words are just beautiful.  Here’s a couple I particularly noted:

She could become lost in this man, in territories of amazement, countries of sensation. 

and

She did not rush to fill the silence up, in case LeBreton might have a use for it.

The connection between the characters, how they related to one another and saw through one another and did not jump to misplaced conclusions about one another was refreshing and much appreciated.  At the start of the book, both the hero and heroine are pretending to be someone else – but rather than making it the obvious “Big Mis” story, Ms. Bourne told another (and much more satisfying) tale.    I was so inspired, afterwards, I went and read The Spymaster’s Lady again and then I ordered My Lord & Spymaster too.  When I checked the author’s website, I was happy to see that Adrian’s story is coming out later this year.  I’m very much looking forward to his story – we meet Justine (his lady) in The Forbidden Rose.

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