Vidia is a spy...and she appears to be a double agent...or pretending to be. England or France? Where does her loyalty lie? Her "agency" has come to suspect her and has even gone so far as to send a fellow agent to seduce her, get her secrets, marry her, etc. And the entire book has a reader wondering just who is playing who.
I LOVED this heroine. Vidia is a woman not ashamed of who she is, not afraid to go after what she wants, be it sex or money. She has survived a horrid past and rather than seek sympathy for it, she's kicking butt and taking names. The sex was tasteful. There wasn't page after page of it. It gives you just enough. It tells us what we need to know. I especially enjoyed the humorous bits of conversation between Vidia and her maid. These parts had me LOLing.
"It is time to being in the heavy artillery," she told Maisie, who was hovering in Vidia's room. "The man is being too polite."
"He does seem very kind," offered Maisie, bringing out Vidia's nightdress. "He probably just doesn't want to throw ye about--not just yet."
"Bet that as it may, I am dying to throw him about, so please make yourself scarce."
At first, I was perturbed by something about this novel. Even the reader never knows what's going on. What is Vidia up to? What's she hiding? IS she a double agent? She drops hints that something big is happening, that she does do this and that..has spoken to this or that person, but I was sitting here not knowing myself. Normally, a reader knows the 411 and reads to the story merely to see if the plan is carried out and if the hero/heroine gets caught. This book doesn't even let us in on the secret...but this, in the end, totally worked in the story's favor.
I was riveted and I must say it takes a truly talented author to pull off that little trick. Anne Cleeland is it. If I were to list a single complaint about this book it would be that at times it refers to things in the heroine's past that we don't get to really experience.
Five bikes. I got this from netgalley.
"If push comes to shove, ye kin always poke an eye out wi' yer fan," her maid suggested helpfully. "Remember Barcelona."
"Unnecessary--I have a very fine dagger in my garter."