Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa Kelly

The Basics:
Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa Kelly
Book One of Renegade Royals
Historical Romance
Published Jan 7, 2014
Amazon.ca Kobo.com 

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review is my entry for the 2014 Key Words Reading Challenge hosted by Bookmark to Blog.

In this witty, sensual new series, Vanessa Kelly introduces the Renegade Royals, illegitimate sons of the Royal Princes who are finding their rightful places in society…

Accomplished spy Aden St. George prefers to stay away from the frivolous ton, especially after the way his mother was used by the Prince Regent. But his latest mission compels him to guard unconventional, vibrant Lady Vivien Shaw. Rescuing her from kidnappers was easy. Resisting her beauty is not. Duty demands he keep an eye on her—and naturally, his lips soon follow. For someone who views entanglements as a weakness, this is pure, delicious folly…

Though grateful for Aden’s help, Vivien has secrets she must keep hidden. Yet with her abductors still at large, she needs Aden’s protection almost as much as she craves his touch…

Why I picked up this book:

Historical romance, beautiful big dress, a spy who can't resist a beautiful woman with secrets? I'm in.

My thoughts:

This book was as much fun to read as I hoped it would be. Now, it wasn't without flaw, but they were relatively inconsequential to my reading experience. As it was, I had a really hard time putting the book down to take care of those pesky obligations like feeding myself and my children, sleeping and what not. 

Aden's a spy coming off a tragic end to his last mission. Determined to be as emotionless as possible to protect himself from making errors, he finds himself unable to resist the charms of the beautiful and lovely-on-the-inside Vivien. For her part, Vivien has reason not to put much faith in men, but Aden saves her life and seems so solid and worthy....

Of course things don't go smoothly for anyone, and that's half the fun of the ride. 

The only thing that tweaked me about this book was that other than a few spots of action, I never really got a good feel for Aden working as a competent spy. Instead, he believed Vivien's misdirection over and over, and I wanted to kick him in the shins for it. The reason provided was his love for her (and I imagine his own feelings about the match), and that was believable, but.... I guess I just wanted him a little cleverer.

For her part, Vivien is a very competent young woman. She's ballsy, taking on responsibilities that should never have been hers. She's also got a kind heart, and seems a little naive - the dangers that face her seem much more threatening over the long term than I think she grasped. 

There's a few interesting supporting cast members - Dominic who obviously should have the last romance in the series as the spymaster himself falls for a wonderful woman. I haven't read the novella prequel that contains his childhood story (or I assume it is), but I might pick it up to get myself up to speed. Griffin Steele, another royal by-blow, is also of interest and his story is the next in the series. He's got enough (criminal?) quirks that his story should be especially fun to read!

I hadn't read Vanessa Kelly before this, but I'm quite glad to have 'met' her. Her writing is in line with Julia Quinn or Victoria Alexander in terms of the quality of it, and I hope to discover that she's a reliable read as well. I can always use new reliable romance authors (as I churn too quickly through the backlists of my current favourites!)

Bottom line:

A fun Regency romp, I'd recommend this one for an afternoon spent lazing with a cup of tea. I hated putting it down, and will look for the sequel, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, coming in April.

4 stars
For fans of Regency romance, spy romance

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