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Beauty and the Spymaster

Beauty and the Spymaster - Moriah Densley The hero is Julian Grey, a spy turned vicar. He sees a damsel in distress and quickly jumps in to save her from the man attacking her. The heroine, Helena Duncombe, is literally running for her life when she is rescued by Vicar Grey. She's grateful beyond words when Julian and his gun packing mother come to her assistance. While recovering and plotting her next move Helena learns that Julian is much more than meets the eye. She learns that he is a vicar with carrier pigeons and surmises he is some type of spy. A spy that needs to gain entry to a party that she has formerly been invited to attend. One good turn deserves another, and she agrees to help him gain entrance to the party. This is where I thought the story would pick up and become more interesting.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen. I couldn't quite follow the plot. There was never a moment that was the turning point where Helena pledged to help Julian, and they joined forces to rout out evil. They agreed to go to a party together to gather information. There were several bits of information gained but this part of the plot never took off. All of a sudden the author switches to focusing on Helena's rescue. So this really wasn't a truly suspenseful book. The reader just had to wait for the hero to show up and the HEA to unfold. There was an added twist to the story that also fizzled. The twist involved Helena unexpectedly meeting up with her daughter that was forced to flee to protect herself from her father. Again, it just never amounted to anything and really drew the story out without any purpose.

I never really warmed up to either of the characters. Julian was never warm and fuzzy. Even after he rescued Helena again I just didn't see him as a hero. Helena was a married woman that carried out affairs with other men in full view of her abusive husband. On one hand the author portrays Helena as a woman that turns to life as a courtesan to meet her needs. On the other hand the author portrays Helena as a woman that is afraid to raise her hand to defend herself against her husband even though he issued out brutal beatings. The descriptions of the beatings were very vivid and involved broken bones and bruises. I really couldn’t reconcile these two starkly different views of a woman that would bravely flaunt lovers in her husband’s face while being afraid to protect herself from violent beatings. It just didn’t ring true to me. If she was brave enough to take lovers wouldn’t she be brave enough to defend herself at least once? Or wouldn’t the lovers notice the broken bones and bruising?

There was no continuity and even after finishing the book I was left wondering what I just read. It wasn’t really a romance or romantic suspense, or even inspirational. The storyline was just okay for me. It was a quick, light, totally forgettable read.

Reviewed by Michelle for Cocktails and Books