Thursday, June 24, 2010

Julia Reviews "The Spymaster's Lady"

Title/Author: The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne
Publisher/Year Published: 2008 by Berkley
How I got this book: Checked out of the library
Why I read this book: To prove the old adage "You can't judge a book by it's cover"
Rating: 4 stars

Seriously. Let's start right off the bat by gazing at this cover. I try not to judge books by their covers, really I do. But the first time I picked up this book, I doubted that anything within would be worth my time.

I was wrong.

The Spymaster's Lady, despite its cover, is not about oiled chests, getting men out of their clothes or even carrying around guns in one's waistband. It's about spies; spies for England and spies for Napoleon/France. Even though I found this in the romance section, I would classify this book more as an adventure romance with the heavy emphasis being on the adventure and not the romance. The romance is there, it's just not as prominent as you would normally find in romance novels. Don't get me wrong there are still a couple of steamy scenes, it was just that I cared more about the spy games then the love games.

This book picks you right up from the first pages and does not let go until it thinks you should be let go. You find yourself caring for all of these characters and cheering for them to conquer the multiple hurdles thrown in their paths. The two leads, especially the female lead, you come to know and understand. This book has no whimpering female either. She is more hard core than most women of today.

If you like adventure and don't mind a little bit of romance, give The Spymaster's Lady a try. Ignore the cover (although I must mention that they did just rerelease it with a less chest-y cover). Embrace the chase and underhanded cunning. Enjoy the well written, engaging spy games.

I give it 4 sparkling, well oiled stars.


  1. Julia--

    Most hilarious review ever! Love the well oiled stars!! :)

    It's so hard to not judge a book by its cover! I am guilty of that so many times. I would have taken one look at this cover and run away! It actually sounds like quite an interesting book!

  2. You know, when I saw that you were reading this on Goodreads, I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow and think, "Really?"

    I agree with Jamie - I would have been put off completely by the cover, or I would have picked it up and read it for kicks and giggles, not because I was sincerely interested.

    So thanks for sharing your review! I would have never been intrigued otherwise. :D I do love a good spy game.

  3. haha I love the well oiled stars too!

  4. This happens to books all the time, they get those stupid covers and then everyone is too embarrassed to read them. I do read romance novels (yes, I said it, online in public) but I try to avoid anything with an oiled chest. This just goes to show that being afraid to read something because of the cover might come back to bite you in the ass!

  5. Nice review! Yeah...I steer clear of the actually-classified-as-romance novels for the most part so it's very interesting to hear about one that wasn't focused on "and he moved towards her slowly, she knowing there would be little rest tonight" instances. It's a great point you bring up with the "don't judge a book by its cover" bit. I'm definitely a believer in the statement but if you don't know an author or their work, sometimes that and the title is all that will draw you to it. Thanks for sharing and happy reading!

  6. The cover does intrigue me. I haven't read many romance novels, but I'll be sure to give this a try.

  7. I'm such a cover shopper. This is one of those books that not only would I have avoided it, I would have drop kicked it and run in the opposite direction. But now I'm thinking I may have to read this. ..

  8. When I usually see covers like this, I think it's just some cheesy romance novel.

  9. I'm adding to the chorus of people who would have screamed and run away at the sight of the cover. Pecs is whack.

  10. And let's be honest...where are the men in the world that look like that?!?! I sure don't see them walking around my neighborhood!!

  11. haha! I'm glad you all enjoyed it! It took like 6 people reviewing it and saying, "oh no it's a good book really." before I gave it a chance.

    The other cover was more... sedate.

    But I don't think it does a good job of selling it either.

  12. +JMJ+

    I've read the sequel, My Lord and Spymaster, and thought it was very good, too. On a Romance message board, I said that Joanna Bourne's style made me think of her as a cross between Charles Dickens and Mary Balogh--and several years later, without doing any new reading or rereading, I'm sticking with that impression!

  13. Ha! Sadly, I can't say that I have read any Balogh and I've read minimal Dickens, but from what I know about both, I would have to agree with that assessment. :)


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