In the first book of her series The Regency Spies of London, Melanie Dickerson takes a wounded soldier and turns him into a spy for England. Nicholas Langdon unwittingly speaks of coded documents to the wrong people, and he desires to rectify his error by discovering the identities of the spies. Certain that Mr. Wilhern is one of the culprits, he makes time for the man's infatuated daughter and more than lovely niece, Julia Grey. An impoverished ward living off her relation's goodwill, Julia has two options: marry for money or become a governess. But when Nicholas involves her in spying against her uncle, her heart falls instead for the army-lieutenant-cum-spy. Can they foil the plot that threatens the nation? And in the aftermath, will Julia find safety and love?
I have read and enjoyed a number of Dickerson's fairy tale retellings, but this novel--geared toward adults, yet appropriate for teens--I liked even more. I appreciated the complexity with the variety of subplots and how the author was able to touch on a number of issues of the regency period. Between the country's laws and society's rules, women had a pretty limited existence, and I love how the author incorporated the law forbidding a wife to testify against her husband. Pretty clever!
I really appreciate a sensible heroine. Julia is intelligent and practical, and while she is a bit cautious when it comes to taking risks, with good enough motivation, she is willing to do it. And she does it with intelligence! No willy-nilly, flighty, acting without thinking for her! But she also learns to loosen up and embrace that she can be loved for who she is rather than because she has always followed the rules.
As this presumably is part of a series, I will be interested to see how closely connected the following books will be--I'm really hoping to see more of Nicholas's sister, but I'm wondering if there will be connections to the villains as well. I look forward to the next book!
Thank you Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing an e-copy to review. I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.