Title: Wed to a Spy
Author: Sharon Cullen
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept
Date of publication: May 23rd, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Number of pages: 259
POV: 3rd person
Series: All the Queen’s Spies
Wed to a Spy – Book 1
Where you can find Wed to a Spy: Amazon
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Blistering seduction meets international intrigue in the Highlands as a veteran spy infiltrates the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. There he matches wits against a tantalizing enemy: his new wife.
Simon Marcheford wants nothing more than to settle down on the land bestowed upon him by the English crown. Queen Elizabeth, however, is not about to let her best spy retire so easily. Simon will have his reward, she decrees, after he completes one last mission in Scotland. But no sooner has he sussed out a diabolical plot up North than Queen Mary weds him to her cousin—an exquisite beauty with troubled, soulful eyes—and orders Simon to watch her every move.
Aimee de Verris is no spy. But her life may depend on becoming one. Banished from the French court by Catherine de Medici, Aimee finds herself tasked with reporting on Queen Mary’s activities in Scotland, where she’s unnerved by the frigid weather and brutish customs. Worst of all, Aimee’s been married off to a most uncouth lout. But when murder strikes, she learns to appreciate Simon’s talent for shielding her with every inch of his muscular frame. If Aimee desires her husband, perhaps she could trust him—or even love him.
It has been a long time since I have read/reviewed historical romance. I was a huge historical romance junkie when I was in high school. I always had my nose in one and I was known around school as “the girl who read the bodice-rippers”…..lol. I had a huge library of Harlequin romance novels, along with Teresa Medieros, Jule Garwood, and Judith McNaught. I do not have that library anymore, I lost the library while moving a few years back, but I have very fond memories of sitting at home, reading these book and discussing them with my friends, who read them too.
So when I saw Wed to a Spy’s description pop up on NetGalley, I had to request it. The cover, which is beautiful, took me back to the mid-’90s and being a carefree high schooler with not a worry in the world.
I loved the backdrop of the story. Tudor England and Scotland in all of its glory. I was so happy that the author chose Tudor England instead of Regency or Victorian England. Personally, which I love reading about those eras, I feel that it is overdone. I really haven’t read romances set in Tudor England and like I said above, I was really happy about it. I just wish a tad more world building was involved in the book. I would have loved to have read more background on Mary since the story is mainly set in her court. I also would have loved to see more of how the court worked and to be honest, I would have really liked to have seen more of the uprising that killed Mary’s advisor, David Rizzo.
Aimee wasn’t my favorite character in the book. She just came across as very immature for a good part of the book and she was pining after a Frenchman, Pierre. She was sent to Scotland, by her aunt Catherine de’Medici, after getting caught in a scandalous embrace with Pierre. She was also told to spy on Mary and write back with any information that she, Catherine, could do. If she did that than Catherine would let her back home. She did grow on me during her and Simon’s escape from the castle and then from Scotland but still, not my favorite character.
I did like Simon and felt bad for him when Elizabeth denied his retirement. All he wanted was to take his younger sister and go back to his house to raise her. But Elizabeth had one last mission for him to do before allowing him to retire. It was while he was undercover, doing this mission, where he met Aimee and then Mary decreed for them to marry because, in her words, “They suited each other.” Which made me laugh because they did not, at first, suit each other. Actually, Aimee made it very clear that she didn’t even want to be married to him, that she wanted Pierre. But, in those days, marriage was a sacred bond that was never broken and women were men’s property. So once they were married, they stayed married and Simon had absolute control over Aimee. I wouldn’t have been a good fit in those times.
The romance between Aimee and Simon was a very slow burn. I mean, they didn’t even kiss until almost halfway through the book (not counting their kiss when they got married) and sex happened only a few times during the book. The sex wasn’t explicit but you definitely knew what they were doing.
The intrigue and drama that start happened in the book were the best part of the book. I held my breath during Rizzo’s execution and the madness that happened during the aftermath. The escape from the castle, along with the escape from Scotland was a page turner and kept me glued to the book.
I wasn’t a fan of the ending, though. While it was a HEA, I didn’t like how it came about. Too much happened in a short amount of time and made my head spin.
How many stars will I give Wed to a Spy: 3
Why: While I liked the storylines and the backdrop of Tudor-era England, I just couldn’t get into the story. Which made me sad because I used to love these types of books when I was a teenager.
Will I reread: Maybe
Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe
Age range: Adult
Why: Violence and sex
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**