Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You Only Love Once

You Only Love Once by Caroline Linden 1109

Nathaniel Avery goes to London to apprehend the man who stole money from the Port of New York and left his godfather, who was responsible for the money, in dire straights. He wants to go through the proper channels so he asks Lord Selwyn who refers him to Mr. Stafford, who runs a ring of spies for the government. Stafford calls on his trusted agent, Angelique Marton, whose family had been killed in the revolution and only escaped France with the help of her mother's maid. She is still angry about the terror that overtook the country and originally started spying to prevent something similar from happening in England, but even she admits that her way of life has grown tiring. She wants to retire and considers turning down the job, especially when she sees that Nate is going to be quite the distraction on the expedition, but she decides to go out with a bang with this last mission.

Both Nate and Angelique are immensely attracted to each other and it does not take long for them to succumb to lust. But it is clear to both of them that there is more than lust behind their relationship as Angelique wonders if she has finally met someone she can confide her dark past to and he wonders if he has found a woman he won't be bored settling down with. However, Stafford does not trust them to finish their mission as he has tasked Angelique with killing the thief even while Nate wants to bring him back to New York for justice. Suddenly they are fighting thieves and fences, they have some of Britain's best spies after them and both question how important this mission is- or if they would risk everything for the chance to be with the other. It will take some trickery, some dealings with enemies, the help of close friends and a lot of trust and luck for them to make out of this alive and together.

My first thought upon reading this book was how excited I was to read about a female spy, especially one who was so incredibly good at her job. Not the typical romance novel heroine and I was inclined to like this and I also admired her when it was revealed that she was an assassin. Not because I admire assassins but because it really did make her so different and made it so much more wonderful when Nate fell in love with her and had to deal with her past. She didn't think that any man could ever fall in love with her and there were times when I too had a hard time discovering why Nate fell in love with her. Aside from her unique-ness, she wasn't particularly loving or kind, just very capable of taking care of herself and killing other people. I didn't dislike her, but I felt like Linden should have given her some softer qualities so that I could have related to Angelique a little more.

Nate was great (!) because he did see past her tough exterior and she was able to act a little more loving with him than she usually did. His dedication to helping his godfather was admirable and I liked that he tried to be diplomatic about it and really had a streak of wanting to help everyone in him. The two were explosive in bed and also somewhat creative and it led to some very hot steamy scenes between them. Unfortunately the second half of the book was taken up completely overtaken by the plot to catch the thief and escape from Stafford's evil machinations. The plot was interesting and I did start getting into it as the book progressed, but it was not as important to me as the romance that it overwhelmed. It was not particularly exciting, and it really did get to the point where I just wanted to figure out what was going to happen and have it done with.

Rating: The book had some good qualities, but on the whole I did not particularly enjoy it. I find Linden's other historical romances, with less intrigue/ suspense, much better.

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