True Spies by Shana Galen

SPIES
True Spies by Shana Galen
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (346 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

He’s Getting Tired of Deception…

Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him…

She Wants to Try a Little Intrigue…

Lady Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive—quite the jealous type—and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew…

For fourteen years Elinor Keating had not been loved. Oh yes, she’d been well provided for, had given birth to two beautiful daughters, had an enviable social status, had servants that respected, admired and felt sorry for her.

Elinor married out of necessity, but loved Winslow (Winn) Keating with all her heart even though she never felt worthy of him. He was so handsome, charming and amusing. She was faithful and accepting of his not showing up for social events and of his rarely being at home. Then one evening after fourteen years of being “stood-up”, she declares, “I deserve better.” She changes from her elegant, matronly attire, puts on a stunning low-cut red gown and attends her friend’s garden party that she had helped organize. The Prince Regent (Prinny) was to attend.

Elinor comes out of her cocoon, different and alluring. Her new life full of danger and excitment make her feel alive, a part of something significant. Her efficiency, her eye for detail, her remarkable organizational skills make her good spy material—not the usual for a Lady of nineteenth-century London.

The reader gets to share a hair-raising, heart-pounding mission with her before she’s even trained. She’s a heroine to admire. Her courage, spur-of-the- moment inventiveness, and her determination in a crisis show a completely different facet of her personality that her husband Winn had never seen. What fun to see her get a little of her own back after striving for so many years to be the perfect wife. Now, she chooses to take her pleasure on her own terms, not his. He is overwhelmed and agog.

Baron Winslow Keating lied to his wife for fourteen years. He’d been expected to marry and the young biddable Elinor suited his needs very well. Love did not enter into the equation as far as he was concerned. Spying was his love. All things had worked out well for him UNTIL…. The night Elinor put her red dress on—the night his all-consuming spy job took him to the same party to protect Prinny—the party he had promised to go to with his wife.

The reader sees a conflicted man whose world is about to spin out of control. He had not given Elinor a thought until he sees her dancing with a young rake that is smiling down at her and holding her too close. For the first time ever, jealousy roars to life in him as he truly sees his wife for the woman she is. She’s beautiful, desirable, and has a gorgeous body.

Winn, though a super spy with the Barbican group, fails monumentally as he tries to regain control of his wife, a woman he’d paid little attention to and had lied to with no sense of guilt. Not even his spy colleagues give him the backing he wants as he strives to cram Elinor back into her cocoon where he thinks she’s safe. But the “Butterfly” has flown. The cocoon no longer fits.

While these two strong characters sweep the reader along at breakneck speed, there are some interesting secondary characters that grab one’s attention. Blue intrigues me. He was more appealing to me than the hero. The other characters help move the plot along giving the reader a vicariously experience with Elinor as she deals with new challenges, learns about herself, and feels never-before-known excitement about new and often terrifying adventures that she loves being a part of.

As the plot unfolds, Winn seems weary of the spy business while Elinor bubbles with joy about being a part of it. Winn’s main interest is in his full-of-surprises wife who passes his test and sends his senses reeling. He is besotted with her and wants to make her happy. But to this reader, he has a long way to go to truly redeem himself after his long years of neglect.

The subtle humor that permeates scary scenes, love scenes, social scenes and more make True Spies a delight to read. Even better is the effort Winn puts forth that makes Elinor know she is irresistible and beautiful to him. She is cherished by him.

I look forward to seeing more of the “Baron” and the “Butterfly” in the next book of the Lord and Lady Spies series. And, of course, “Blue” too. Good reading!

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