Review: Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey10:00
Author: Cindy Anstey
Published April 19th 2016 by Swoon Reads
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.
You'll probably know this about me already, but I'm just about to finish my history and ancient history degree. Anything to do with history, and I'm bound to want it. The regency era is one of my favourite eras of history to read about, especially when it is reminiscent of Jane Austen, who is my hero. This book had been on my radar for a while, and when I got a discount voucher for BD on my birthday, I decided to treat myself with a preorder.
Love, Lies and Spies takes place in 1813, right as the Napoleonic Wars are raging. England is fraught with worry about French spies infiltrating Society, and Spencer is charged with discovering a smuggling ring, with ties to the French. As he's closing in on the target, he meets Juliana Telford, seemingly dangling off the side of a cliff. After rescuing her, he seems to fall into her company at every turn, and they decide to join forces to help his friend, Lord Bobbington, woo the lofty Vivian Pyebald.
As Juliana, Vivian, and cousin Carrie journey to London for their presentation at Court, and entrance into their first Season, Juliana and Spencer spend a lot of time together. Juliana knows she has no intention of husband-hunting, she just wants the experience of a London Season before she returns home to care for her father. Spencer feels similarly, he has no intention of finding a bride, yet, as his War Office work takes precedence. However, no one seems to have told their hearts that, as they both fall for each other gradually, and all at once, at the same time.
All of the characters were so entertaining to read. Juliana and Spencer's PoVs were perfect, and I adored how we got to see how they both felt, as they realised it themselves. Even the secondary characters were interesting. My favourites were Lord Bobbington and Carrie, both endearing people in their own rights, but the way they cared for their friends and family made them stronger personas. The entire Pyebald family were awful, and if you've ever read/seen Pride and Prejudice, you'll definitely see links between Mr Pyebald and the wicked Mr Wickham.
If I had to compare this book and these characters to an Austen novel, I'd pick Emma. The friendship between Juliana and Spencer was reminiscent of Emma's and Mr Knightley, as was Emma's family situation. Spencer did have a touch of Mr Darcy in him, though, as was wasn't as forthcoming and outgoing to begin with. To me, nothing can please me more than a book set in this era, that reminds me of the brilliance that is Jane. Anstey's writing style was, to me, an updated version of Austen, and considering this is her debut novel, I'm dying to read more from her.