*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Spymaster’s Redeemer (Dreda’s Men), by Alexie Bolton

#historical #romance

Blurb

Two people on opposite sides of a civil war. Frances Dreda is an officer in the Taylian State Security Bureau who enforces obedience to the law by the deterrent of prison and the noose. He investigates the activities of the outspoken and intellectual Lady Felea Whelani who he suspects aids the rebels by codebreaking and feeding and educating their children.

They should be mortal enemies but are intrigued by each other but he mistrusts women and Felea is repulsed by his detachment and his severity. Can love overcome cultural differences and prejudice? Can Felea humanise this officer?

My Review ~ 4 and a half stars

Entertaining and Compulsive 

Alexie Bolton’s The Spymaster’s Redeemer, the author’s first novel, kept me entertained from beginning to end. It is a sweeping historical romance with complex characters and a well developed plot.

The central story is that of the relationship between the two protagonists – the ‘Spymaster’ of the title Frances Dreda, and Lady Felea, the daughter of an academic suspected of supporting enemies of the Emperor of Taylia, a fictional country near the Austria- Hungary border. There is also much emphasis on the politics and power play between different individuals and factions. The push and pull between the couple also highlight the differing expectations put on men and women. I found the result to be a thoroughly compulsive read as the author skilfully weaves these different threads together.

I enjoyed both the sexual tension and the heated exchanges between Dreda and Felea which begin as soon as their paths cross. Dreda is investigating her father’s potential guilt, a crime punishable by death and as his daughter Felea herself is under suspicion. Dreda takes an uncharacteristic personal interest in the case as something about the young woman intrigues him, taking it on himself to establish the extent of her guilt or innocence. As for Felea, she fears for her own fate and that of her father and wants rid of this odious man who is an unwelcome threat to her sanity and wellbeing! I will not divulge how the plot develops, suffice to say that the story is a complex one and is full of unexpected twists with plenty of action, suspense and romance.

Of particular merit is the good job the author does in developing both Dreda’s and Felea’s characters. I found Dreda to be a fascinating individual who attracts and repels at the same time. As the Emperor’s right hand man, he is cold and calculating, a misogynist who uses women for his own ends and a master manipulator. Felea blindsides him not only with her exuberance and apparent innocence but also with her intelligence. I enjoyed how she gets under his skin and challenges his preconceptions. For her part she is an accomplished individual due to the freedoms given to her by her academic father and loathes the thought of being controlled by a man. Although they are opposites in many respects, they are well matched and I enjoyed how their relationship develops given the obstacles in their way, not least their own pride and preconceptions.

It is an impressive first novel by the author and I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.facebook.com/The-Spymasters-Redeemer-292324974543422/

 

*REVIEW* – Hiding in Plain Sight, by Lucy Felthouse

#romance #espionage #romanticsuspense

Adult content

Book Blurb

Mallory Scott is an espionage operative, working for the British government. She’s travelled all over the world, often going undercover and infiltrating criminal organisations in order to extract the intelligence needed to dismantle their operations and bring the perpetrators to justice. Given her usual targets are terrorists, people-traffickers, drug-traffickers and arms dealers, her latest assignment should be relatively simple. A small group of Brits is raking in serious money in the diamond-scamming business—and although their MO is theft and forgery, rather than hurting people, they still need to be stopped. But up until now, they’ve proved elusive—no one can catch them in the act, or find a shred of evidence against them.

That’s where Mallory comes in. She follows the group to Amsterdam, planning to get her claws in to one of the gang. Luck is on her side, and within twenty-four hours she’s lunching with Baxter Collinson, the youngest—and most handsome—diamond thief. What she’s not expecting, however, is to get on with him quite so well. Attraction bubbles between them—and for once, on Mallory’s part, it isn’t an act. For the first time in her career, Mallory struggles with what she must do.

Can she ignore her heart for the sake of her career?

My Review – 5 stars

Fun and sexy romantic suspense!

A super romantic suspense from Lucy Felthouse. Mallory’s work as an espionage operative is often dangerous and she fully expects her latest assignment, that of gathering evidence to take down a group of diamond thieves, to be a doddle. She has absolutely no qualms about using her feminine wiles to entrap one of the gang’s members, the young and handsome Baxter Collinson. All goes to plan except she makes an immediate connection to Baxter and begins to lose her heart in the process… For the first time she feels guilty about the role she has played in a criminal’s impending arrest and incarceration and she is torn.

I won’t delve any more into the plot but suffice to say I LOVED the unexpected twist. Do the couple have a future? How will Baxter view Mallory’s deceit? Can Mallory continue to maintain her professional detachment towards the very man who has made her question her actions?

I adored Mallory, a strong woman and a consummate professional, dedicated to her work as an undercover agent – she reminded me of a female James Bond as she enjoys her job and has a healthy attitude when it comes to sex! As for Baxter, he is both SO sexy and cheeky and has a fantastic sense of humour – it is no wonder Mallory falls for him. I really felt for him when he realises that Mallory deliberately orchestrated their relationship.

The characters are realistic and I easily identified with their emotions – I particularly loved the banter and the scenes between the main couple. It’s also got plenty of smexy and sizzling scenes which the author excels at.

Recommended for readers of romantic suspense who enjoy a read which contains some sexy and explicit scenes.

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/lucyfelthousewriter/