A delightful Spy Regency with two "nice" characters....
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
here is the story of Francis Burnham, Lord Finchwood (who hates the name Francis and prefers to be called Finch-a nice touch) a war hero, forced to retire due to a crippling war injury, returned to London, and unhappily settled into a life of dissipation-gambling and collecting several ladybirds, because he himself realizes he is unfulfilled upon coming home with nothing to do. He is offered an undercover spy job, which he jumps at the chance to do, but it has one big hitch-the job is back in the quiet countryside where he grew up, and is not accepted by his father-who disapproved of his choice of military career. Upon returning home, he is reacquainted with the vicars daughter, Charlotte Gregory-a confirmed spinster of 24-and who had a secret crush on the Viscount when she was a teen. To do his spy work, he must have a correspondent secretary to write letters for him to the home office (his writing hand was crippled). Charlotte, who touchingly realizes this may be her one chance for adventure in an otherwise staid lifetime, agrees to do his correspondence, and later on, to become a spy with him. So begins the well written love story of these two characters. The spy aspect of the story was well written, realistic in the fact that both the hero and heroine knew their limits and the hero especially, knew when to be sensible and retreat, or stay hidden-truly behaving in an undercover manner. That was a refreshing change from so many "spy" romances out now where it's all fisticuffs and impossible to get out of situations. The romance part of the story was lovely as it showed the foibles, humanity, and insecurities of both characters, and how their growing relationship with each other brought out the best in the other. I loved that while some would consider Finch a Rake at first, he was an "honorable" one in that he would never cheat at gambling, and his ladybirds were of the variety who were actresses and dancers who knowingly collected "protectors"-and he was always fair and honest with them as well. A lovely part of the story was Finch's personal realization, after falling in love with Charlotte, that his flings with his former paramours were a pale comparison to the overwhelming feelings he had for Charlotte. Charlotte is a great heroine-smart, loving, dedicated to her family, her students (she's a schoolmistress), and her community, and realistically accepts Finch for who he is AND, more importantly what he was in the past. I loved that she didn't judge him for past indiscretions! A realistic and mature heroine:) Except for a little bit rushed ending, this, in my opinion, would have been a five star Regency. I still highly recommend it for those Regency readers looking for something a bit different than your typical "London society" Regency. 4 stars!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 17 years ago
With a little more substance in terms of plot than many other Regencies, this book was a quick and enjoyable read. Finch is a likeable hero who comes to see his long-time acquaintance and new correspondence secretary Charlotte for the worthy, honest, and honorable young lady that she is. There wasn't much suspense in Charlotte's "development" of her feelings (because she has harbored a tendre for him since her youth). Nevertheless, the smuggling/spy plot which dominates the story keeps one well entertained. Do not be fooled by the back of the cover, which says incorrectly that they meet on a London street (and thus impliedly sets the story in London); the majority of the book is set in the small town where the two protagonists grew up. From the back of the book: "A Spirited Schoolmistress" Vicar's daughter Charlotte Gregory spent much of her girlhood infatuated with the dashing Francis BUrnham, Viscount Finchwood. As he was far beyond her touch, Charlotte accepted a suitor of more modest means, but when her faithless fiance cries off, she takes a position as headmistress of a girls' school. Life is satisfying, if a trifle dull...until the day Charlotte meets Finch on a London street, and receives a most unconventional proposal. "A Daring Rogue" Since his military career was halted by an injury, Finch has found little to amuse himself. Morose and slipping into a life of dissipation, he is even tiring of his string of all-too-willing women, when Whitehall asks him to infiltrate a ring of French spies operating among the haut ton. Charlotte is just the person to help him, if he can convince her that for once his motives are worthy. However, convincing himself that his interest in the charming young lady is purely professional will be a far greater challenge...
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