Review: True Spies by Shana Galen

Format: ARC
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Lord and Lady Spy #2**
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Winslow, an elite spy in Regency England, has managed to keep his identity secret from everyone, including his beloved wife Elinor. But his success with these covert affairs has taken a toll on their marriage, leaving Elinor to entertain the idea of a secret liaison with a rakish spy. She believes that she will finally have the danger and excitement that her marriage has never afforded her?until things get too dangerous, and she ends up being kidnapped. In this Regency romance, no one is who they seem, not even her own husband.

True Spies is the follow-up novel to Shana Galen's Lord and Lady Spy--a sort of Mr. and Mrs. Smith retelling set in the Regency era featuring a married hero and heroine who were both spies. They both try to hide their identies from each other until the agency they both worked for forced them to work together on a mission. Lord and Lady Spy was such a great read that I thoroughly enjoy so I couldn't wait to read the next book in the series, True Spies.

I don't know if you're familiar with the old Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis movie called True Lies but True Spies is a loose retelling of that movie. The hero, Winn, belonged in the same spy agency that Adrian and Sophia (the hero and heroine of Lord and Lady Spy) worked for. No one in his family knew of Winn's spying but his being gone all the time on covert missions have taken a toll on his marriage.

His wife Elinor was tired of being ignored and taken for granted by Winn, and with their daughters all but grown up, she was also bored. Elinor wanted some excitement in her life and was contemplating an affair with a rakish spy. When Winn realized what Elinor was up to he puts a stop to it only reveal his secret identity and pulled her into a dangerous mission he was in the middle of investigating.

True Spies had many things I love in a romance novel, like a rediscovery of romance between a married hero and heroine, secret identities, spying, intrigue and action scenes. This novel was fairly fast-paced and had a number of action scenes, which was great because that kept me flipping the pages. However, I didn't particularly connect with the main characters and they sometimes got in my nerves. Elinor, despite being a novice on her first intrigue, was supposed to be a natural at being a spy but I wasn't convinced. She was too silly and only seemed to play at being a spy. There were several times she was all I'm through with this spying business only to change her mind again. As for Winn, he was supposed to be a seasoned spy but I didn't really buy that in his character. There were instances when Winn and Elinor acted very immaturely, more like teenagers rather than adults in their thirties with two grown children.

But I did like the spark between Winn and Elinor. I really love reading second-chance romances with an already married hero and heroine so it was great seeing them understand each other better and grow to trust, love and forgive and rediscover each other again amidst all the danger and intrigue.

I also liked that Elinor wasn't the typical model-with-a-perfect-body kind of heroine. She has had two children and it was nice to see that her body showed that. In my favorite scene, Elinor was self-conscious of letting Winn see her sagging skin and stretch marks and he assured her that he loved her body more now than when she was younger, saying "Nothing about you is ugly. In particular, the badges you wear from carrying my children are not ugly. I find you beautiful."*** That scene really made me go "awwww." The two major intimate scenes (while heated) were fairly mild.

Adrian and Sophia from Lord and Lady Spy both make an appearance in this novel. They were pulled from their semi-retirement to assist Winn and Blue in their mission and played significant secondary roles in True Spies. It was great getting an update on them and seeing what they've been up to.

While I didn't enjoy True Spies as much as I did Lord and Lady Spy because the hero and heroine got on my nerves a bit, I found it a good overall. Shana Galen really does a great job in mixing romance, intrigued and fast-paced action into this series so they're entertaining to read. If that's the kind of romances you like to read then you should check this series out.

**True Spies can be read as a stand-alone novel.
***Quoted from the advance reader's copy and may be subjected to change in the final edition.

1 comment

  1. I'm not sure what to think about this one. I like stories which involve spies and I do enjoy a romance novel once in a while, although I'm not a huge fan of romance. But this is the kind of story which we've all seen so many times before, be it in books or movies, and so on. Still, I think it would make for a relaxing holiday read.

    Mada Sch @ Confiture de rêves.


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