Is it any coincidence that the last name of my new favorite author is the same as the name of the hero in Robert Ludlum’s action-packed spy series starting with The Bourne Identity? I think not. A friend and critique partner introduced me to Joanna Bourne http://www.joannabourne.com/ via The Spymaster’s Lady, and I am in her debt for it.
There are books with twisty, edge-of-your seat, continually-surprising plots. There are books with fascinating characters who keep surprising you. There are books with such remarkable dialog you can see exactly what’s happening just by reading what the character’s say. There are books with such detailed historical setting, you walk around talking like a character from Dickens like a bloody idiot for days after reading them. There are NOT many books that do it all. The Spymaster’s Lady is one.
I found a single thing wrong with it. The cover makes me roll my eyes. But I am a generous reviewer. I do not deduct stars for cover art. Usually.
The thing I loved the most was the heroine. Annique. Her Frenchness permeated every aspect of her from her mannerisms to her brusque acceptance of any situation to her speech, everything. She was sympathetic, capable, intelligent, practical, and vulnerable in ways that broke my heart. I will remember her for a long time.
Enjoy these few lines from The Spymaster’s Lady and go buy a copy. Now. It’s good. 5 stars from me.
“I do not know why I am helping you. It is an example of disinterested benevolence, this.”–p. 23 (Berkley Sensation, NY , 2008)
“I have had little to do with the English before this. I see now that was wise, though there are doubtless many sorts of Englishmen who are more reasonable than you. Perhaps I will reserve judgment.”–p. 26
“When one says, ‘I will not let myself feel anything for that man,’ it is already too late.”–p. 154
“He annihilates any common sense I have, which is disturbing to me as a French woman, for we are a logical race.”–155