Although I didn't really warm up to the hero - who was neither particularly sexy (despite our being repeated told by author that he is) nor particularly vulnerable (despite requisite sad story past) - I *did* respect him. He's one of the most competent character I've ever run across in. Maybe it's difficult to be vulnerable and cuddly while at the same time a sword wielding master of intrigue. I really wanted to like the him - he's my favorite kind of hero, dangerous and sexy (or supposed to be sexy) but didn't feel any heat at all. Compared to, say, Rawden of Long's The Secret to Seduction or Kleypas' The Devil in Winter (or just about any Kleypas hero - now *that's* a woman who knows how to make a man dangerous and sex-hay!) Owen's just kind of there. Pen is a likeable character, and you can understand the need to find her child that motivates her. Despite needing the occasional rescue she's never TSTL, she's just what you would expect of a noblewoman of her era. And the villains interesting and really fun - Northumberland was a powerful and truly frightening - you really wondered if our hero(ine)s were going to escape from his clutches, and the mother-in-law was so over the top crazy evil she was like some character out of a fairy tale.
To Kiss A Spy may be a little flat on the romance but it works very well as an action filled spy thriller. As usual Feather crafted an engrossing, fast paced story. It's an exciting, thought provoking take on the ascension of Queen Mary. Like the previous book (The Widow's Kiss), the danger and precariousness of people's lives during this time of upheaval, where anything you do can lead to death (usually after being tortured) is brought to vivid life. And the history is incorporated into the plot in such a way that makes it gripping instead of a boring infodump - you understand why it's so vital for French interests to know what's going on with Northumberland, because there's so much going on and so much at stake - you understand the alliances and enmities and why they exist and that all of this politicking has real life or death consequences. All in all, recommended, even if there's not a lot of romance in this romance.
Action packed with side plots.
Feather writes sweeping romances portraying a unique blend of sizzling seduction and dangerous intrigue. In this first of two romances featuring two unconventional sisters whose quest to solve the mystery surrounding their lives puts each of them in the path of a dangerously irrestible hero, Jane Feather tells the story of a daring young widow and a master spy engaged in a duel of wits--and seduction--to uncover a dark secret... Lady Pen Bryantson had been caught red-handed looking for clues among her mother-in-law's papers. But the mystery she sought to uncover only deepened with teh sudden appearance of a man whose mere presence sent shivers of excitement coursing through her. What could this dangerously seductive man who moved with a courtier's charm and brandished an assassin's skill want with someone as ordinary as she was?