Top critical review
Parts were ok but I don't recommend it. At times I wished it were over.
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2008
The concept of Maria and Christopher acting as spies on each other sounds intriguing and could be good, but in this case I didn't like it. They were supposed to be uncovering each others' secrets, but for most of the book when they were together they just had passionate and fighting sex, but never asked any questions. The only actions they took were to place spies in each others' homes as domestic help. A few times, one would learn something from a domestic spy and then make incorrect assumptions about the other. Then they would get together, have sex and not say anything about it. Some of this reminded me of my pet peeve of conflict based on incorrect assumptions rather than excitement and intrigue from spying on each other. I'm having trouble explaining it, but somehow it didn't work for me.
The reasons behind their spying were the following.
Christopher did smuggling and pirate activities. Sedgewick was a government agent who wanted a promotion. He found a witness against Christopher and demanded the witness's cooperation as ransom for the safety of his family. He told Christopher to get evidence against Maria to keep the witness quiet. Maria had been married to two government agents who were killed by poison. Sedgewick believed convicting her of the crime would further his career.
Maria's stepfather Welton, kept Maria's half sister Amelia away from Maria for many years. He threatened to sell her into slavery if Maria wouldn't do what Welton asked. Welton told Maria she must spy on Christopher to get information that Welton could use to blackmail Christopher. Welton needed money and saw Christopher as a blackmail source.
A subplot involved Maria trying to find her sister Amelia to get her away from Welton. Welton had used this threat over the years to force Maria to do a number of things including marrying her two former husbands.
I did like a couple of parts. I liked Christopher's intense lust for Maria. I also liked the story about Colin who was a gypsy stable boy. He and Amelia loved each other, but he knew they could never be together because he was a servant while she was titled. Simon, Maria's closest friend, makes an interesting offer to Colin at the end. Colin's story is told in the sequel "A Passion For Him." Simon's story is told in the sequel "Don't Tempt Me."
Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: six lengthy scenes. Setting: 1700s or 1800s England. Copyright: 2007. Genre: historical romance.
For a listing of my reviews of other Sylvia Day books, see my 5 star review of "The Stranger I Married" posted on 1/19/07.