Review: The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne

The Spymaster's Lady (Spymasters, #1)

The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

NOTE:  This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!

The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne is the first book in the Spymasters series. This story takes place during the Napoleonic Era in France and England and follows two notorious enemy spies, the Fox Cub and Robert Grey, as they dance around each other in a game of spy vs. spy.


I started out really enjoying this book. The setting was intriguing and Annique (Fox Cub) seemed suitably formidable. There were also several twists that took me by surprise in a great way. Unfortunately, the trend didn’t hold and before long I was just reading to finish the story. There were really two things that spoiled this one for me:

1) Bourne’s tendancy to leave the reader in the dark about information even though EVERY character in the scene (including the current POV) knows what’s going on: There were actually entire chapters where the characters of a scene were abstractly discussing matters while I had no idea what was actually going on. I felt like a little kid banging on the table to get the attention of adults who think I’m too young to be a part of the conversation…

2) Annique’s increasing ineptitude over the course of the story: The further the story progressed, the more trouble I had understanding Annique’s reasoning and actions. She was so awesome in the beginning! By the end she was self-sacrificing to the point of stupidity and she kept trying to throw herself in the line of fire with no thought beyond “ESCAPE.” She went from being an unbeatable spy with 20+ years of experience to being an awkward and naive young woman with absolutely no survival instinct.

Pros that earned the two alotted stars: I like some spy vs. spy, and the beginning of this novel had that before Annique forgot to behave like a spy. Most of the side characters were great, most notably Adrian and Doyle! They do have there own stories, so perhaps I would enjoy those more. The Napoleonic setting was really interesting and I LOVED all the descriptions of French cuisine. I would happily eat French style breakfasts for the rest of my life…

Overall, this wasn’t my thing. I guess I’m still on the hunt for more Historical Romances that suit me. One day I may pick up The Black Hawk (Adrian’s story) to see if it’s more to my taste.

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars, including a steam rating.


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