April 26, 2016

There is nothing better than British spies | Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Love, Lies and Spies
By Cindy Anstey 
Published on April 19th 2016
368 pages
Published by Swoon Reads
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

This book was provided to me from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

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.


There are a couple of subjects that I will always love to read about: pirates, dragons, time travel, spies, and anything British. Even though there is a lack of pirates and dragons in Love, Lies and Spies, the perfect mixture of historical British culture and espionage made me love this book.

I have read many historical fiction novels, but I have not read one that has immersed me in the time period as much as Love, Lies and Spies did. Everything seemed to reflect the time period, the character's speech, actions, the culture of the society with their emphasis on propriety. Everything screamed historical Britain to me. 

For example, this is one of my favorite descriptions in the novel. It is saturated with the language from the time period. (This quote was taken from an advanced reader's copy, so the quote might change in the final copy.)
She had barely enough time to contemplate the exquisite elegance of the gentleman's cutaway cost, his embroidered saffron waistcoat, the sophistication of his knotted neckcloth, or the breadth of his shoulders. 
Quotes like this one truly created the atmosphere of Britain during Napoleon's empire for me. 

I also enjoyed the accuracy of the culture during the time. The society in the novel was portrayed exactly how it was during the time period: proper, restricting, and sexist. I know that it is weird to say that I enjoyed the sexism, but I did appreciate how Anstey incorporated it into the plot. Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, sexism is a part of our history and it is important to address its history so we can work to finally eliminate it now.
"'Dearest friend, I did warn you,' Carrie chided. 'You never should have attempted such a journey--you were testing providence. And see how it responded. I hope it was a lesson learned, an you will never again endeavor to tax your fragile self...'"

I also adored the characters in the novel. Juliana, the main character, is a rebellious scientist in a time where females were not considered smart enough to make discoveries. She is the perfect amount of intelligent, bashful, rebellious, and awkward. Since she is such a great blend of all of these things, she was incredibly easy to relate to. For me, relating to the characters is one of the hardest parts in historical fiction novels. I really have to be able to understand their situation in order to connect with them, which Anstey definitely accomplished.

The main goal of Juliana's journey to London was to find a publisher for her research. Unfortunately, that part of the plot is left to the side a little bit while the romantic and social conflicts took center stage. I would have liked to learn more about Juliana's research throughout the course of the novel and not have that whole plotline shoved at the end of the novel. 

The other plotline focused on a ring of spies who were committing treason by helping Napoleon and his growing empire. I loved the plot twists and turns that accompanied this plotline. I was certain that I had everything figured out, but then I was completely caught off guard by what really happened (in a good way!). 

The final plotline was the romantic conflicts. I was a little bit afraid of how the romance was going to be handled at first, but my worries were unfounded. The romance was extremely cute and adorable, if a tad frustrating at times. There seemed to be some love geometry going on in this novel, but as the novel went on, the threat of a love triangle disappeared. Even though the romance was a tad complicated (as things normally are when spies are involved), I was thoroughly impressed. 

While the novel is under 400 pages, there is definitely a lot going on. There are multiple conflicts, but I wish some conflicts were less emphasized so other would have a chance to shine.

I would recommend Love, Lies and Spies to all of the espionage enthusiasts, historical fiction junkies, and anglophiles out there. This book will not disappoint with its rich portrayal of historical Britain and the adventure of spies.  

About the Author 

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.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment