Book Reviews of The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1)

The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1)
The Spymaster's Lady - Spymaster, Bk 1
Author: Joanna Bourne
PBS Market Price: $8.09 or $4.19+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780425219607
ISBN-10: 0425219607
Publication Date: 1/2/2008
Pages: 384
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 156

4 stars, based on 156 ratings
Publisher: Berkley
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

25 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 90 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I'm still up in the air about this book, although I admit it's certainly not run-of-the-mill for this genre!

Positives include an amazing plot line that has enough twists and turns to leave you delightfully dizzy.

Not-so-positives (there are no true negatives to this worthy first attempt): the heroines short, clipped sentences of dialogue became tiresome rather quickly. The style served it's purpose a bit too well. I was hearing Annique's French accent in my mind to absolute *distraction*!

The secondary characters overshadowed the primary. I would love to hear the story of Doyle and Maggie ... and Adrian goes without saying.

Grey remains an enigma, and yet, it was marvelously refreshing to have a solid male lead that we didn't have dissected before our eyes. Grey was neither haunted nor jaded nor a handsome rake. He just was. Solid, steadfast, and as such, more appealing to me than any previous hero graced with dark, brooding, angst-filled handsomeness.

And yet, there's no real spark. Something is missing but I can't lay my finger on what it is. Perhaps the author just needs a bit more experience and polish? Ah well, in the end it was a VERY interesting story and I do look forward to her next attempt!
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I absolutely LOVED this book. The hero and heroine are lovely characters as are the supporting cast. There are a few surprises in this book that just add to the story. I love that the heroine is such an accomplished and respected spy - and I love that the hero is impressed by that part of her character. This author MUST write a sequel but I need to find out more about one of the secondary characters Adrian. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!! A keeper for me.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
What a wonderfully complicated plot. Loved the twists and turns.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Whoever decided to put this awful cover on this excellent book should be ashamed. The book is so much better than the cover could ever lead you to believe. The author deserved so much better and I look forward to reading more by her.

I was interested in reading this after I read a review of it over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books in which the reviewer couldn't stop raving about it. She was so right. The plot is full of surprises to the point that I am reluctant to give even a brief summary. The author has a way of writing so that it is always clear when the characters are not speaking English (which they are not for most of the book), even though that is the language we're reading. As a stylistic device this could have been incredibly annoying and yet I thought it worked very well.

The heroine was interesting, smart, and funny. I cared what happened to her as opposed to her just being a place marker to move the plot forward to the Happily Ever After. The hero was heroic, and yet he made mistakes. I am extremely curious about the back story of several of the supporting characters and I hope we'll hear more from them. Even if we don't, I am really looking forward to Bourne's next book.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 331 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year. Tightly woven plot with twists and turns and the characters leap out at you. This definitely is not your average romance nor is it a mystery/spy story. You must read it to find out all of its secrets!!!
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Interesting book. I loved the plot twists, but the heroine's French accent got on my nerves. Big time.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 765 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book starts with Annique Villiers, French spy caught in a French prison by treasonous French authorities with Robert Grey a British spymaster and quickly goes on from there! Great book!
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 2
I really liked this book. It is not the formulaic romance story. It had a great twist that I didn't see coming though I thought the h took the news a little easily. I think there would have been a more lasting fall out from such a blow.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Probably one of the best historical romances I have read in the last year. The characters are amazing, the romance is interesting if not the central point of the entire world, the heroine is flawed and talented and weak and strong and awesome, and the plot is just out of this world. I devoured this book in less than one night. It was amazing.

I know some people found the french "accent" annoying, but I though her dialog was masterfully executed. Her conversations said so much more than just the words, and she clued you in and then didn't insult you with constant references back to verbal clues.

I can't rave enough about this book. Truly awesome.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 1756 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The book wasn't as good as I had expected after all the glowing reviews, but it was still a decent read.

