Friday, March 7, 2014

Sapphires are an Earl's Best Friend by Shana Galen

The Basics:
Sapphires are an Earl's Best Friend by Shana Galen
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book Three in the Jewels of the Ton series
Historical Romance
Published March 4, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

Historical romance, spies, a courtesan engaging the eye of an Earl.... All sounds good to me!


Careful, gentlemen-there is more to this courtesan than meets the eye

What better disguise for a secret agent than that of a courtesan? Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm, is a spy working for the Crown to uncover a traitor. Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington, wants to hate Lily for taking up with his father, but something about Lily intrigues him. When he discovers there is more to her flirtation than greed, he knows he must help her uncover a traitor. Even if that traitor is his own father...

My thoughts:

This was a enjoyable, action-filled historical romance. I hadn't read the first two in the trilogy so I didn't know any of the characters.

I had a good time reading this book, and I had a hard time putting it down, so I'm rating it up even though I had a few quibbles.

I liked Darlington, but maybe didn't love him. There wasn't something about him that truly charmed me, though he was a pretty well-rounded character. I liked that we have here a man who isn't one hundred percent put together. He's still a work in progress, grappling with his mother's death, trying to manage his father and his new excesses and also maybe mourning a little bit the marriage of the woman he fancies himself in love with. His attitude towards Lily at the start of the novel is so hostile, I really loved that he was in such a negative space, initially. 

On the other hand, Lily was pretty awesome. Charming, capable, well-trained, I thought maybe not entirely time period appropriate, but I was willing to see this as a sort of alt historical romance to give her more latitude.

Though she wanted to be angry with Darlington, she was pretty willing to forgive him because of her pre-existing condition (being in love with him prior to the events of the book). I would have liked to see her make him work for her affection again. I did love Lily's complicated back story.

The mystery at the heart of the book wasn't super strong, but I think it supported the romance adequately, and it didn't detract from it for me. I did want to poke deeper into this world of spies, and if there's additional books in this same setting, I'll look for them.

Bottom line:

I enjoyed reading Sapphires are an Earl's Best Friend. Lily was a formidable heroine in her own ways, and I'd be perfectly happy to return to this setting. Definitely recommended.

4 stars
For fans of female spies, historical romance, courtesans with hearts of gold.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun read even if the mystery wasn't so strong. I don't mind weak mysteries in historical romances, but it bothers me in contemporary romances. Go figure. :)