by Ruth Axtell
published by Revell
Lady Celine Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need--or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess's butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London's West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham's spell. Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, will he do the right thing?
It's like Downton Abbey, Jane Austen, and a spy movie all mashed up into one book. Do I really need to say more?
The book was filled with adventure and intrigue right off. A butler who doesn't buttle (well, doesn't buttle well...), strife within the ranks of the servants, a romance gone awry, people hiding in cupboards and corners... You get drawn in from the first page (the non-butler sneaking around in Lady Wexham's underwear drawer?) to the very last sentence (Shh! No spoilers!).
Did I like it? Yes! I have always been a little bit of a fan when it comes to Ruth Axtell, I've read most of her books...but when I saw that this regency novel was coming out...I was super excited! The cover was gorgeous (always a plus!), and the story...well, I can say I'm a sucker for a little regency intrigue.
I do think the characters could have used a little bit more fleshing out in the beginning, but the farther you read in the book, the deeper that characters become. I think the my favorite part of the book was the depth that Ruth Axtell put into the settings, she brought regency England to life. There is a fairytale like grace to the whole thing.
Would I read it again? Yes!
**Available March 2013 from Revell, a division of Baker Publishers**
*This book was provided for me free for honest review by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group