|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on February 16, 2016 at 12:50 AM|
"In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and deception thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.
At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?"
Short Summary: Melanie Dickerson was already a favorite author of mine, but this really takes the cake. Her fairy tale romance series was beautifully woven and very enjoyable as well, but this new series she's beginning, Regency Spies of London, is definitely a path she's going to thrive on. This is my favorite book of hers yet, and with good cause.
Full Review: Melanie Dickerson has done it again, and I daresay this is her finest work yet.
This book is what I suspect Jane Austin would be like if she wrote in a style easier to understand in our deteriorated language of today, geared towards younger people rather than adults. It is much easier to read than Pride and Prejudice, yet it has all the style, culture, grace, and intrigue of the very-classy classics.
We are told the story from two different perspectives, those of Julia Grey, and Nicholas Langdon. Julia is an orphan who was taken in by her Aunt, Uncle, and cousin Phoebe. She dearly loves her cousin and wants the very best for her. So when Phoebe decides she is in love with Mr. Langdon, Julia helps direct Langdon's heart towards Phoebe. However, when Julia becomes involved in a plot her uncle has to help their French enemies after Mr. Langdon requested her help, her feelings are also dragged into the mess. She becomes more and more attached to Mr. Langdon, even as she hopes for her cousin's happiness.
Nicholas has returned from the war to heal from his injuries. His friend entrusted him with a diary before he died and instructed Nicholas to take it to the War Office. Unfortunately, the diary is lost to people who hope to use it for personal gain. Nicholas turns to Julia Grey to help him gain information before everything is lost. However, when her world crashes in as a result of her cousin Phoebe's affections towards Nicholas and her uncle's deception and treason, Nicholas starts to realize just how much she means to him.
Love triangles usually make for a good story, but tend to be overused, or used ineffectively. Not so in this book. Take love triangles ruled by society and what is considered proper, use people who come from many different stations of life with many conflicting goals in life, triple the stakes, and then you have a killer love triangle. In this case, there may even be multiple triangles all crashing together. Romance can't stand alone, it has to be driven, and boy is this romance driven! It's refreshingly realistic and yet incredibly sweet and satisfying.
Dickerson took a world so different to us and made it so real. She took a society and a culture so perfection-driven, so filled with rules on how to behave, a world where people aren't allowed to do one thing wrong or improper, and showed us it's underbelly, it's faults. Nobody and no society has ever been perfect. These are humans. They made mistakes. They did things for self-gain. They fell in love with the wrong people. They broke the rules, they did improper things. And it's beautiful, because it rings so true, because it's so real, and because even then the good shows through. The honorable people, fighting for what is noble and right, shine all the more for it.
I loved the plot, I loved the characters, I loved the suspense, I loved the plot twists, I loved everything about it. Dickerson's books are all obviously a labor of love. Rather than losing fire, she just gets better and better the more she writes. I look forward to more great things from her in the future.
If you're looking for a good, clean story from an author you can trust, this book or any of Melanie Dickerson's other books would be perfect for you!
Overall Rating: 5
I recieved this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Categories: Book Reviews