The author does have a good writing style, albeit a little tedious, that was nice to read because it wasn't full of redundancy and retarded grammar. But, even though the grammar is good, the emotions conveyed felt rather dry. The majority of the story has short, clipped sentences which felt like little annoying roadblocks to the reading.

There were a couple of plot holes that left me shaking my head at the actions of Annique. I had to wonder why she would tell a complete stranger that men were trying to kill her and where she was heading if she were supposed to be a well-trained spy. If she was supposed to be so intelligent, I really felt she would have seen through any subterfuge a bit earlier. Of course, if she didn't, the story wouldn't have lasted as long, so I suppose all the mistakes made in the name of plot can be forgiven.

Overall, it was not a bad story. I'm not really sure if I'll look for more by this author right away, but I wouldn't be adverse to reading her again.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Romance and historical fiction are not my usual reading preferences. As a matter of fact i can count on one hand the number of books i've read in 50 years that meet either of those criteria. But this was fun, rather compelling, and quite well written. My husband is reading it now and disagrees. Oh, well :-)
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 364 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Loved it! The plot just hurtled along, with several surprises I never saw coming. I was up half the night because I couldn't put it down. This book is extremely well written, with wonderful characters that stick in your mind. I can't wait to read everything else Joanna Bourne writes.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the first book I've read by this author and I must admit "the jury is still out". I thought the storyline was great but underdeveloped. The dialogue was hard to follow so it was difficult to stay focused on the story. The potential for a great story is there but it left me wanting more.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
It took me several chapters to really get into the story. I almost put it down and changed books during the first few chapters but it did not take long for the story to grab my attention. Many twist and turns in the plot kept me reading until 3 am becuase I just had to read one more chapter to find out what would happen. The next thing I knew it was morning and I had read the entire book.

Great characters! I can't wait to read the next one.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 146 more book reviews
Spies, romance and France what's not to like. Annique Villiers is a wonderful main character, although I don't think they really would have let woman do stuff like that in the 1800's. I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 1756 more book reviews
The book wasn't as good as I had expected after all the glowing reviews, but it was still a decent read.

The author does have a good writing style, albeit a little tedious, that was nice to read because it wasn't full of redundancy and retarded grammar. But, even though the grammar is good, the emotions conveyed felt rather dry. The majority of the story has short, clipped sentences which felt like little annoying roadblocks to the reading.

There were a couple of plot holes that left me shaking my head at the actions of Annique. I had to wonder why she would tell a complete stranger that men were trying to kill her and where she was heading if she were supposed to be a well-trained spy. If she was supposed to be so intelligent, I really felt she would have seen through any subterfuge a bit earlier. Of course, if she didn't, the story wouldn't have lasted as long, so I suppose all the mistakes made in the name of plot can be forgiven.

Overall, it was not a bad story. I'm not really sure if I'll look for more by this author right away, but I wouldn't be adverse to reading her again.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on
This is NOT a typical romance novel. The story was a good one, but don't expect typical fare. The cover is very misleading.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on
Pros:

When I initially started this book I was hooked. I loved the whole spy take and the fact of when it occurred. I also liked that Annique was temporarily blind but managed to fool everyone. Then to regain her sight and not know Grey was classic. How French Annique was didn't affect me as much as everyone else. I actually came away from the book saying 'mon dieu' to things in my everyday life. :)

Cons:

I was lost at the end. Ultimately I got that Annique was free and I get how she got there....but it took me awhile to piece together things that were briefly referenced in the beginning of the book to how it came together in the end.

