I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Lady's Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn
Series: Nexus #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 1 October 2013
Ethan deBeau, Lord Danforth is a spy for a secret organisation called “Nexus” which was created to protect Britain from Napoleon. Ethan’s contributions tend less to the battlefields and more to seducing women connected with powerful men. A relatively simple operation of finding a boy in an orphanage becomes complex when Ethan butts heads with Sydney Hunt, full-time owner of a domestic services agency and part-time spy. Neither are aware of the secret roles the other person plays which leads to a variety of humorous and dangerous situations.
Ethan is the Don Juan of his era and can’t understand why Sydney is able to resist his charms. Work isn’t that great as his boss decides to appoint his friend over him as the next head of Nexus and he doesn’t really enjoy dressing up as a flower girl to spy on the orphanage. He seemed the most genuine when he was interacting with the boys at the orphanage or sniping at his sister.
Sydney is a fairly modern woman. She invites her servants to call her by her first name, insists on proper wage and conditions for the servants she places and even forges recommendations for those who have been unfairly dismissed. I didn’t really buy why this woman would personally go to the lengths she did to help Nexus agents when she could have easily turned the information over to Nexus and let them deal with it. I also wasn’t overly impressed that she expected the servants she got jobs to spy on their masters. It smacked of hypocrisy even though she used this information to protect them. Putting that to one side though, I did enjoy her air-head routine and the way she battled wits with Ethan.
The plot is fairly linear as Ethan and Sydney try to work out what is going on at the orphanage and fall for each other. I would have liked them to take action sooner to protect the boys but obviously they couldn’t intervene without knowing what they were up against. I had no problems with the moral bankruptcy of the villain but I would have liked a little more of their back story. The climax and denouement are handled fairly well.
This is the third in the series and if you haven’t read earlier ones, you will find the constant references to past events relationships a bit disorientating. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the gentle humour that permeates these pages.