Racing with the Wind and Against the Wind, by Regan Walker, Agents of the Crown Trilogy, # 1and # 2

 Passionate and Intriguing Regency Romances

In Regan Walker’s Agents of the Crown series we  experience the ballrooms and great houses of Regency England and the danger and excitement of a post Napoleonic Paris, during the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. We also bear witness to the introduction of repressive laws in England, as the government believe that  revolution will spread amongst a populace who are unhappy with poor harvests and the loss of their livelihood.  Against this backdrop Regan Walker brings us tales of passion , danger and intrigue, involving agents working for the Prince Regent and the women who fall for them. I was lucky enough to be given the first two books in the trilogy, by the author, for an honest and fair review.

RacingWithTheWind_800px-001Racing with the Wind, (Agents of the Crown Trilogy # 1), by Regan Walker (scroll down for the review of Against the Wind)

The Hellion and the Spy

Racing with the Wind is the first book in Regan Walker’s Agents of the Crown Trilogy. It is a passionate romance between an unconventional debutante, Mary Campbell and the dashing Hugh Redgrave, the Marquess of Ormand. It is set in 1816, in the turbulent aftermath of the defeat and imprisonment of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy.

Hugh is an agent for the British crown and as the legendary spy, the Nighthawk, obtained intelligence, securing Napoleon’s defeat. He is in retreat from this role and is working closely with Lord Baynes, a top diplomat, and fellow agents to ensure that peace and prosperity are restored to France under King Louis. As heir to a dukedom, Hugh is under pressure to marry, a pressure he has no wish to succumb to, preferring freedom and adventure.

On to this stage steps Mary Campbell, a young debutante. Mary shuns convention being regarded as a hellion. She is educated, schooled in European affairs and politics and an excellent horsewoman. She has been indulged by her uncle, Lord Baynes and her mother, widowed since the untimely death of the Earl. She craves adventure more that the ballroom and wishes to avoid marriage, which she feels will curtail her freedom and prevent her from riding her stallion Midnight, clad in men’s breeches.

Once Mary and Hugh meet, there is an undeniable attraction. However, Hugh resolves to keep his distance, being wary of her wilful nature and favouring discrete affairs with older, more experienced women. Similarly Mary decides to avoid Hugh, viewing him as an arrogant rake. Yet circumstances throw them together in London and later Paris, as Mary persuades her uncle, Lord Baynes, that she will be a useful pair of eyes and ears for him whilst he carries out his diplomatic work. Mary has no idea that Hugh and the Nighthawk, whom she admires, are one and the same and she is unaware of Hugh’s activities as a spy for the Prince Regent.

Once in France, the tension in the plot increases dramatically and passion ignites. A double agent is on the loose and Mary endangers herself as she uncovers suspicious activities. Hugh is sworn to protect her and the exciting and suspenseful plot, in which Mary could pay the ultimate price, involves Bonapartists, royalists, English agents and the Prussians.

Hugh is a great hero, handsome and honourable, willing to go to great lengths to protect Mary, even from his own desire, which he reigns in on numerous occasions. He finds it hard to admit his love, being scarred by an event in his past, which has lead him to take great risks as an agent for the crown. He is extremely jealous of Mary’s admirers and I found his reactions amusing and endearing. Despite his initial resolve he is drawn to Mary, admiring her beauty, intelligence and bravery. He soon realises that she is his perfect match.

Mary cannot prevent her attraction to Hugh, even though initially she regards him as a dissolute rake. She soon realises that there is more to him than meets the eye and falls under his spell. However, she does not want to be just a pleasant liaison and she will be no man’s mistress. The romance is sweet. When lovemaking scenes do occur, it is Hugh’s sense of honour that prevails. However, Hugh fires Mary’s blood and when presented with the opportunity to get to know Hugh more intimately, Mary eventually decides to seize it, in some memorable scenes!

This book is different to many Regency romances I have read, the foray onto France adding a definite frisson of danger, romance and excitement. The author has clearly done a lot of research into the politics, fashions and places where she sets her scenes. I enjoyed the secondary characters, which included some historical figures. We are also introduced to Martin Powell, Hugh’s fellow agent, the lead in book 2 in the series, Against the Wind.

I recommend this book to all lovers of historical romance, particularly those who like an unconventional heroine and a strong and honourable hero, whose passion ignites in a tale full of intrigue an adventure.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

This book was given to me by the author for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

Regan Walker’s website

Publisher Boroughs Publishing Group

Digital edition created by Maureen Cutajar www.gopublished.com

ReganWalker_AgainstTheWind_logo-001Against the Wind (Agents of the Crown Trilogy # 2), by Regan Walker

Lusty and Loving Intrigue 

Against the Wind, the second book in Regan Walker’s Agents of the Crown Trilogy, is a passionate love story, in the best tradition of Regency romances! Set in 1817, Martin Powell returns to England after years spying in France, to complete one last mission. On his return, he visits a high class brothel, where he falls under the spell of a courtesan, whom he calls ‘Kitten’. After a passionate night of lovemaking, he finds that Kit has vanished. Kit is no courtesan, but Lady Egerton, who is fleeing a crime scene where she believes that she has killed her evil brother-in-law. Martin resolves to find her and make her his.