Overall:

I liked the book. It didn't get the 5 stars from me because of my confusion over the ending, but I would recommend the book with the caveat that you understand the main character is French.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
Wow! I loved this book! Kudos to the author for a fast paced, unique and utterly romantic story. Adding this to my keeper shelf, and will be looking for the rest of the series.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 16 more book reviews
After reading so many great and I mean "Great" reviews on this book I was expecting a lot. Sad to say... none of those expectations were met. I actually skimmed the last half of the book and I never skim. The only redeeming quality in this book was the cover. ;^)
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 1261 more book reviews
What a interesting twisting and turning story! It was funny, intriguing, steamy and keeps you turning the pages. Love the strong heroine and how she keeps fighting. Great read.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
I'm a big fan of spy/action romances and this one was a great ride. I loved the characters and was sorry when it was over. Joanna Bourne is a top notch writer.
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 7 more book reviews
I did not write this review, but here is the url to it, because they said it better than I ever could.
http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/the_spymasters_lady_by_joanna_bourne/
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 55 more book reviews
Not as good as "To Beguile A Beast".
reviewed The Spymaster's Lady (Spymaster, Bk 1) on + 33 more book reviews
From http://misscz.wordpress.com

I chose this book based on the review at All About Romance and on several other personal/review blogs. Like many of the reviewers, I would have passed it by, just on the cover and title alone. And I would have missed out on a book that will surely be on my Top 10 this year. It is not easy to review, however. There are plot twists that are best discovered unspoiled.

Annique is very good at what she does. As a spy for France, she has acted as a courier most of her 19 years. Over the years, she's hidden in enemy camps - never in English ones though - disguised as a boy, gathering intelligence. Thanks to one of her mentors, she's been drawn into a situation involving France's plans to invade England. As the book opens, she is being held by Leblanc of the Secret Police. He thinks she has the plans and he wants them for his own shady reasons.

Also imprisoned by Leblanc is Robert Grey and one of his spies, the wounded Adrian. Grey is a head of section - a spymaster - though Leblanc is unaware of his identity. Grey is also interested in the plans. He has come to France specifically to hunt down Annique and take her back to England. Annique helps him and Adrian escape, unaware of who he really is.

I loved Annique. At the risk of repeating what others have said, Annique is very French. Her observations and commentary had me chuckling. She's not happy about the invasion plans. She loves her country, but she knows that Napoleon's ambition is doing more harm than good. Annique has seen war, and invading England would mean more unnecessary deaths. However, letting the British get hold of the the plans isn't an option either. Telling Grey would halt the invasion, but there is no guarantee the British won't use the information to invade France instead. Even when Galba - Grey's boss - gives Annique what seems to be an easy way out of her dilemma, she refuses to take it. Annique sticks to her convictions, though she knows she's running out of time.

I also loved Grey. He's protective of Annique - after all, Leblanc and half the spies in Europe are after her because of what she knows. And yet he has no qualms arming her so she can defend herself and protect others when the situation requires it. He knows she's fully capable of taking care of herself. He also understands and respects the situation she's in. He wishes they could have met under different circumstances.

Their romance is pretty low-key, secondary to the story. Most of the book involves the four of them - Grey, Annique, Adrian, and Doyle - fleeing France. Which prompts the following exchange, later in the book, between Grey and Annique:

"Have I told you I love you, Annique. It started about the fourth time you tried to maim me. I never did find time to say the words"

"It is the right time now. We are at leisure, and I am not armed."

He's not exaggerating about the maiming part. Annique was desperate to escape Grey and the others, but she has no animosity toward them. In fact, there seems to be professional respect between Annique, Adrian, and Doyle - all three are "career" field agents (Grey was recruited from the army). They know each other by reputation, if not by sight. And when the situation demands it, they can act as a team. I thought the part where Grey is pretending to be a stuffy, pompous German professor - traveling with his young wife (Annique), brother-in-law (Adrian), and servant (Doyle) - was priceless.

Speaking of priceless.Adrian. Nearly every time he spoke, it was to make a quip. There just wasn't enough scenes with him in them. He needs his own book.

By the way, this is not a debut. The author wrote Her Ladyship's Companion back in 1983. Her next book, My Lord and Spymaster, is due this summer.

Favorite Quote:
"Walk in. Steal someone. Walk out. I love this work."
- Adrian (one of his many quips)