Redonk Nutshell: Former pickpocket hopes to root out the traitor in the London underworld in order to prove her father’s innocence, unintentionally enlisting the help of the man who put him in jail

Ah, book three in Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series.  The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to read these in chronological order in order to understand what’s happening. I can speak from experience on this one.

Jess Whitby was raised on the streets as The Hand to London’s most notorious crime boss. When her merchant father showed up and reclaimed her, Jess was reshaped into a presentable woman and Lady.  Now an adult, Jess finds herself desperate to prove her father’s innocence against the claim he is the notorious “Cinq,” an English man slipping secrets to the French. The only way Jess can disprove it is to get her hands on information held by people working against her – Captain Sebastian Kennett, British Intelligence, the British army, etc.  She starts out convinced that Kennet, the man who brought the proof of her father’s betrayal to light, is actually Cinq.  She comes up with a plan to steal documents from him, but her plan goes awry when both he and she end up victims to a band of street ruffians.  Sebastian takes Jess under his wing, more or less, while she recovers from her knock on the head.  Thus begins the intricate dance of “are they or arent’ they, ” a game of whether or not these two are friends or enemies.  Jess wants to help her father, but Sebastian is convinced her father is guilty.

We get to see some recurring characters – Doyle, Adrian (yay Adrian!) – who all happen to know Jess in some way or another.  The attraction between Jess and Sebastian is only amplified by their shared acquaintances, as well as the increasing danger each are encountering as they dig deeper into documentation around her father’s supposed treason.

I enjoyed My Lord and Spymaster.  Once again, Bourne writes a romance that happens to also be a mystery and adventure.  The sexual tension between our two characters winds up predictably, but I didn’t really mind since there was so much else going on.  Jess is stubborn in her quest, leading her to make several decisions that put her neck on the line more than once.  If a rescuing hero isn’t your thing, then don’t bother picking up this book.  We start and end with a rescue of our heroine by our hero, both instances a result from her bad decision making.

Regardless, it’s a fun read.  The history is fascinating and Bourne’s storytelling is top notch.

My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne, 324 pgs, 7/08

Rating: C

Romance: 2/5       Raunch: 2/5

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