Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Alyssa Alexander on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, The Smuggler Wore Silk, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
A thrilling, seductive adventure from award-winning author Alyssa Alexander…
After he is betrayed by one of his own, British spy Julian Travers, Earl of Langford, refuses to retire without a fight, vowing to find the traitor. But when the trail leads to his childhood home, Julian is forced to return to a place he swore he’d never see again, and meet a woman who may be his quarry—in more ways than one.
Though she may appear a poor young woman dependant on charity, Grace Hannah’s private life is far more interesting. By night, she finds friendship and freedom as a member of a smuggling ring. But when the handsome Julian arrives, she finds her façade slipping, and she is soon compromised, as well as intrigued.
As she and Julian continue the hunt, Grace finds herself falling in love with the man behind the spy. Yet Julian’s past holds a dark secret. And when he must make a choice between love and espionage, that secret may tear them apart.
Alyssa Alexander's debut novel, The Smuggler Wore Silk is the first book in the Spy in the Ton series. Readers are given a tale of action, adventure, mystery and intrigue, with a dose of romance to cap it off. Alexander has a way with dialogue that is exceptional. The witty banter she gives her hero was both entertaining and sexy. With a resourceful heroine, a few spies, a traitor and a smuggling ring led by a woman, what more could readers ask for in a historical romance?
What I liked:
First of all, one of the intriguing things about The Smuggler Wore Silk was the fact that it was a debut novel. It certainly didn't read like one. Often times the debut novel of most authors is not always their best work. If that's the case with this book, readers are in for one very good series. This book was well written, had engaging characters with colorful back stories and had enough mystery to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Alexander surprised me with her writing. She writes like a seasoned pro.
Julian, the hero of the story is a wayward earl who doesn't take the responsibilities of his title very seriously. He has spent an inordinate amount of time working as a spy for the British court. Known as Shadow, Julian's work has successful kept him from home for a very long time, keeping his secrets and pain at bay. I thought Julian was an excellent brooding hero. He has issues and flaws, but that was part of what made him so interesting. I loved the way Alexander wrote the way he talked and interacted with Grace, the heroine.
For me one of the best parts of this novel was the banter between Grace and Julian. He has a way with words that is very enjoyable. Not only does Alexander allow him to use a lot of humor, but she always gives Julian a sexiness that is unmistakable. It was a joy to read. Grace also has quite a bit of dialogue that is fun and keeps the reader guessing as to what she's really up to. Alexander's dialogue skills were excellent.
I loved Grace, she was so fun to read about. She is basically a servant by day, smuggler by night and now she's being accused of being a traitor. Julian believes she is the person who has jeopardized his work as a spy and who is trading in secrets. I loved the fact that Alexander shows Grace as a very good hearted person who would help anyone she could. The fact that she resorts to smuggling for that reason did not seem like a stretch at all. She was resourceful character and her relationship with Julian was very complicated and very hot.
The chemistry between these two main characters was simply sizzling. It is obvious though they are leery of each other, something else is at work, their own longings for someone to care about them. I loved how they worked together to draw out the real traitor and how Alexander kept readers guessing with some well placed clues.
There were plenty of people who could have done it and when the reader finds out the real culprit, they will probably kick themselves for not figuring it out sooner. The mystery aspect of the book was very well done.
What I didn't like:
The only thing I could mention here is that Grace allowed her Uncle to treat her in such a terrible manner. She is a strong woman, but even she takes a beating from the other women in her circle. I just thought she should have stood up for herself a little more. I mean she's a smuggler by night, why take the crap from the ton by daylight? Not a deal breaker, just a pet peeve.
This was an excellent debut novel. I look forward to seeing where Alexander will take this series next. She introduced several characters including, Angel, another spy who will probably be featured in the next book in the series. An a very choice for readers who like some extra pizazz to their historical romances.
The Smuggler Wore Silk is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white, sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn't mind using a laundry basket for a closet and a small boy who wears a knight-in-shining-armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes.
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