Society’s most capable housekeeper, Eleanora Quinton, has a problem. Not only does a dead body fall right into the middle of her mistress’s ball and her son get kidnapped by nefarious spies for Napoleon, but the only person who can help her also forces her to face her most secret fears. A spy himself, Nathan Black pulls the infallible housekeeper into a cyclone of espionage, intrigue and danger. But the last thing Eleanora expects when the dead body hits the floor is love with the son of a duke.
This book starts off with a roar of action and keeps going until the last page. Jammed full of espionage, murder, and some sexy people doing historical like things. In other words, its a bit outside the norm traditional or mass market Regencies.
I think modern readers on the creep for something different will enjoy this historical romance steeped in the world of spies. I found the writing had that snappy cadence of modern parlance, so that it didn’t feel so much like a Regency as a romance set in Regency era. Some of that is the eyebrow raising anachronisms (a housekeeper on peerage’s radar. Um…) and some of it was the sheer sexiness of the hero. Not that Regency heroes aren’t sexy, they just aren’t 21st century sexy.
The heroine is a smart, keen observing housekeeper who has some claims to a more upstairs history, but has been forced by circumstance to be more hard scrabble. If you believe the hero, she is also mind numbingly gorgeous. The hero is the bastard son of a Duke (thus the title), and is also tough, fit, and smoking hot. Overall, both characters are interesting and have some strong backstory game, so Clever nails that part.
The bulk of the book is unraveling the mysteries and intrigue of inner spy lurkings, so if that is your thing you will be pretty well entertained. It reads fast, and if the era if little more than window dressing, at least its something different.
Clever uses the current pattern of mass market to spend some subplot time with future H/h’s of the series. If you have similar sensibilities, you will find it a bit irksome (or obvious).
I think this is one of those love or hate books. If you are a genre devotee, you will probably be more annoyed at the misses than hits. However, if you are modern reader in search of something different, give Clever a shot.
3 out of 6 Fast paced historical romance with sexy spies
*A review copy was provided by the author. No other compensation was provided.