In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.
At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?
SERIES: Regency Spies of London #1
GENRE: Historical/Regency Romance
PUBLISHER: Waterfall Press
PUBLICATION DATE: February 9, 2016
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If you’ve spent half a second around me or my blog, you know how much I adore Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale retellings. You also probably know how much I adore Regency fiction, especially those books that make my Jane-Austen-loving heart smile. Combine Melanie Dickerson and Regency fiction?!? Yep. I’m pretty much on cloud 9.
A Spy’s Devotion is the first in Dickerson’s new Regency Spies of London series and is brimming with Austenesque goodness. While admittedly the first few pages are a bit heavy on narrative and present a bevy of introductory information, any lingering slowness dissipates as soon as Julia and Nicholas begin to dance for the first time. That’s when I knew with certainty that I would love Melanie Dickerson as an author of Regency romance just as dearly as I love her fairy tale series.
In fact, Nicholas and Julia may be my favorite of Melanie Dickerson’s romantic leads – across her series. And considering how much I adore Lord Ranulf & Annabel and Lord Hamlin and Rose… this is saying quite a lot. But, really, how could I not love Nicholas when Julia herself describes him by saying, “His smile was too appealing for anyone’s good.” Yet, impressed though she is by Nicholas’ swoony good looks, Julia is not the type of lady to look only at physical appearance. In talking about someone else, she noted, “If a person was kind, respectable, and sensible, they tended to look the handsomer for it.” That being the case, Nicholas looks the handsomer from page to page. Considering he was already “too appealing for anyone’s good“, you may want to read this book from the safety of your fainting couch. But I did say I loved Julia too, didn’t I? With good reason. Julia is gracious in the face of mistreatment and exhibits great courage and resolve toward her situation. And… she, by way of the narrator, has one of my most favorite lines in the book: “Spying was quite the most terrifying thing she had ever done.” 🙂
(In case you’re wondering, my other most favorite line in A Spy’s Devotion is, “Her whole world was in the depth of his eyes.” OH! So gorgeous! I won’t tell you who this is talking about or when it appears so as not to spoil the various plot points for you but I just couldn’t resist including it.)
Bottom Line: In A Spy’s Devotion, Melanie Dickerson has achieved the perfect blend of history, suspense, and the all important romance! With shades of Sense & Sensibility hovering around the edges, Melanie Dickerson brandishes a Regency quill with excellence. Vivid characters bring the exquisite setting to life and establish attachments with the reader that guarantee an avid following for the series. I highly recommend A Spy’s Devotion for fans of Julianne Donaldson, Sarah E. Ladd, and Donna Hatch.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3.5 / May forget to breathe on occasion & toward the end you may very well need a fan!
About the Author:
Historical romance author Melanie Dickerson earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and has taught special education in Georgia and Tennessee. She has also taught English in Germany and Ukraine.
Dickerson won the 2012 Carol Award in young adult fiction and the 2010 National Readers’ Choice Award for best first book. Her novels The Healer’s Apprentice and The Merchant’s Daughter were both Christy Award finalists.
She lives with her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. For more information, visit www.MelanieDickerson.com.
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