Title: Taming A Gentleman Spy
John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve. A spy should never marry, and most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. Then, weak fool that he is, he kissed her.
Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella’s many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, has approved Lord Coombe’s suit. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family, but she doesn’t feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss.
Author: Maggi Andersen
Published by Knox Robinson Press Source: Publisher
Published: 4 December, 2013
Genres: Regency Romance
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It’s no secret that I’ve been on a historical romance bender – and this book hit all the happy places for me: great characters, a touch of intrigue, family, the royals and even a villainous suitor!
A late regency, the story focuses on Sibella: 26 years old and finally feeling the familial pressure to make a choice and marry. As one of several children, she has been the auntie and allowed, within reason, to lead her own life. A long-held crush on a family friend, now returned from the wars has her dreaming of a life with him, and a marriage for love, not duty.
John, Earl of Straithairn has been a family friend for years: he ventured out to war, and while not active military, he is still working for the crown to protect England from the Napoleonic sympathizers who would seek to overthrow the government. Although he is attracted to Sibella, his recent brush with death and loss of his working partner who left a wife and young child behind, has him reluctant to marry.
The connection between the two is electric: Sibella is headstrong and intelligent but rarely foolish, her enjoyment in John’s company is apparent, although she often misconstrues his reluctance as a lack of desire. John is desperately trying to convince her that she must make a more ‘appropriate’ match, although he can’t seem to stay away.
I adored the emotion displayed in this story: while John often appears to be a bit of a cold-fish, his concern for those around him, and willingness to extend himself to set Sib’s brother on the right track, as well as investigate the man she agreed to marry shows his involvement with her and the family, even as he seeks to ignore it. Throughout the story, the build to an explosive conclusion is slowly developing, and not unsurprisingly all the interlocking elements of John’s life seem to converge in one afternoon in London.
With clever insertions of secondary characters and several moment s of intrigue as well as clever integration of history, this story manages to engage and delight as you continue to turn pages, cheering and jeering connections and hoping for that happily ever after.