Author: Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Publisher: Etopia Press
Format: ebook via The Romance Reviews
Synopsis: Revolution in France, rebels in England, and one woman caught in the crossfire...
For her unwitting participation in a plot to embezzle the Exchequer, Lady Abigail Houghall has spent the last two years exiled to the city of Bath. A card sharp, sometime mistress, and target of scandalous gossip by the London Beau Monde, Lady Abigail plots to escape her gilded cage as well as the prudish society that condemns her. But the times are not easy. France is in chaos. The king has been executed, and whispers of a similar revolution are stirring in England. And because of her participation in the robbery plot, the Spymaster of England is blackmailing her into passing him information about the members of London’s upper crust.
When the dashing English spy Daniel Ridgeway takes a seat at her card table and threatens to expose her for cheating, she has no choice but to do as he demands: seduce the leader of the revolutionaries and learn what she can about their plot. As she’s drawn deeper into Daniel’s dangerous world, from the seedy backstreets of London to the claustrophobic catacombs of a war-torn Paris, she realizes an even more dangerous fact. She’s falling in love with her seductive partner. And the stakes of this game might just be too high, even for her.
When two outcasts find common ground...
Abigail has a particular set of skills that most women in her level of society do not possess. Not only can she charm even the most rigid of people, but she can con her way through nearly any situation. As a spy, she has taken on a new challenge, but her dream is to flee to faraway lands and live a life of independence.
Daniel lives with several regrets. He is estranged from his family, left the love of his life behind, and now fears a dear friend may be lost in enemy territory. When he is partnered with Abigail to fulfill his next mission, he knows that falling for the woman will only be another sorrow to add to his list.
Unfortunately for Daniel, both his heart and Abigail refuse to let him write off his growing affection for her. But even if he does admit his true feelings, the circumstances of their predicament become unsafe as they try to flee from their enemies. Abigail must take it upon herself to get them to safety before it's too late.
It took a little while for me to get into this one. While the book was on the wordy side, there were a lot of things that I didn't think were explained clearly enough. For example, we're given a glimpse as to why Abigail did not marry as a younger woman. But even after reading over the passage twice, I still didn't entirely grasp what happened. I eventually just gave up trying to understand it and moved on, hoping it wouldn't affect the rest of the story.
The conspiracy side of this book took center stage. There were plenty of nefarious characters to be wary of and a few clues dropped here and there. This element may have actually been too much of the focus for my liking. But if you like a suspenseful historical plot with spies and schemes, this has a good one.
Because the mystery was really the focus of the story, the romance side took a hit. Our couple barely spend any time together in the first half of the book. So when the declarations of love happen, I didn't find them entirely believable or genuine. I would have preferred to see less conspiracy and more romance. In the second half of the book, the story does pick up and our couple do finally get some moments of real intimacy. But by that point, I wasn't completely convinced by their relationship.
Weaker on the romance front but the suspenseful plot keeps it interesting. Three suns!