It’s hard for me to fully give my heart to a story where there’s a Big Secret between the hero and the heroine. I’m not blaming this book for that; it’s a pretty common trope. But the romance doesn’t stand a chance until the secret comes out. I find myself just waiting, sloshing through the pages, until we get past the inevitable so I can finally enjoy the couple and wherever they go from there. In this book, I was waiting a long time.
As the story begins, Will is looking forward to taking a break from his life as a soldier and spy, after the events of Waterloo. But his father, the Duke, has other plans. The Duke orders Will and his cousin Alec to investigate a possible threat to the crown. Even worse, it forces Will to call on an old acquaintance –a childhood friend and almost sweetheart, Evie. Will is the duke’s illegitimate son and thus was never accepted by Evie’s mother. And when he joined the military, he cut all ties with the sweet young woman, breaking her heart in the process. Mending fences will be difficult, especially since she is all but betrothed to another man named Michael.
OK. Maybe it’s not that difficult. Which is one of the problems I have with the book. Will was a cad to Evie all those years ago and the speed and ease in which he ingratiates himself back into her life really bothered me. Evie is a good person and despite a token protest, she falls right back in love with Will in a very short time. Boo. He should have had to work for it. My other big issue: the pacing. This book was very slow in places, especially the beginning. It took too long to get to the part that interested me. Then when things would pick up, they would slow down again.
The romance didn’t have a great spark. The foundation of their relationship happened years before –and thank goodness– because what we did see of these two “falling” for each other didn’t really support the depth of feelings they ended up with. I was more interested in what was happening with Evie’s twin and Will’s Scottish cousin, which sadly, wasn’t much. Michael actually treated Evie better than Will did. I almost wish things had gone his way, except for how very boring he was. The spy secret went on way too long and then the fallout was kind of meh, other than the fact it prompted predictably foolish behavior from the heroine.
I know I sound really down on the book, but it wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t very good either.
*ARC provided by publisher for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
How to Plan a Wedding For a Royal Spy
by Vanessa Kelly
Release Date: January 6, 2015