Kit sought refuge at Willow House, an establishment ran by her former governess, after experiencing some terrible events. Her beloved sister Anne was not even in the grave before her brother-in-law forced himself on her and she was compelled to retaliate. Ashamed at what took place at Willow House, between her and the mysterious gentleman, she flees, taking employment launching two girls on their first season. However, Martin finds Kit, rescuing her from the violent Earl Rutledge, who is seeking revenge. Attracted to Kit and wishing to protect her Martin offers marriage, although he fears that his clandestine activities could endanger her.

The England that Martin has returned to has changed. The  introduction of machinery threatens workers’ livelihoods and poor harvests and an economic recession have led to  discontent, riots and marches.  The couple travel to the Midlands, where Martin goes undercover, posing as a Frenchman with reformist tendencies. His task is to infiltrate the rebels to ascertain the extent their activities are stirred up by agents provocateurs, employed by those in government who wish to justify further repressive legislation. However, as Kit innocently strolls through the countryside with her sketch book, is she safe from the lust of a vengeful man or the powder keg of social unrest which could explode any moment?  Also can she trust her  husband who will not divulge his secrets and the reason for his absences?

I adored Martin, who has been knighted for his services to the crown. He is brave, intelligent and resourceful and devoted to Kit. I also liked the fact that he is a very passionate individual, who cannot keep his hands off his new wife. He is however, tortured by tragic events in his past,  prompting him to keep the truth about his true activities a secret from Kit , creating danger and tension in the plot and their relationship.

Kit is the type of heroine I love to root for. She has experienced much sadness and on the death of her father, she and her sister were both left destitute due to his gambling debts.  Kit was married off to a much older man, who died soon after their marriage, leaving her no option but to live with her sister and her husband, the sadistic Earl Rutledge, who  lusts after her. She is tired of being controlled by others, as she is a strong and independent individual by nature, who also empathises with the plight of others. However, she cannot resist losing her heart to Martin! Indeed, I loved the tender yet passionate lovemaking between the couple. The scene where they come together for the first time is very sensual and the author maintains this level of intensity in their relationship, with numerous romantic encounters. The love story is artfully balanced with the danger and intrigue in the plot.

The detail within the narrative shows that once again Regan Walker has carried out a great deal of research in crafting this novel. The author’s descriptions of the living and working conditions of the inhabitants of rural Derbyshire, where much of the plot takes place, are credible, and her characters well drawn. I enjoyed meeting the real historical figures who were included in the tale and also reacquainting myself with Hugh and Mary, the couple from the first book Racing with the Wind. We are also introduced to Nick, Martin’s older brother, the hero of Wind Raven, the final book in the trilogy, whose book I am eagerly awaiting.

In reading this novel, I feel that I not only enjoyed a great romantic read but also learned much about the social and economic conditions and the political machinations of the time. I recommend it to those who enjoy historical romance with  elements of intrigue and suspense.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

This book was given to me by the author for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

Regan Walker’s website

Publisher Boroughs Publishing Group

Digital edition created by Maureen Cutajar www.gopublished.com

9 thoughts on “Racing with the Wind and Against the Wind, by Regan Walker, Agents of the Crown Trilogy, # 1and # 2

  1. I love Regency novels but they do tend to be very similar. These sound great and I love the idea of a bit of danger and suspense thrown in! I love the covers too!

    • reganwalker says:

      Thanks for commenting, Samantha. I do try to include real history and real historical figures in my stories so you actually get a feel for what was going on at the time, so I hope they are different! And they are not all set entirely in London.

      • I liked the fact that they were set outside London and also that both novels covered the many changes that were going on in society and the political and social ramifications. Like Samantha, I loved the cover art too!

    • I enjoyed these as they are a great departure from the usual Regency fare. Spies on secret missions for the Prince Regent introduced a great element of suspense. Both novels also gave me a sense of time and place and as well as being entertained by the central romances I felt that I had added to my knowledge of the time. 🙂

      • reganwalker says:

        That is so good to know, Tina. The “usual Regency fare” has never appealed to me so I’m happy to offer the reader an option. The third story, Wind Raven, will begin in London but then move to Bermuda (which in many ways was like being in England in those days) and then to the Caribbean aboard a schooner of the period.

  2. I am looking forward to this too Regan, especially after you introduced the hero of Wind Raven in Against the Wind. I have a feeling his will be an interesting story and I am curious about who will manage to tame him!

  3. Reblogged this on areadersreviewblog and commented:

    Be sure to check out our reviews of Regan Walker’s passionate and intriguing Regency Romances in the first two instalments of the author’s Agents Of the Crown Trilogy, involving spies working for the Crown and the women that they fall for in some romantic tales. I can’t believe that it was almost a year ago when I read and reviewed these books! My current read is Wind Raven, book #3 in the Trilogy, review to come in the next few days. Tina 🙂

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