Published by Swoon Reads on April 19, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Romance
Source: eARC from Publisher
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.
Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
Swoon Reads has done it again! Love, Lies and Spies is one of my favorite books of 2016. It is a young adult historical romance by Cindy Anstey, and I refuse to believe this is actually Cindy’s debut novel. Young Adult historical is a genre that I don’t read too much of…not because I don’t enjoy it. When it is is well done, I love it. But I am super picky when it comes to the writing and world building in my historical books. And Cindy Anstey has the historical writing IT FACTOR in spades. I felt like I was reading a young adult Oscar Wilde. Love Lies and Spies to me is the modern day Importance of Being Earnest…you know, with spies. If you haven’t read it already, you need to read this book. It is hands, down, one of the best young adult historical romances I have ever read.
I loved the Regency wit and charm. Flirting in their flowery way just seems so much more fun to me. And both Julianna and Spencer were witty and sharp tongued, just the way I like my characters to be. Love Lies and Spies is such a romantic book. I think it would make an excellent movie or play. I just want to see more of my (yes, my) swoonworthy Spencer. Not only is Love Lies and Spies making my top books of 2016 list, but Spencer is making my top book boyfriends of 2016 list as well.
Love Lies and Spies is told in dual narrative between Julianna and Spencer, two characters who were thrown into the dating season against their best efforts. Neither one of them is looking for a marriage, but they each have their own reasons and agendas for being in London. Julianna wants to get her research on the Lady Beetle published and Spencer is a spy for the War Office. I knew this was going to be a romance from the start, but I was very surprised to see just how romantic of a book this was. It made me feel all sappy and warm inside. I think that is part of the magic of a historical fiction book if it is well done. Everything makes it feel more romantic; the flowery over the top language, the setting, the wit and charm of the period- all of it works for me. Cindy Anstey has a fan in me. She impressed me big time with this book. I cannot praise it enough.
Bottom line: If you are a lover of historical fiction, read Love Lies and Spies. If you are new to the genre or a reluctant reader, read Love Lies and Spies. It is that simple. Just read this book. I think it is one of the best books of 2016.
A print copy of Love, Lies and Spies (US /CAN only)
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